TEST OF COMPETENCE: CBT & OSCE

You will need to take the Test of Competence to register as a nurse or midwife with the NMC. The 2-part test requires extensive preparation and study to make sure you can demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of professional skills.

The test of competence is based on standards for adult (general) nursing, children’s nursing, learning disabilities nursing, mental health nursing and midwifery, professional values, communication, nursing decision-making and leadership.

 

Nurses and midwives work in a variety of clinical settings and they are exposed to a variety of settings during their education. All nurses and midwives at the point of entry to the register are competent to work in all professional areas of nursing or midwifery practice.

 

These areas of practice include:

  • acute care

  • long-term care

  • caring for healthy people

  • caring for patients with complex needs and morbidities

  • caring for patients in the community setting including in their own homes.


There are two parts to the Test of Competence:

  • Part 1: CBT - a theory based multiple choice exam

  • Part 2: OSCE - practical test

CBT (Computer Based Test)

The CBT is a computer-based test on theoretical, practice-based knowledge. It’s a multiple choice test and can be taken at Pearson VUE test centres around the world. Applicants need to contact Pearson VUE [https://home.pearsonvue.com/] to book and pay for the test.


About the test

  • Candidates will be given a short tutorial on how to use the computer before starting the examination.

  • The CBT comprises 120 MCQ multiple choice questions.

  • All questions are scored as correct or incorrect and there is no partial credit.

  • A small number of questions will not be scored as they are pre-test questions, these questions will not be indicated to candidates.

  • A proportion of questions will be critical and relate to patient and public safety. Critical questions must be passed.

  • The time limit for direct testing is four hours and this includes any breaks from testing, which are optional.


Results of the CBT

Once the exam is complete the result is then submitted and calculated. Test centre staff do not have access to the examination results.

 

Examination results will be emailed to candidates within 48 hrs after taking the examination. You can also obtain your results within 48 business hours by logging in to your Pearsonvue account.

 

Candidates will receive a Pass or Fail result. Any further feedback on test results cannot be disclosed to candidates. This is to ensure that the integrity of the test is protected and any future attempts to sit the test are not aided.

 

How many times can I sit the CBT?

  • Applicants may sit the CBT 3 times as part of one application, with a minimum of 10 days between each sitting. At the moment your application will close after your second failed attempt and you will need to email overseas.enquiries@nmc-uk.org to request to take the test a third time.

  • If an applicant is unsuccessful after their third CBT, their application will close. They will be required to wait six months before submitting a new eligibility application to take the test again.

  • You must complete the entire NMC application process within two years of passing the CBT. If you are unable to do this, you will need to re-sit your CBT and begin a new NMC application.

OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination)

The second part of the test is the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). You will act out scenarios which you are likely to encounter as a nurse or midwife to assess, plan, carry out and evaluate care. Each separate clinical examination is known as a ‘station’ and candidates will visit all the stations within a set time.

Each of the six stations has standardised marking criteria against which all candidates are assessed. Candidates are assessed by a panel of examiners and will be filmed for quality assurance purposes. Candidates are expected to demonstrate safe and effective practice.

About the test

  • The average OSCE pass rate is 56%.

  • Applicants may sit the OSCE up to three times as part of one application.

  • If an applicant is unsuccessful at their first OSCE, they must wait a minimum of 10 working days before they can take the examination again.

  • If an applicant is unsuccessful at their second OSCE, they must wait a minimum of three months from the date of their second attempt before they can take the OSCE for the third time.

  • If the applicant is unsuccessful after their permitted attempts, their application will close. They will be required to submit a new application but will not be able to sit the OSCE again for a minimum of six months.

  • You must complete the entire application process within two years of passing the CBT. If you are unable to do this, you will need to re-sit your CBT and begin a new NMC application.

 

You can take the OSCE in the UK at one of our approved university test centres. Full details about the OSCE processes and links to relevant resources can be found on the approved universities’ website, please follow the links below for more information.

 

Already sponsored by a UK employer: It is expected that the sponsorship will formally start from the date of the scheduled OSCE, with arrival permitted up to 14 days ahead of that date. The sponsor may choose to continue to offer sponsorship in cases where the individual needs to re-sit the OSCE.

 

Not yet sponsored by a UK employer: For those without sponsorship who wish to travel to the UK to take the OSCE, a visitor visa provision is being put in place to allow nurses and midwives to enter the UK on a six-month visitor visa specifically to take the exam.

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