The National Knowledge Exam®

The National Knowledge Exam® (NKE) assesses your understanding of HR knowledge and skills. After you have passed the exam, you are considered a candidate for certification.

The next NKE writings on Prince Edward Island for 2020 will be October 28 & 29, 2020.

Please Note

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the October exam will be a remote proctored exam on October 28th and 29th 2020.

What is a remote proctored exam?

A remote proctored exam can be taken anywhere in the world. This is what International writers and remote Canadian writers would have experienced for the November 2019 exam. The exam can be taken by the candidate at their home, office, etc. Their computer will be electronically locked down to prevent cheating and the room they are testing in will be examined for unpermitted materials. If required, they have the ability to freeze the exam and investigate any suspicious activity immediately.

The registration deadline for this exam is August 31st 2020.


The NKE is a multiple-choice assessment of knowledge in human resources. Of the 160 questions on the examination, 150 are designated as operational (intended to be scored), and 10 unscored are included for field test purposes. A candidate’s total score is calculated as their number of correct answers.

Candidate responses are extracted from the line test delivery tool, and imported into a scoring and reporting software. Then, a preliminary item analysis study is conducted in which the statistics that describe the quality of each question is used to identify if any questions demonstrate unsatisfactory measurement properties. Such questions are then reviewed one-by-one by experts in human resources, and these experts decide whether or not the questions should be scored. Thus, the number of questions that ultimately are scored may not equal 150. Once these decisions are made, they are recorded in the answer key and an additional item analysis study is conducted to verify that the decisions were recorded correctly.

Using the approved answer key, the answer records are then scored and equated. Equating is a statistical process used to be sure that everyone is held to the same passing standard. This is necessary because there are multiple versions of each exam, and these versions may vary slightly in difficulty. Thus, scores that result from this process account for the number of scored questions answered correctly by each individual as well as the difficulty of the version of the NKE used in the given test administration, such that scores represent the proficiency of each candidate relative to the standards established for the NKE. These scores are then scaled to a distribution that ranges from 200 to 800, with the criterion-referenced passing standard anchored at 500. A scaled score is a score that has been mathematically transformed from one scale to another scale that is used for reporting purposes. This transformation is similar to converting from pounds to kilograms. The weight of the object has not changed, only the units being reported. The scaling is performed by multiplying the raw score for each candidate by the expected standard deviation of the scaled-score distribution and then adding a constant that places the passing standard at 500.

Exam Preparation

There are several study methods to help you prepare for the exam. CPHR PEI has partnered with Captus Press and recommends the following course to assist you in your exam prep:

Should you wish to take this course to assist you in your exam preparations, you can register directly on the Captus Press site provided via the link above.

CPHR BC & Yukon has shared some Practice Exam Questions that could be used to assist in exam preparation.  They can be found here:

NKE Practice Exam Questions

Exam Dates

Exam sittings are held twice a year at 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM local time.

Fall 2020 –October 28th and 29th, 2020

The next National Knowledge Exam (NKE) for Prince Edward Island is scheduled for October 28th and 29th. The registration deadline is August 31st, 2020.

To register for the upcoming NKE, please complete the registration form:

CPHR PEI NKE Exam Registration Form


Please register as soon as you know you plan on writing the exam. Any last minute registrations that incur technical difficulties will not be permitted to register after the deadline, regardless of circumstance. You must be a member in good standing to register for the exam (dues must be paid). If you are not yet a member and plan to register for the next exam, you must apply (and pay) for membership prior to the exam deadline.

Fall 2020 Exam:

Cost: NKE Registration Fee: $400.00 + HST
Yardstick Seat Fee: $125.00 + HST
$525 + GST Payment is due August 31, 2020. Unfortunately, if payment is not received by the due date, your registration will be cancelled.
Locations: Remote proctored exam. Sittings will be offered at a variety of times throughout the two days. Registrants will book their own time/date through Proctor U/YAS.
Time Slots: Remote proctored exam. Sittings will be offered at a variety of times throughout the two days. Registrants will book their own time/date through Proctor U/YAS.
Registration Information: You must be an Associate member of CPHR PEI prior to registering for the exam. You must be signed in to your member profile in order to register. 

All registration questions must be addressed by the August 31, 2020 registration deadline. For more information, please contact

Registration Deadline: August 31, 2020

Late registration will NOT be permitted. 

& Deferrals:
Exam registrations are refundable for first time registrants up to August 31, 2020. After August 31, 2020, the exam may not be cancelled, and the exam fee is non-refundable.

Once registered to write the NKE, registrants may defer to the next sitting of the exam up until October 21, 2020. A deferral fee of $100 + HST will be charged for each deferral.

All deferrals requested after October 13, 2020 will forfeit their $125.00 seat fee for that exam. This fee will be added to the deferral for your next sitting (no exceptions). See completed policy details on cancellations and deferrals below.


After you Register

You will be sent notification from us advising your application has been received and it will outline some details relating to the exam. Part of the process includes an official confirmation of your registration (by letter) including notification of exam security procedures and your test location. You will be required to retain the letter and bring it with you to the exam.

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.

Cancellation and Deferral Policy

Cancellations: Exam fees are refundable for first time registrants (exam fee has not been deferred to a future exam write) if requested by August 31st, 2020. The exam fee is non-refundable if a writer cancels their registration after the registration deadline or wishes to cancel following a previous deferral. Extenuating circumstances may be taken into consideration.

Deferrals: An exam registrant may defer their exam to a future sitting at any point following registration up until October 21st, 2020. After October 21, no deferrals are allowed.

Note: all deferrals after October 13, 2020 will forfeit their $125 seat fee for the exam. This fee will be charged again for the deferred sitting. A maximum of two deferrals are allowed per exam fee (i.e. the exam must be written on the third sitting or the exam fee will be sacrificed). If the third exam is not written and the exam fee is sacrificed, this is to be considered a ‘no show’.

Rescheduling: After booking confirmation emails are sent out by Yardstick on October 7, 2020 writers may request a change in their booked date/time. In the booking confirmation email, there will be a section right below the scheduled time that has directions on how to request changes. They need to reach out directly to YAS who will review each request on a first come first serve basis. If they are able to accommodate the transfer request, they will.

Special Accommodation

If an exam writer requires special accommodation for the exam, they must indicate it during the registration process. Supporting documentation outlining the accommodation required must also be submitted to us within one day of your online registration in order to allow the Association to make the arrangements. Only original, physician supported, documentation will be accepted. Supporting documentation must also be received by the exam registration deadline.

Exam Results

Exam results are emailed approximately eight weeks after each exam session.

Recognition as a CPHR Candidate

Members who have passed the National Knowledge Exam and have not yet completed the Validation of Experience (VOE) 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, LinkedIn or any other public profiles.

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. To do so, please mail us at

The Number of Allowable National Knowledge Exam Attempts Policy:

In order to elevate the status of the CPHR designation, the CPHR Canada Board approved a policy to limit the number of times a person may attempt the National Knowledge Exam (NKE). Beginning with the November 2014 NKE administration, candidates who fail the NKE three times will be required to wait a full year before attempting the NKE for a final and fourth time. A fifth attempt may be permitted following a review process1by the appropriate provincial HR association. NKE attempts made before the November 2014 exam session will not be included in the total number of attempts.

During the break period between the third failure and a fourth attempt, candidates are encouraged to complete a NKE preparation course and/or review the material which their NKE results indicate require more study.

This policy change aligns the CPHR designation with the exam attempt restrictions of many other professional designations.