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Professional Practice & Ethics (PPE) Exam

Do you want to write the PPE exam? To apply for the PPE exam you must first submit an application to APGO for a Practising, Limited or Temporary membership. You may apply to write the PPE exam as a Geoscientist-in-Training if you have applied for a change of designation.
Download the PPE Exam Application
 or  Apply Online

Next scheduled exam accepting applications - October 20, 2014
Deadline for Applications - August 29, 2014

About the Exam
Scope and Syllabus
Sample Questions
Applying to Write the PPE Exam
PPE Exam Schedule and Application Dates
Locations for Writing PPE Exam
Results of Examination
Application Package and Study Material
Some additional references
Other Study Aids


An applicant for registration in Ontario must successfully complete the PPE examination requirement unless an equivalent exam acceptable to the Registration Committee has been written and passed in another jurisdiction. The PPE examination will cover ethics, professional practice, business law, professional liability and responsibilities to the public.

The 3-hour Ontario PPE examination is closed book and comprises 120 multiple-choice questions (2 hours) and an essay question (additional hour). The first 100 questions are based on Categories A to E as shown in the syllabus below. The last 20 questions, in Category F, are specific to Ontario – 8 questions on the APGO Act, and 12 on various Ontario Acts and Regulations. The essay question is designed to test the applicant's ability to communicate effectively and is not meant to test an applicant's technical expertise. The PPE exam administered by APGO is based on the National Professional Practice Exam developed by the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA).

The examination is graded as a "pass" or "fail". Candidates who fail will receive a report showing their performance in each category of the syllabus. There is no penalty for wrong answers. The grade is final.*

The pass mark is 65%. Pass marks may be slightly adjusted for individual sessions based on valid psychometric factors designed to ensure that over time, and among groups of candidates, pass-fail decisions are made on a consistent basis.

Scope and Syllabus

The national PPE exam syllabus, as adopted by the APGO, covers the major subject areas (excluding the essay question) as follows:

A. Professionalism (25%)
1. Definition and interpretation of professionalism
2. The role of the professional in society
3. A professional's responsibilities to management
4. Ethical standards and codes
5. Environmental responsibilities

B. Professional Practice (17%)
1. Professional accountability for work, workplace issues, job responsibilities and standards of practice
2. Continuing professional competence
3. Professional business practices
4. Insurance and risk management
5. Professional and technical societies
6. Non-statutory standards and codes of practice

C. Regulatory Authority Requirements (7%)
1. Occupation Health and Safety Regulations
2. Workers' compensation regulations
3. Other statutory standards and codes

D. Law and Legal Concepts (21%)
1. Canadian legal concepts
2. Contract Law - elements, principles, types, discharge, breach, interpretation, etc.
3. Tort Law - elements, application of principles, interpretation, liabilities of various kinds
4. Intellectual Property Law - patents, trademarks, software issues, copyright
5. Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
6. The Professional as an Expert Witness
7. Business Organizations
8. International Law

E. The Act (13%)
1. Definitions of the profession and scope of practice
2. The Provincial Acts
3. Regulations and By-Laws
4. Registration
5. Discipline and Enforcement
6. Use of stamps and seals

F. Geoscience Practice in Ontario (17%)
1. Acts and Regulations governing major areas of geoscience practice in Ontario

Sample Questions

Each question, except for the essay question, is multiple-choice with four possible answers. Old examinations are not available, however, sample test questions are provided below:

Review sample PPE exam questions
Download sample PPE exam questions (PDF)


To be eligible to write the PPE exam, the applicant must have an active application for Professional Membership or be enrolled as a Geoscientist-in-Training and have submitted a change of designation request. An exemption may be granted to applicants who have passed a similar examination in another jurisdiction. However, such applicants are still required to read and confirm in writing that they have read, and agree to practice their profession in Ontario in accordance with the Professional Geoscientists Act, 2000, Regulations, including the Code of Ethics, and By-Laws.

Applying to Write the PPE Exam

The form, Application To Write the Professional Practice and Ethics Examination, must be used when applying. The completed application must accompany the fee of $250 plus applicable tax and must be received by the Registrar BY THE DEADLINE TO APPLY DATE.

