INFORMATION Exam format
NCA exams are similar to those in Canadian law schools. They are fact-based, open-book and take three hours to write. You can look at past law school exams to get a better idea of how the exams are formatted. Past exams are available at some Canadian law school libraries.
Exams are graded on a pass/fail basis (i.e. 50 percent is considered a pass).
You have to study for your exams on your own (i.e. without help from the NCA). You must also get the study materials outlined by the NCA. You might decide to hire a private tutor to help you prepare.
To help, the NCA offers practice exams for each subject, as well as the guide How to Answer Fact-based Law Exam Questions.
You may register for NCA exams once exam registration is open, you have your NCA assessment and we have told you that you can meet your requirements by writing NCA exams.
You may not register for exams if we have told you that you must attend a Canadian law school program to meet your NCA requirements, or if you do not yet have your NCA assessment.
The NCA offers four exam sessions per year: January, May, August and October. However, we do not offer all exams at each of the sessions. View our schedule for details.
Write your exams over several sessions, if you wish. Your assessment report will give a deadline for when you must complete your NCA assignments.
Registration for all sessions opens about four to six weeks before the registration deadline. We do not accept advance registrations. Please see the NCA’s advisories to find out when registration opens and closes.
The exam fee is $300.00 CDN per exam (plus taxes). Please note: Costs may change without notice.
You must pay in Canadian funds and use a credit card. If you use a foreign credit card, you must pay any transaction fees and any difference caused by fluctuation in exchange rates. You must register online through the NCA portal.
The NCA holds its exams in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto.
Sometimes, applicants can arrange to write exams in other approved locations at their own expense. We will assist you, if you wish to write at one of these locations:
Charlottetown, PE – Law Society of Prince Edward Island
Fredericton, NB – Faculty of Law University of New Brunswick
Halifax, NS – Faculty of Law, Dalhousie University
St. John’s, NL – Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
Montreal, QC – Faculty of Law, McGill University
Ottawa, ON – St. Paul University
Iqaluit, NU – Law Society of Nunavut
Whitehorse, YT – Law Society of Yukon
Yellowknife, NT – Law Society of the Northwest Territories
New York City, NY – New York Law School
Los Angeles, CA – Loyola Law School
Fort Lauderdale, FL – NOVA Southeastern University
Houston, TX – University of Huston
Dublin, Ireland – (for members of the Law Society of Ireland only)
London, England – University of London
Adelaide – University of Adelaide
Gold Coast – Bond University
Sydney – College of Law
New Delhi – NCA staff will make arrangements on your behalf
Kingston – General Legal Council
Johannesburg – Bar Council
Please note: The NCA does not approve sites in civil law jurisdictions.
Registering for exams at alternate locations
If you need to write an exam at one of the alternate locations, go to the NCA portal and start your registration by choosing one of the available Canadian sites. Once registration closes, the NCA will work with you so you can write the exam at your chosen alternate approved location. We must confirm availability and make sure there is space for you to write the exam there.
In all cases, you must tell the NCA by the exam registration deadline that you wish to write exams in an alternate location.
If you have a recognized and medically diagnosed condition or disability, you can apply for accommodations that address any special needs you have (e.g. if you are visually impaired, you can write exams with larger print; if you are unable to write with a pen, you can use a computer to write your exam). To do so, please ask the Examinations Department for an Accommodation Request Form. Send us your request, with up-to-date supporting documents by the registration deadline for the exam session in question.
We review accommodation requests case by case. If you need an accommodation, we reserve the right to tell you the location and time of the exam. This is because not all sites can accommodate special requirements. For example, if you need a computer, this might mean you have to take the exam in a particular city.
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada offers services in both of Canada’s official languages, so you may ask to write your exams in French. To do so, send a written request to our Examinations Department by the exam registration deadline.
Examinations are graded on a pass/fail basis (i.e. 50 percent is considered a pass). Results are released about 10 to 12 weeks from the date of the last exam in each session. We will not rush the grading of individual exams. To protect the integrity of the grading process, our examiners grade the exams all together so that they can re-read and re-evaluate the exams as they go along. This helps ensure consistent and fair results for all applicants writing the same exam.
If you fail an exam, the NCA will send you a memo from the examiner that provides reasons for the failure. The NCA will then allow you to review your exam.