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Exam Rules and Schedules

The dates and locations for REVIEW of NCA Examinations written in OCTOBER 2014 are available here.

The dates and locations for NCA exams scheduled in January 2015 are now available here. 

The NCA examination schedules for all of 2015 are available here.

The revised framework used to plan the schedule for NCA exams in 2014 and 2015 is available here.

NCA Exam Information

Applicants who have received an assessment and are eligible to take the NCA examinations should complete the Exam Registration Form during the designated registration period, and submit it to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.

Full payment must be received with your registration, otherwise it will not be processed. The current examination fee (subject to change) is $315 Canadian per exam (plus applicable taxes). Please note the NCA accepts credit card payments only.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the date of receipt of the registration form and payment. Applicants will generally be accepted, space permitting.

Applicants will receive a confirmation of registration by email approximately 10 business days after the NCA receives your registration form and payment. You should verify the information in your confirmation to make sure it is correct. Please email with any revisions.

The NCA now offers four exam sessions per year, generally in January, May, August and October. The exact dates for each session will be posted once confirmed. Not all exams are offered at each of the four sessions; so please consult the current NCA Examination Schedule for a list of exams offered at each session.

You can divide your exams between sessions, but please refer to your NCA assessment for the deadline to complete all your requirements.

Registration for each exam session will open approximately 4-6 weeks before the registration deadline. There is no advance registration for any exam period. Applicants may write examinations in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, or Toronto at each session. In suitable circumstances, applicants may be able to arrange to write examinations in other locations within Canada and in other countries, at their own expense. Further information can be obtained by contacting

The National Committee on Accreditation is not an educational institution and therefore has limited capacity to provide special accommodations for physically challenged applicants. Applicants requiring accommodation must submit their request, supported by an up-to-date medical certificate, as soon as possible and no later than two months prior to an exam session. Special accommodations will be dealt with on an individual basis. Please email

NCA Failed Examinations

Applicants may retake an NCA examination in a failed subject. The exam fee in effect at the time of registration for the second attempt will be required. The new examination will not always be based on identical course materials, so candidates may have to prepare for the exam on the basis of a new syllabus.

Applicants may retake a failed NCA examination twice. In the event of a third failure, applicants are required to take the failed subject at a Canadian law school. Applicants may not register to retake an exam until they receive the results of the previous effort, and cannot register in the exam session immediately following the session in which they took the exam the first time. For example, if a candidate fails an exam in January, the earliest opportunity to re-take the exam would be in August of the same year.

When candidates fail an NCA examination, they receive a memo from the grading examiner providing reasons for the failure. The candidate will be given an opportunity to review the exam(s) at a date and time arranged by the NCA. A notice providing the time, date and location of the session will be sent with the exam results. Applicants may appeal their exam results in accordance with the Examination Review and Grade Appeal Process, by submitting a completed Examination Grade Appeal request form along with the required fee indicated.

NCA Examination Rules

Applicants must present a valid Photo ID at time of registration. Applicants must also have their current, valid NCA file number to record on each examination, where indicated.

The examination will be graded on a pass/fail basis (50% is a pass). All examinations are open book, and three hours in duration. Candidates are permitted to use any reference materials during the examination, including personal hand-written or typed notes. Please ensure that you read the NCA's Examination Guidelines and Rules, as you are responsible for knowing and following the guidelines and rules for every NCA examination.

Answers should be double-spaced and written in blue or black ink (no pencils). All answers must be completed on the pads provided, except where space is provided in the examination booklet. PRINT LEGIBLY. Writing considered illegible by the examiner may result in the exam not being fully graded or disqualified.

Applicants must complete the information at the top right of each page of the examination pad. This includes the applicant file number, and the question number and page for each answer completed. (e.g. 1/1 for question 1, page 1 and 1/2 for question 1 page 2, etc.).

Applicants must return the exam questions and all answers in the envelope they were received in. If the examination and answer booklets are not found in the envelope at the end of the examination, the applicant’s exam will be automatically disqualified..

The contents of the examination must not be disclosed or discussed with others. Please note that Invigilators cannot respond to any questions regarding the content of the exam.

Cellular phones, electronic devices, any type of personal digital assistant such as palm pilots, mp3 players, head phones or head sets of any kind, pagers, camera, radios, recording devices, wireless email or hand-held computers are not permitted in the room where exams are held.

