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New PN exam

BCCNM and the College of Nurses of  Ontario have partnered to develop a new entry-to-practice exam for practical nurses

BCCNM and the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) have partnered with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to develop a new entry-to-practice exam for practical nurses. The Regulatory Exam - Practical NurseTM (REx-PNTM) is slated to launch Jan. 4, 2022.

A collaborative process

BCCNM and CNO are committed to engaging with stakeholders throughout the exam development process. Opportunities to contribute and be involved, such as item writing and item review panels, are posted on the BCCNM and CNO websites. The Colleges will be offering workshops for educators as well as information sessions in the coming months.

Exam development

There are four key documents informing the development of the exam:

Entry-level competencies

Competencies are the integrated knowledge, skills, behaviours, attitudes, critical thinking and clinical judgment expected of an entry-level LPN to provide safe, competent and ethical care. Entry-level LPNs are at the point of initial registration, following graduation from a BCCNM-recognized practical nursing education program.

On Sept. 1, 2020, the Entry-Level Competencies for Licensed Practical Nurses, a set of national entry-to-practice competencies for PNs across the country, came into effect. These competencies, approved by the BCCNM Board, are based on input from educators in nursing programs, recent LPN graduates, current LPNs, and other stakeholders across Canada.

These competencies have informed the development of the REx-PN.

Practice Analysis

The Practice Analysis was conducted in early 2019, and included participants from both B.C. and Ontario. A panel of subject matter experts was assembled, a list of LPN activities was created and incorporated into a survey that was sent to newly licensed LPNs. We then collected and analyzed the data.

The national entry-level/entry-to-practice competencies were also mapped to the practice analysis to ensure the exam includes competencies essential for safe nursing practice.

Because the Canadian health care industry is evolving rapidly, practice analysis studies will be conducted by BCCNM and CNO on a five-year cycle.

Test Plan

The REx-PN Test Plan contains detailed information about the content areas to be tested by the REx-PN, and describes how the exam is structured, including the exam’s length and how it is scored. The Test Plan can be used as a guide for students preparing to write the REx-PN and for educators looking to write REx-PN-style questions so they can help students prepare.

Mapping document

The Mapping document compares the foundational entry-to-practice competencies needed by LPNs with the content covered in the REx-PN Test Plan. The REx-PN will not test everything an LPN needs to know throughout their career.

It will test the competencies — knowledge, skill and judgement — nurses are expected to have within the first year of practice in order to keep clients safe. The results of the mapping show that all but one of these competencies map to the REx-PN activity statements and corresponding content.


REx-PN practice exam now available​

The REx-PN Practice Exam provides students with a look and feel of a Computerized Adaptive Test (CAT), the format of the actual REx-PN exam they will take on test day. Learn more»​​​​​​​

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Key documents

External resources