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.

NEW…. NKE Educational Requirement starting 2021 (posted April 7, 2018)

As of January 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.

Please note: until January 2021, you can apply to write the NKE in Spring or Fall of 2019-2020 without taking any courses. 

Starting January 1, 2021, you will need to prove that you meet the educational requirements in order to write the NKE; therefore, if you plan to enroll in the Spring 2021 NKE, please ensure that you have successfully completed all nine accredited HR courses offered by CPHR NL.

If you have successfully completed any courses that are equivalent to any of the listed courses offered, you may be able to transfer credits. Further information will be available in the coming months.

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.

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. Once you pass the NKE, you will be considered a “CPHR Candidate”. To maintain your passing results and the use of the CPHR Candidate title, you will need to maintain your membership with CPHR NL. You will have ten years to complete the remaining criteria.

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.