If an applicant has a cell phone contained within their personal belongings (which should not be at their desk), it must be turned off so that it does not disrupt anyone during the examination.

Time management during the exam is the responsibility of each applicant. Cell phones or other electronic devices may not be used for the purposes of keeping time. The official time will be maintained by the staff invigilating the exams. When time is called, you must immediately put down your pen and close your answer booklet.

Applicants are permitted to leave the examination after the first two hours, but may NOT leave the examination during the final 15 minutes. All applicants must remain seated until proctors have collected an examination envelope from each of the applicants present.

Friends, relatives or children who accompany an applicant to the NCA examination site will not be permitted to wait in the examination testing area, or to contact the applicant while they take the NCA exam(s).

Applicants must be considerate of others at all times, ensuring that they are quiet and respectful of others. As a courtesy to fellow applicants, please keep distractions to a minimum. Distractions may include constant movement in your seat, low murmuring while reading the exam questions, tapping or flicking of pens, strong scents or odors, etc. If this type of behavior is found to be distracting, the invigilators may request the applicant to stop. If that behavior persists, other measures may be taken as deemed necessary.

Examination Deferral and Cancellation Policy

Exam fees may be deferred to a later session, provided registration for that session is open. Exam fees may also be refunded upon request. In all cases, administrative fees apply. Please note that as of February 1, 2012, the NCA accepts credit card payments only.

An administrative fee per exam (including all applicable taxes) will be applied to all changes (deferral or cancellation) to a candidate’s examination registrations according to the deadlines posted for each exam schedule. Cancellations or no-shows made on the date of the exam being written will result in the forfeiture of the full exam fee unless accompanied by a medical certificate or other relevant documentation.

If you have any questions regarding NCA examinations, or wish to cancel or defer any exams you have registered for, please contact Christine Mayer at

FAQs About NCA Exams

1. When and how can I expect to receive the results from my exams?

The results are generally released 10-12 weeks after the date of the last scheduled exam of each session. If the results are available sooner they will be released as soon as possible. All results are released by email at the same time. To ensure the integrity of the grading process, the NCA cannot expedite the grading of individual exams.

2. Is it possible to have my NCA exam(s) graded sooner and released before the 10-12 week period?

No, to ensure the integrity of the grading process, the exams are graded all together so that the examiners can re-read and re-evaluate the exams as they go along and as is appropriate to ensure consistent and fair results for all applicants writing the same exam.

3. How do I obtain the study material contained in the syllabus?

The NCA exams are self-study. Therefore, applicants must obtain the material themselves. A list of publishers is attached to each syllabus so that you may contact them to buy the required texts. However, you may also consider purchasing the material at a local law school bookstore, law library or other bookstore, or by searching the web for other sources (e.g. Google). Always consult the syllabus before purchasing the materials as the textbooks change from time to time. In particular, ensure that you purchase the correct edition of all texts. 

Required cases and articles can normally be found on CanLII or Lexis Nexus (Quicklaw) Other resources are listed in the syllabii. CanLII is open access, so no password is required.

4. How can I get access to Lexis Nexis (Quicklaw)?

Your registration fee includes free access to the Quicklaw resources of Lexis Nexis, and all online resources of CanLII. Your access to the Lexis Nexis legal database called Quicklaw requires a unique password and ID, which are personal and confidential and should not be shared with anyone. It will be sent to you by email once your NCA examination registration is completed. Access Quicklaw and enter your ID and password. The first time that you login you will be asked to change (Personalize) your password.  If you forget or lose your password you may retrieve it by clicking on the “Forgot Password?” link on the sign-on page or by contacting our Customer Support at or at 1-800-387-0899.

5. I have been assigned several exams; how many exams should I/can I attempt in one sitting?

You may attempt as many or as few exams in each exam session as you wish. The factors you may consider in deciding how many exams to write include your familiarity and comfort level with the subject matter, the depth and breadth of the study material, and the time you can devote to studying for each topic given work, family and other commitments. Generally, most applicants attempt 2-4 exams per session with varying degrees of success. You must however complete all the topics assigned within the timeframe indicated in your Assessment Result Report.

6. Does the NCA offer tutorials or classes to help study for the exams?

No, the NCA exams are self-study, however, there are resources available through several Canadian law schools and private tutoring services on the internet which you may wish to explore. The use of these resources is voluntary and is neither required by the NCA or provincial law societies nor endorsed by the NCA.

