Pass rates and number of candidates

2018 data on test of competence for overseas applicants

Anyone trained outside the EU wishing to join our register must take a Test of Competence (ToC) as part of the application process to show they meet our high standards.

The ToC is made up of two parts:

  • Stage one - a computer-based multiple choice test (CBT) and
  • Stage two - an observed structured clinical examination (OSCE) where candidates carry out practical tests.

The information below shows the number of people who have taken each part of the test and the pass rates. We update this information four times per year.

Stage 1 - CBT

The CBT is run by our partners Pearson VUE. Candidates can attend one of a number of test centres to take the test. 

Since the first CBT was taken in November 2014 a total of 22,400 tests have been taken with an overall pass rate of 76 percent.

So far, 89 percent of applicants who have taken a CBT have passed.

July – September 2018: Monthly breakdown 

 

July 18

August 18

September 18

Qtr total

CBT sittings

1,028

1,024

1,017

3,069

Pass rate

76%
(783 passes)

75%
(773 passes)

76%
(771 passes)

76%
(2,327 passes)

Stage 2 - OSCE 

Once someone has passed the CBT, they may go on to sit the OSCE in the UK at one of our approved test centres.

Since the first OSCE was taken in April 2015 a total of 13,617 tests have been taken with an overall pass rate of 59 percent.

So far, 93 percent of applicants have achieved a pass.

July – September 2018: OSCE pass rates

Test centre pass rates

July 18

August 18

September 18

Qtr Total

Oxford Brookes University

OSCEs

175

176

226

577

Pass rate

49%

59%

67%

59%

University of Northampton

OSCEs

316

287

299

902

Pass rate

74%

75%

75%

75%

Ulster University

OSCEs

145

183

177

505

Pass rate

86%

91%

83%

87%

Total sittings

OSCEs

636

646

702

1,984

Pass rate

70%

75%

74%

73%

Background context

The OSCE is rightly a challenging test because it gives us assurance that nurses and midwives coming to the UK are capable of working safely.

There are a range of factors that affect the OSCE pass rates. We have worked with the test centres and employers to better understand what affects candidates’ success.

We know that the support that an individual has through the process to help their preparation is important. We also know the level of support candidates receive can vary.

The length of time a candidate has been in the UK can also affect the likeliness of whether they will pass.

The number of applicants sitting the test at each test centre will also influence the pass rate. The fewer the people who sit the test at a centre, the greater the influence their individual result has on the overall pass rate.

The number of first attempts versus number of resits in any given month can also influence the pass rates.

Over the last couple of months, test centres have released additional OSCE support material, including a mock exam and a corresponding marking criteria. These documents can be found on their websites:

OSCE resit requirements have changed as of 16 July 2018, which means anyone taking an OSCE resit will only need to re-sit the part that they’ve previously failed.