NHS Employers

New NMC test of competence to go live this summer

Laptop and stethoscope

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) will be launching a new test of competence this summer, with a number of elements set to change.

Planned changes

  • The computer-based test (CBT) will be split into two parts, numeracy and theory.
  • The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) will increase from six to ten stations, with four testing candidates' assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation (APIE), four testing skills and two assessing values, behaviours and evidence based practice.
  • OSCE marking criteria will change so that each station is assessed against specific criteria and with a holistic judgement.
  • A new range of candidate support including preparation materials will be available to candidates and employers.

Context and recent changes

The changes will be undertaken alongside the NMC's new design partner AlphaPlus and the University of Nottingham. They follow a number of recent changes made by the NMC, including changes to the overseas registration process for nurses made in 2019 including:

  • applicants now only need to hold a qualification that would lead to registration to the part of the register they are applying to, for example, a nursing qualification rather than a field specific one such as mental health - they are then able to take the test of competence that is relevant to their practice, and can join the mental health register more quickly
  • a new application form alongside streamlined requirements
  • a reduction in cost for the test of competence, with CBT reduced from £130 to £87, full OSCE cost from £992 to £794 and the resit cost of OSCE from £496 to £397
  • candidates now only have to resit the part of the test they failed.

Find more details about the October 2019 changes on the NMC website.

How can I get more information about the forthcoming changes to the test?

The NMC is running a number of workshops and webinars about the review of the test of competence, you can sign up for those as well subscribe to monthly updates about the test via the NMC website.

If you have any wider questions about the test you can contact ToC@nmc-uk.org.

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