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National Knowledge Exam
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The National Knowledge Exam® (NKE) is a nationally regulated exam that assesses one's understanding of the HR Body of Knowledge as they relate to academic knowledge. Academic knowledge refers to basic facts, policies, practices, methods, legislation, etc. It is information that can be written into procedures and transferred fairly accurately during the learning process. Examples of academic knowledge include: the rights and responsibilities of management and labour during union organizing and negotiation processes, the various methods of training and developing staff; and human rights, employment equity and pay equity legislation. 

We suggest individuals considering writing the NKE review the CPHR Competency Framework (Click here) as it outlines how to obtain the CPHR and the appendix outlines the competencies required, including referencing the exam.

The NKE is comprised of 160 questions including 10 questions which are added to the exam to allow new questions to be pre-tested. Pre-test questions will not affect the score and are used in examinations as an effective and legitimate way to test the validity of future examination questions. They are placed randomly throughout the exam.  

Exam writers have 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the 160 questions on the NKE.

There are several study methods to help you prepare for the exams, including:

  • CPHR Nova Scotia's In-Person NKE Preparatory Program, we are exploring holding a session in Halifax late August/early September. Information will be posted here by July.
  • Self-directed study groups; print study guides; and college or university preparatory courses. 

Exam sittings are held twice a year and start at 9:00am local time.

Exam Dates

Scheduled: November 4, 2017 (Registration will open by August 1st.).  The deadline to register is September 5, 2017 however the deadline to register with a supporting accommodation request is August 29th and documentation must be received within one business day of registration.)

Planned: June 2, 2018 (Registration will likely open by March 1.  The deadline to register will be April 3, 2018.)

Note: Exam sittings are held in locations where there is sufficient demand. Historically, there have been sufficient registrations in Halifax however not always for other locations. Registrants note their preferred location during the registration process. We cannot guarantee a particular location will have sufficient registrants and the registrants will be required to write in another location (or have the option to pay the costs incurred for setting up a location in their own area).


Exam fee: $400 plus HST (price subject to change for future exams without notice)


To Register for Exam:

Registration for the November 4, 2017 exam sitting will open in August and will close on September 5. Late registrations are not permitted, regardless of circumstance.

All registrations are subject to the deferral policy.

Registrations cancelled prior to the registration deadline will incur a processing fee of $50 plus HST. Cancellations after the registration deadline are not possible as the deferral policy then applies.   

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. 

Not yet a member and planning to register for the November 2017 exam? You must apply (and pay) for membership online before August 10, 2017, as you must be an approved member in order to register for the exam.


After you register: 

Within 2 weeks of the registration deadline, 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. Exam writers will receive exam results approximately eight (8) weeks after the exam date.

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.


Exam Cancellation and Deferral Policy
Exam Cancellation and Deferral Policy


Special Accommodation

If an exam writer requires special accommodation for the exam, they must indicate it during the online 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.  Any registrations with accommodation requests must be done by August 29th to allow time to review your information.

Out of Province on the Day of the Exam 
If you must be out of your home province; however, will be in another province that hosts the NKE exam on the day of the exam, you must advise us when you register for the exam (indicate in the exam location field) as out of province writing may be possible. Please note that Ontario does not host the NKE exam so out of province writing cannot be arranged in that province. 


CPHR Manual Rescore
Manual re-scores are available for those who believe that there has been an error in the scoring of their exam. More..


Certification candidates have ten (10) years to complete the certification process by successfully meeting the experience requirement) and providing confirmation of a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree.
NKE - Maximum Number of Unsuccessful Attempts
Beginning with the November 2014 NKE, individuals who fail the NKE three times will be required to wait a full year before attempting the NKE for a fourth time. In certain circumstances, a fifth attempt may be permitted following a review process. NKE attempts made before the November 2014 exam session will not impact this policy as the counting of unsuccessful attempts begins in November 2014.

Recognizing the desire for exam writers to know what the exam is like, we reserve the right to change the exam at any time as part of a continuous exam improvement program. We will give as much advance notice as possible.

Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Nova Scotia
84 Chain Lake Drive, Suite 103 / Halifax, NS / B3S 1A2
Telephone: (902) 446-3660 / Fax: (902) 446-3677