Professional Practice Examination

Regulations 21(d) & (f) accompanying the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act require that applicants pass an examination on the Act and professional practice. The examination is administered in January, April, July and October in major centres throughout the province and in other centres in North America by special consent.


APEGGA has identified the major subject areas as follows:

A. Professionalism (30%)
1) Definition and interpretation of professionalism
2) The role and responsibilities of a professional in society
3) The role and responsibilities of a professional to management
4) Professional conduct, ethical standards and codes
5) Safety and loss management - the professional’s duties
6) Environmental responsibilities

B. Professional Practice (20%)
1) Professional accountability for work, workplace issues, job responsibilities and standards of practice
2) Continuing competence
3) Quality management and standards of skill in practice
4) Business practices as a professional (e.g. Professional advertising)
5) Insurance and risk management
6) Professional and technical societies
7) Non-statutory standards and codes of practice

C. Regulatory Authority Requirements (15%)
1) Safety and loss management - regulatory aspects
2) Environmental regulations
3) Occupational health and safety
4) Workers compensation
5) Other statutory standards of practice (e.g. Exploration regulations)

D. Law and Legal Concepts (15%)
1) Canadian legal system and international considerations, basics of business organizations
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 - patents, trademarks, software issues, copyright
5) Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
6) Expert Witness

E. The Act (20%)
1) Definitions of the professions and scopes of practice
2) Structure and functions of APEGGA
3) Regulations and By-Laws
4) Registration
5) Discipline and enforcement
6) Use of seals and stamps

The exam is closed book and two hours in duration. The one hundred multiple-choice questions are broken down into eighty core questions which are common to the professions of engineering, geology and geophysics and twenty which are specific to one of the three professions. You choose the one of the sets of twenty that applies to your profession. It is graded as a "pass" or "fail" with an average of 64% necessary to pass. You are not penalized for wrong answers. The grade is final.


The Application To Write The Professional Practice Exam must be used when applying. It provides more information on fees, deadline dates, exam dates etc., must be accompanied with the appropriate fees and must be received before the first of the month preceding the month you write the exam.

Approximately two weeks after the deadline you will receive a letter advising you of the time, location and an admission slip which must be brought to the exam with one piece of photo-identification e.g. Driver's License.

Four to six weeks after the exam you will be advised of the results by mail. For many, a pass may be the last step in the registration process. For others, there may be additional requirements before registration is granted. Failure will require that the exam be repeated. Another application to write will be required along with another exam fee. In the unlikely event that the exam is failed four times, the right to write the exam will be suspended for twelve months.


APEGGA feels that it is beneficial for applicants to have at least two years of work experience after completion of their formal education before the exam is attempted. To be eligible to write the Professional Practice Examination, you must also have an active application for Professional Membership, or be enrolled as a Member-In-Training, Exam Candidate or Student. An exemption may be granted to applicants who have passed a similar examination in another jurisdiction or who have been registered by another Canadian Association for over 5 years, but such applicants are still required to read, and confirm in writing that they have read, and agree to practice their profession, in Alberta in accordance with the Act, Regulations, By-laws and Code of Ethics.


The following is a list of the material required which can be obtained through the Association offices in Calgary and Edmonton by using the Professional Practice Examination Literature Order Form.

Basic Kit (for all applicants)

All applicants with the exceptions noted will be tested on the primary literature but the secondary literature will be of interest.

Primary Literature

1. The Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act, Regulations and By-laws including the Code of Ethics, April 1997.

2. Manual of Practice under the Code of Ethics, 1st Edition — July 1990.

3. The Concepts of Professionalism — An APEGGA Statement.

4. Canadian Professional Engineering Practice and Ethics — G.C. Andrews, J.D. Kemper, 2nd Edition, 1992 — Chapters 3 to 10, and 13.  January, 1999.

5. Chapters VII and VIII (Arbitration, Expert Evidence) from Engineering Law —— Laidlaw, Young and Dick; University of Toronto Press, 1958.

6. The Expert Witness — Chapter 7 of Association of Engineering Geologists Professional Practice Guidelines, 1981.

7. APEGGA Booklet — Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Copyrights —— August 1987 (amended July 1994).

8. Law for Professional Engineers —— D.L. Marston; McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. Third Edition, 1996 pages 1 to 282.

9. Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, 1992 Chapter E-13.3 with amendments in force as of November 2, 1995. Consolidated December 6, 1995.

10. Occupational Health and Safety Act of Alberta, Revised Statutes of Alberta 1980, Chapter 0-2 with amendments in force as of February 17, 1995 not including unproclaimed amendments Consolidated March 7, 1995

11. OHSA Regulations

a) General Safety Regulation 448-83 with amendments up to and including Alberta Regulation 34/95; Part I, Sections 2 to 33 inclusive only (for engineering and geology candidates)
b) First Aid Regulation, 1981; updated to amendment 85/82

12. Workers' Compensation Act, Statues of Alberta 1981, Chapter W16 with amendments as of May 24, 1996. Consolidated, July 18, 1996.

