NMC new Test of Competence launched today

Published on 02 August 2021

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We’re pleased to announce that from today the first candidates will begin taking the NMC’s new Test of Competence (ToC). The test enables professionals trained outside the UK and those returning to practice to demonstrate they have the right skills and knowledge to join the NMC’s register.

The new test reflects our world-class future nurse and future midwife education standards that set out what nursing and midwifery professionals need to know, understand and be able to do when they join our register. It will ensure that no matter where in the world professionals are trained, people receiving care can be assured that they’ll receive the same high standard of care.

Changes to the ToC will see the Computer Based Test (CBT) split into two parts covering numeracy and nursing or midwifery theory. The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) will assess additional skills as well as the candidate’s values and behaviours, and evidence-based practice.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome the first candidates to sit our brand new Test of Competence.

“International and returning professioanls play a vital role in caring for millions of people across the UK. This new test will enable many more skilled professionals to join our register safely wherever in the world they trained or if they’ve been away from practice for a while.

“I’m very grateful to our partners who have worked so closely with us to support the development of the test and I look forward to continuing our work with them to make its introduction a success.”

Earlier this year we published a range of resources to help candidates, employers and recruiters prepare for the new test. You can find them, and read more about the previously announced changes, on our website.

The UK’s four Chief Nursing Officers said:

“We are pleased that the Test of Competence has been updated to reflect the NMC’s new Standards for nursing and midwifery professionals. The new test will ensure that all nursing and midwifery professionals will meet the same high standards, regardless of where they trained or how long they’ve been out of practice”.

Amanda Croft – Chief Nursing Officer, Scotland
Ruth May – Chief Nursing Officer, England
Charlotte McArdle – Chief Nursing Officer, Northern Ireland
Gareth Howells – Interim Chief Nursing Officer, Wales


By next year, all students studying nursing and midwifery programmes in the UK will be taught to these new standards and professionals currently on our register are using them as part of their revalidation. The new ToC will ensure that all candidates are assessed to the same standards.

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