Download the Application Form or Apply Online

Want to pay by credit card? No problem! Download this PDF and mail it to us!
APGO Credit Card Card Payment Form

Approximately 10 days before each sitting of the exam, applicants will receive a letter indicating the time and location of the sitting along with an admission slip which must be brought to the examination with one piece of photo-identification, e.g. Driver's License.

Please note that you will not receive a receipt or confirmation of application until after the deadline date for your exam.

PPE Exam Schedule and Application Dates

The schedule for upcoming PPE examinations is as follows:

July 21, 2014 – Deadline to apply – June 2, 2014

October 20, 2014 – Deadline to apply – August 29, 2014

January 19, 2015 – Deadline to apply – December 1, 2014

April 20, 2015 – deadline to apply – March 2, 2015

June 20, 2015 – deadline to apply – June 1, 2015

Locations for Writing PPE Exam

When an application to write the PPE is accepted, the applicant will be advised of the nearest examination location, along with the place and time. APGO holds the exam sessions in five major centres of Ontario (Toronto, Ottawa, London, Sudbury and Thunder Bay).  Locations other than those specified on the application form are subject to approval. The exam will be written simultaneously at all examination centres.

Candidates who, prior to the deadline date, request a deferral to the next exam session will be credited the fees to the next exam session. Candidates who cancel after the deadline, or fail to write or pass the exam may not have their fees refunded, nor will a credit be carried to the next exam session.

Results of Examination

Results of the examination will be sent by mail not later than 60 days after the date of the examination. For many, a pass may be the last step in the registration process. For others, there may be additional requirements before membership and registration is granted. Failure will require that the examination be repeated. For those who are required to repeat the exam, an exemption to apply for the following exam past the deadline date to apply, will be granted. Another application to write will be required along with another examination fee. Applicants who fail the exam may re-write the exam an additional two times. If an applicant does not pass the exam after three attempts, membership and registration will not be granted.

Application Package and Study Material

The recommended study material has been divided into two categories – Recommended texts and other reference material. Apart from the textbooks, other suggested study material may be downloaded from the websites provided.

Recommended Texts and Related Acts/Regulations:

1. “Canadian Professional Engineering and Geoscience: Practice & Ethics”, Andrews, G.C., 5th Edition, 2014. (Textbook available for on-line purchase directly form the publisher here)

2. “Practical Law of Architecture, Engineering and Geoscience”, Samuels & Sanders, Second Canadian Edition, 2010. (order at

3. The Professional Geoscientists Act, 2000, Regulations including the Code of Ethics and By-Laws.

View/Download Page for Act, Regulations and By-Laws

4. Acts and Regulations governing major areas of geoscience practice in Ontario.

View page with links to Acts and Regulations governing major areas of geoscience practice

Additional References:

A Guide to Patents:

A guide to Trade Marks:

A Guide to Industrial Designs:

A Guide to Copyrights:

The Canada Labour Code:

Quick Guide to the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act:

Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act:

Additional useful reference material is posted on many of the other professional engineering and geoscience association websites. Two such examples on the APEGGA website are:

A guideline for Professional Practice:

Manual of Professional Practice Under the Code of Ethics/Appendix A:

Other Study Aids

A number of independent companies, colleges and universities in Ontario offer seminars and workshops that prepare candidates for PPE exams. Most of the seminars and workshops available at present are more tailored for the PPE exam set by Professional Engineers of Ontario for those who are in the process of registering as a P.Eng. However, as the APGO PPE exam is based on the National Professional Practice Examination, much of the material covered in these seminars would be directly relevant. Also in a number of locations in Ontario, groups of members of APGO are independently approaching course providers to arrange workshops or are organizing local study groups.

The current listing of courses, workshops and additional references on this website have not been approved or sanctioned in any way by APGO, but are provided as a service to interested PPE exam applicants.

Applicants requiring assistance preparing for their Professional Practice Exam (PPE) may seek additional resources on the Internet using their preferred search engine.

Suggested search term: Professional Practice Exam

There are also Law and Ethics Education CDs than can be purchased from APEGBC (

25 Adelaide Street East, Suite 1100, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3A1
Phone: 416-203-APGO (2746) • Toll Free: 1-877-557-APGO (2746) • Email: