National Knowledge Exam - CPHR NL

The National Knowledge Exam (NKE) is a nationally regulated academic exam that tests your academic knowledge of the CPHR Competency Framework published by the Chartered Professional in Human Resources – Canada (CPHR-Canada). The NKE is designed to test explicit knowledge or formal knowledge about HR concepts, principles, terminology, legislation and practices as opposed to tacit knowledge which is learned from experience and insights and is assessed through an evaluation of experience.

Consisting of 150 multiple-choice questions, candidates choose the best of four possible answers. A minimum score of 500 points (converted is approximately 70 per cent) is required to pass.

This computer based exam is offered in the Spring and Fall of every year.

NKE Prerequisites: 

Effective 2021, CPHR NL will be adding a new educational requirement that must be completed prior to writing the National Knowledge Exam (NKE). This requirement is applicable unless the individual is covered by another eligible path. For more information, please visit:

The course topics include the following and their descriptions can be viewed at:

Additionally, should you have follow up questions on the criteria behind PLAR, please review the following page and submit your inquiries.
– Accounting and Financial Management (Forthcoming)
– Human Resources Management
– Industrial Relations
– Organizational Behaviour
– Occupational Health and Safety (Forthcoming)
– Recruitment and Selection
– Strategic Compensation
– Strategic Human Resources Planning
– Training and Development

How to prepare for the NKE

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the exam, including: independent study; post-secondary and online courses; seminars; practice questions, etc. To get started, you can visit the Exam Study Resources section of the CPHR-Canada’s web site, where you will find sample study questions, information on online preparation courses and provincial workshops, links to universities and colleges, and more.

The association will provide various development activities to help you prepare for the NKE. They can help you assess your current knowledge and abilities and determine development activities to help you pass the exam. To explore these options, contact

How to register for the NKE

Attached here is the application form to write exams. Complete the form, enclose the appropriate fee as indicated on the form and send it to CPHR NL at least 60 days prior to the scheduled date of the exam.

A few weeks prior to the scheduled exam date, you will receive:
(1) written confirmation of your registration to write the NKE; and
(2) the test location, time and any necessary procedures.

You must bring the confirmation letter and photo identification to gain entry to the test facility. *Fees are subject to change without notice at the discretion of CPHR Canada.

Special Accommodation

If an exam writer requires special accommodation for the exam, they must indicate it during the online registration process and complete the NKE Accommodation Request Form.

Please see the NKE Accommodation Handbook for Writers for a complete guide to accommodations for writers.

The completed form with supporting documentation must also be submitted to us within one day of your online registration in order to make the arrangements. Only original, physician supported, documentation will be accepted. Supporting documentation must also be received by the exam registration deadline.

Examples of special accommodations that may be provided:
• Permitting timed rest breaks during the exam
• Allowing a medical device in the examination room, such as an inhaler or diabetic equipment
• Access to food/snacks due to medical condition
• Possibility of having a reader or scribe/typist
• Increasing time permitted for the examination
• Washroom breaks required due to medical condition (if more than the two washroom breaks that are provided are required)
• Access to a separate room

NKE Score Verification Policy

Candidates who do not successfully pass the NKE have the right to request a manual score verification. Candidates must submit requests to their provincial association within 20 business days after the results have been sent out. The cost for the manual score verification is $65 and payment must be received at the time the request is made.

It’s no longer a hand scoring of the answer sheet. Now that we have changed to computer based testing, YAS will go into the software and confirm the candidate’s score.

Passing the NKE

You will be informed of your test results approximately six weeks after the date on which the exam was written. 

Members who have passed the National Knowledge Exam and have not yet completed the Experience Requirement will be granted the ability to use “CPHR Candidate” as a professional title.

The CPHR is valued by the employment community and the ability to be officially recognized as a CPHR Candidate will provide you with additional recognition. You may use this title in resumes, business cards, emails, Linked-In or any other public profiles. 

Individuals that pass the NKE start the ten-year clock to obtain the CPHR. They have ten years to complete the overall process to obtain the CPHR, provided they remain a member in good standing of our Association.

Failing to Pass the NKE

If you do not pass the NKE, you can continue to take the exam and pay the required fee until a passing grade is attained.

Candidates who are unsuccessful passing the NKE three times will be required to wait one full year prior to attempting the NKE for a fourth time.