CSEP Certification Exam Attempts Policy - October 2016

To maintain the highest standards, the CSEP Professional Standards Program™ and CSEP Board of Directors have approved a new exam policy that limits the number of attempts candidates can take each (both Theory and Practical) certification exam.

Were you unsuccessful in an exam attempt prior to November 1, 2016? If yes, you still have 2 exam opportunities for each exam on your file.

All exams completed before November 1, 2016 will not count towards the attempt limit outlined in this policy. To see examples of this policy in action click here.

Main policy points:

  • Candidate has 2 attempts, at each exam, to successfully pass both
  • If unsuccessful at 2nd attempt, candidate can apply for a 3rd attempt
  • If unsuccessful at 3rd attempt, a waiting period is imposed and the candidate can apply to keep their file open.

Full Policy Details:

Exam Attempt Limit

Within the certification period a CSEP certification candidate is allowed a maximum of two attempts at each of the CSEP Theory and Practical Exams.

Note that once a candidate has already successfully completed one exam they are also still bound by the 6 month deadline in which to complete both exams successfully and register with CSEP as a certified member.

Applying for a Third Attempt

An individual who is not successful after their second exam attempt, of either exam, must apply for an extension in order to receive a third attempt, regardless of where they are in the certification period, i.e. if their 6 month deadline has started or not. A template will be provided to candidates at the time they are unsuccessful at their second attempt. The application should include a rationale for why the extension should be granted and outline a study/skill development plan that the individual will undertake to improve their knowledge and/or skills prior to their third attempt.

If Third Attempt Application is Approved

If a candidate's application is approved the candidate will be granted a third attempt and an additional 6 months in which to successfully complete the exam and register with CSEP. If the candidate has not been successful at either exam, and therefore their 6 month certification deadline clock has not started, than the 6 month extension period will begin on the date the extension was granted.

If a candidate's 6 month certification clock has started and they apply for a third attempt prior to the end of their original 6-months, and are approved, they cannot take the third exam attempt until the start of the 6 month extension period.

Any successful exam grade that was achieved prior to the 6-month extension period will remain valid during the extension period.

If Unsuccessful at Third Exam Attempt

If at the end of the 6 month extension period and third exam attempt the individual was still unsuccessful they are required to undergo a 6 month waiting period. The waiting period will start immediately after the 6 month extension period ends.


After the 6 month waiting period, if the individual is still interested in becoming certified they must submit a special application. At this time previously successful exam attempts will no longer be valid. If the individual is approved they are required to challenge and successfully complete both the practical and theory exam.

Examples of this policy in action

Candidate #1

  • November 1, 2016 - Susan successfully completed her Theory Exam.
  • 6 month certification period started and she must successfully complete the practical exam and register with CSEP by May 1, 2017. 
  • January 23, 2017 & April 25, 2017 - Susan makes two separate unsuccessful attempts at the Practical Exam.
  • May 1, 2017 - Susan submits an application for a third attempt.
  • May 5, 2017 - Application is approved and the six-month extension period in which to complete the third attempt starts. Now she must complete the practical exam and register with CSEP by November 5, 2017.
  • August 12, 2017 - After undergoing additional study, Susan successfully completes her practical exam and registers with CSEP.

Candidate #2

  • November 1, 2016 - Gerry successfully completed his Practical Exam.
  • 6-month certification period started and he must successfully complete the theory exam and register with CSEP by May 1, 2017.
  • January 5, 2017 & March 10, 2017 - Gerry makes two separate unsuccessful attempts at the Theory Exam.
  • March 25, 2017 - Although his original six-month certification deadline period is not up, Gerry submits an application for a third exam attempt.
  • April 1, 2017 - Application is approved. Gerry still has a month left on his original six-month certification period. The six-month extension period will start May 2, 2017 and he will not be able complete the third exam attempt until May 2. Now he must complete the theory exam and register by November 2, 2017.
  • July 15, 2017 - After undergoing additional study, Gerry successfully completes his practical exam and registers with CSEP.


Candidate #3

  • November 1, 2016 – Mary successfully completed her Practical Exam.
  • 6-month certification period started and she must successfully complete the practical exam and register with CSEP by May 1, 2017.
  • January 5, 2017 & April 20, 2017 - Mary makes two separate unsuccessful attempts at the Theory Exam.
  • April 30, 2017 – Mary submits an application for a third attempt.
  • May 5, 2017 – Application is approved and the six-month extension period starts. Now, she must complete the theory exam and register by November 5, 2017.
  • August 10, 2017 – After undergoing additional study, Mary attempts the Theory Exam for a third time and is unsuccessful.
  • Mary must now complete a 6 month “waiting period” to begin at the end of her 6 month extension period (November 5, 2017). The waiting period will end on May 5, 2018.
  • May 5, 2018 – Mary can submit a special application to re-open her file. If approved, she must start the process again and successfully complete both exams. She returns to the pool of regular applicants and has two more attempts at each exams.

Industry and Allied Partners