Registration Examination: Repeat Attempts
The number of attempts you are allowed to make on your registration exam depends on which exam you are writing. Refer to the page for the specific registration exam you are writing to learn how many times you are permitted to write that exam.
If you are writing an exam with a limited number of attempts and you haven’t passed the exam after three attempts, then your application to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) will be reviewed by the Registration Committee. The Committee will consider if there are any extenuating circumstances that might give CNO reason to annul the results of one or more of your unsuccessful attempts.
Examples of extenuating circumstances the committee might consider are:
- a medical situation that was unforeseen and may have interfered with your ability to write your exam
- the death of a loved one that happened shortly before your scheduled exam date.
CNO will notify you if your application is being reviewed by the Committee to allow you the time you need to submit evidence in support of your request for an annulment. Examples of the kind of information the Committee may consider for review are:
- a personal statement from you outlining what extenuating circumstances (if any) may have affected your ability to pass the examination
- supporting evidence relating to the specific extenuating circumstances, such as information from a health care provider about a medical condition (description, date of diagnosis, impact on the applicant, other information), a death certificate in the case of a death in the family, or other relevant information.
You will be allowed another chance to write the exam if the Committee decides to annul one or more of your examination results.
Reporting past examination attempts
When counting up your attempts at a registration exam, CNO looks at all your previous attempts to write that particular exam, whether you wrote the exam in Ontario or in another jurisdiction.
If you do not disclose all previous attempts to write a registration examination, CNO may cancel your application for registration and/or cancel any certificates issued by CNO.
Each time you start to write your registration exam, the attempt is considered one write of the exam, regardless of how much of the exam you completed or how long you sat down to write it.
If you arrive at the testing centre on the day of the test and you feel you are not able to write the exam for any reason, do not sit down to begin. Instead, tell the invigilator of that exam that you are not able to write that day and contact CNO for further instructions.
However, if after starting the exam you feel you can’t continue writing it for any reason, inform the exam’s invigilator and then contact CNO for further instructions. While this attempt will count as one exam write, the following may apply:
- you may have further attempts on the exam available to you if you have not reached the limit of the number of allowed writes (the NCLEX-RN has no limits); or,
- if you been unsuccessful on the maximum three attempts of the CPNRE, you may be able to keep your application to CNO open and then attempt the new registration exam, know as the Registration Exam – Practical Nurse (REx-PN™) once it is implemented in January 2022 (see Options when failing the CPNRE: FAQs); or,
- if you’re writing an exam limited to three attempts and you are unsuccessful on all attempts, CNO’s Registration Committee can review the circumstances of your decision to not complete the exam to decide if you there were extenuating circumstances. If so, the Committee will annul the previous attempt and allow you another chance to write the exam.