7. What can I bring into the exam room?

The NCA exams are open-book, therefore you are permitted to bring into the exam any study related material, whether they are original copies, photocopies or hand-written or typed notes. Exams are however, taken by pen and paper, therefore electronic devices of any kind are not permitted into the examinations. Please consult the Examination Rules for more information.

8. Can I mark up my exam material for use during the exams?

Yes, your study material may be highlighted, tabbed, indexed, with notations etc.

9. At the end of the exam can I keep my study material I used during the exam?

Yes, you can keep your study material used during the exam. You cannot, however, retain the exam questions.

10. Can I use a computer to take my exams?

No, the exams are all written with pen and paper. Please ensure you write legibly so the examiners can grade your paper appropriately. Writing considered illegible by the examiner may result in your exam not being fully graded or your exam being disqualified. The NCA recommends that you double space your answers and use blue or black ink (no pencils) to avoid smudging or fading.

11. What do I need to get into the exam?

You will need valid government issued photo ID (i.e. Passport, driver’s license). Please ensure that the name on your ID is consistent with the name on your NCA file as this is what will appear on the examination roster list when you sign in. If you require a name change to your NCA file, please contact the NCA and include any necessary documentation (e.g., marriage certificate). You will also need your NCA file number to include on all exam materials. To ensure anonymity, DO NOT write your name on the exam, on your answer sheets or on the exam envelope.

12. What is the NCA exam cancellation policy?

An administrative fee of $55 (plus applicable taxes) per exam will be applied to all cancellation requests. Cancellations will be accepted up to and including the day of the exam. Failure to advise the NCA of your cancellation by the date of your exam will result in the forfeiture of your exam fees. No refunds will be issued once your scheduled exam has taken place.

The NCA does not accept advance registrations nor retain fees in trust. Exam fees may only be deferred to a later session, provided registration for that session is open. In all cases, an administrative fee of $55 (plus applicable taxes) per exam will apply.

If you wish to cancel any exams you must submit your request by email to the Examinations Department .

13. If I do not cancel my exam(s) by the deadline or I fail to notify you of my cancellation, will this count as an attempt?

If you do not attend your exam or fail to notify the NCA by the specified deadline, you will simply forfeit your exam fees and will be required to re-register and pay the full exam fee in order to take the exam. No record of an attempt will be recorded.

14. What happens if I fail to return the exam questions at the end of the exam?

You must return the exam questions in the envelope provided along with your answers. Failure to return the questions will result in the automatic disqualification of your exam. Your attempt will be recorded, however you will not obtain any result (pass or fail). To re-take the exam you will be required to re-register for the exam and pay the applicable exam fee.

15. Can I write my exams exams in a location other than Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, or Vancouver?

Applicants may be able to arrange to write examinations in other locations within Canada and in other countries, at their own expense. Further information on approved sites can be obtained by contacting the Examinations Manager. Not all requests will be approved particularly where a site already exists. Sites will not be approved in regions covered by the 6 cities listed above.

16. I am a student with a disability, how do I apply for special accommodations for my exams?

The NCA accommodates applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring accommodation must submit their request by completing the Accommodations Request Form and providing supporting documentation.  Special accommodations will be determined on an individual basis. For information concerning the exam accommodations please contact the NCA Examinations Manager.

17. If I am unsuccessful and fail an exam, will I be able to register for the exam session immediately following?

Applicants may not register to retake an exam until they receive the results of the prior effort, and cannot register in the session immediately following the one in which they most recently wrote the exam. For example, if a candidate fails an exam in January, the earliest opportunity to retake the exam would be in August of the same year.

18. How many times may I attempt an exam?

Applicants may retake a failed NCA examination only twice. In the event of a third failure, applicants are required to take the failed subject at a Canadian law school. A fourth and final attempt may be granted at the discretion of the NCA Managing Director, as detailed in Section 1.4.5 (Page 9) of the current NCA Policies document.

19. I am writing my last exam and have articling lined up/want to write the next law society bar exams, can the results of my exam be expedited?

No, exams must be graded as a group to ensure consistency and fairness in the grading process. Results are released as soon as they are available but generally not until 10-12 weeks after the date of the last exam of the session.