13. APEGGA Introductory Notes, September 1984 — Workers' Compensation Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act — all candidates should be familiar with these notes; engineering candidates should also study the Appendix

Secondary Literature

1. Canada Consumer and Corporate Affairs pamphlets:

- A Guide to Patents
- A Guide to Trade Marks
- A Guide to Industrial Designs
- A Guide to Copyrights

2. Employer Handbook - Worker's Compensation Board Information & Services. (July 1997)

3. Royal Bank Letter — "The Soul of Professionalism" Vol. 71, No.6, December 1990.

Available textbooks focus on engineering but the concepts are also common to the geosciences. The following publication, however, are specific to the practice of geology and geophysics.

Supplementary Kit (for Geoscientists only)

1. Explosives Safety Regulation 272/76 with amendments up to and including Alberta Regulation 229/81 & Amendment Regulation 33/95.(geophysics candidates)
2. Exploration Regulation (32/90) Forests Act, Mines and Minerals Act, Public Highways Development Act, Public Land Act (for geology and geophysics candidates).
3. Explosives Storage and Use by the Seismic Industry — APEGGA Notes July 1983 (for geophysics candidates).
4. The Practice of the Professions of Geology and Geophysics —— APEGGA Publication, Second Edition, March 1990. (For geology and geophysics candidates only) Chapters 1 - 6 incl.

Portions of the Basic Kit are also available for those who can borrow some of the material and are trying to save some money.


Each question is multiple-choice with four possible answers. Old exams are not available, however, sample test questions are provided below:

For Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists


1. According to the APEGGA Code of Ethics, which of the following activities by a professional member would be considered UNETHICAL?

A. Not charging a fee for presenting a speech.
B. Signing plans prepared by an unknown person.
C. Reviewing the work of another member with that member's consent.
D. Providing professional services as a consultant.

B. is correct. It is unethical for professionals to sign plans not prepared by themselves or under their direct supervision.

2. Which of the following is an example of a fraudulent, contractual misrepresentation?

A. A party is coerced into signing a contract by means of intimidation.
B. A party knowingly makes false statements to induce another party into a contract.
C. A party induces his son-in-law to sign an unfair contract.
D. A party unknowingly provides false information about a portion of a contract.

B. is correct. Knowingly providing false information to induce a contract is fraudulent misrepresentation.

3. Contractual disputes of a technical nature may be most expeditiously and effectively solved through:

A. a lawsuit.
B. court appeals.
C. contract renegotiations.
D. arbitration.

D. is correct. Arbitration provides an effective, expeditious resolution to technical disputes.

4. Which type of original work below is automatically protected by copyright upon creation?

A. Paintings.
B. Inventions.
C. Clothing designs.
D. Signatures.

A. is correct. Of the works listed, only a painting is protected by copyright law.

5. In order for compensation to be awarded to a plaintiff in a tort liability case, the defendant must have:

A. Caused injury to the plaintiff.
B. Been willfully negligent.
C. Signed a contract of performance.
D. performed under supervision.

A. is correct. Injury is one of three criteria that must be met for compensation to be awarded in a tort liability case.

6. According to OHSA first-aid regulations, the employer of a worker injured on the job must:

A. pay all medical costs.
B. maintain a record of injury.
C. accompany the worker to the hospital
D. report the injury to other employees.

B. is correct. An employer must maintain records of on-the-job injuries.

7. Which of the following is the most common job activity of top-level managers?

A. Writing and reading corporate financial reports.
B. Developing and testing new products.
C. Designing and implementing production systems
D. Directing and interacting with people.

D. is correct. Most top managers spend most of their time interacting with other people.

8. The professional's standard of care and skill establishes the point at which a professional:

A. may or may not charge a fee for services
B. has the duty to apply "reasonable care".
C. may be judged negligent in the performance of services.
D. has met the minimum requirements for registration.

C. is correct. The standard of care is used to judge whether or not a professional has been negligent in the performance of services.

For Engineers:

1. Which of the following is a minimum requirement for registration as a professional engineer in Alberta?

A. Canadian citizenship.
B. Experience in engineering work.
C. Course work in engineering.
D. Residence in Alberta.

B. is correct. Of the items listed, engineering experience is the only minimum requirement for registration.

For Geologists:

1. To effectively reduce liability exposure the professional Geologist should:

A. pursue continuing educational opportunities.
B. work under the supervision of a senior Geologist.
C. maintain professional standards in practice.
D. provide clients with frequent progress reports.

C. is correct. Maintaining professional standards of practice is the most effective way of reducing liability exposure.

For Geophysicists:

1. When discussing the results of a recent geophysical survey with a client who has no formal training in geophysics, the professional geophysicist should provide the client with:

A. a detailed technical report.
B. background reading material.
C. a recommendation without presenting the date upon which the recommendation was based.
D. A non-technical summary of the survey results and a recommendation.

D. is correct. When discussing results with lay people a non-technical summary of methods and results, with recommendations, should be provided.

Rev.  January 1999