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PPE Readiness in 5 Steps

Before an Engineer can be licensed in Ontario they must meet the following five criteria laid out by Professional Engineers Ontario:

PPE Exam

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be of good character
  • Must meet PEO’s stipulated academic requirements for licensure. (i.e. (CEAB)-accredited program or have passed the required technical exams)
  • Must fulfill the engineering work experience requirements
  • Must successfully complete the PEO’s Professional Practice Exam

Having recently written the PPE myself, I wanted to write a short blog about how you can pass this exam without taking any prep courses. Remember, the more you prepare the better you will do. The following are my suggestions to help you manage your study time, and get the most out of your effort!


  1. Google is your friend!
  • You can easily collect all the study material you need by just googling key words, and saving the material you found. (this was my main resource gathering technique)
  • Bookmark key pages, and try and structure your saved documents into the corresponding exam sections (see suggestion #3 below)
  • Here is a good starting point (check out the “additional resources” section near the bottom of the page!) a
  1. Gather ALL the sample exams you can (you can buy them online from PEO’s website)

exam papers

  • Sample exams will act as a benchmark for your performance. If you have to frequently refer to your notes, and spend too much time referencing documentation, you need to increase your allocated study time.
  • You should receive one sample exam from PEO when they contact you about your initial attempt, and you can try and find more examples online or from friends you know have written the exam recently.
  • If you are willing to spend a little extra money (you shouldn’t need to) you can purchase previous years exams online from PEO’s website.
  1. Divide your study notes into the corresponding sections of the exam. (Professional Practice & Ethics Short Answer/ Professional Practice & Ethics Long Answer/Law Definitions/Law Long Answer)


  • I found I spent more time preparing for the short answer and definitions sections. The short answer questions you should try and finish as quickly as possible so you have more time to properly gather your thoughts and structure your answers during the long answer sections.
  • For short answer and definition sections you should practice using a “volume” approach. Create a 1-2 page study sheet with ONLY law definitions/short answer questions relevant to the exam, and every night leading up to the exam (1-2 weeks in advance) read it over several times (I was able to breeze through the two sections using this technique). This study sheet would be a good thing to bring on a lengthy work commute!
  • The long answer questions require you to refer to the Professional Engineers Act & Sections 72 and 77 of Regulation 941/90. My suggestion is to become familiar with Sections 72 and 77 as they are the most heavily referenced during the exam. To judge your readiness you should be able to read any long answer scenario and almost immediately identify 2-3 relevant citations from the two sections 72 & 77.
  • For long answer question preparation my suggestion is to gather as many example questions as possible and practice physically writing solutions to each. This will give you plenty of practice structuring your answers in a clear and concise manner.
  • My suggestion is that you should also read any documentation PEO provides you front to back. You never know when that information will come in handy either during the exam or in your professional career.
  • Like described above you need to allocate time from your day to prepare for the exam.
  • If you follow some of my suggestions you can easily find an hour a day to read over notes or practice your sample exams.
  • If you are someone who gets nervous during exams, spending the extra time to study and prepare will only help ease your anxiety!
  1. Be Confident!


  • Answering correctly is not the only measure of your success during the PPE.
  • It is clearly stated that: “The marking of questions will be based not only on academic content, but also on legibility and the ability to express yourself clearly and correctly in the English language.” This means you need to think clearly, organize your thoughts by making notes during the exam and structure your answer in a concise and LEGIBLE way.
  • Like my father always tells me “Think like an Engineer!”

Good luck!


About the Author

Spencer Johnstone holds a B.Eng in Software Engineering from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He has been with Aversan Inc. for almost a year and a half and has worked in the E-Health department on Requirements Verification Testing, Cross Application & Integration Testing, and more recently has transitioned to a Defect Management role. When not in the office, Spencer can likely be found trying to squeeze in a quick 18 holes before the sun sets or snapping pictures with his DSLR.


Professional Engineers Ontario: Professional Practice Examination (PPE)


Disclaimer: Any views or opinions presented in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Aversan Inc.


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