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Exam Length and Format

The CPNRE is taken over a 4 hour period.

The CPNRE consists of between 165 and 170 multiple-choice questions. The multiple-choice questions are presented either within a case-based scenario or as independent questions. An exam of 165 to 170 multiple-choice questions is sufficient to make both reliable and valid decisions about a practical nurse’s readiness to practise safely, effectively and ethically.

Some of the questions in each exam are experimental. That is, they are administered experimentally to determine their suitability for use on future exams. Although your answers to these experimental questions do not count toward your score, it is important to do your best on each question on the exam because you will have no way of knowing which questions are experimental.

The case-based format consists of a set of approximately three to five questions that are associated with a brief health-care scenario. Independent questions are stand-alone questions that contain all the necessary information without reference to a case. For the 165-170 questions on the CPNRE, 50 to 70 percent are presented as independent questions and 30 to 50 percent are presented within cases.

Each question on the exam, whether in the case or independent format, contains a stem and four options. The stem is typically made up of one to three sentences that provide relevant information or data and the specific practical nursing question that is being asked. Of the four options, one is the correct answer and the remaining three are incorrect options.

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