Since 2019, we've been working in partnership with AlphaPlus to develop a new Test of Competence (ToC).

New test for nurses and midwives

We launched the new Test of Competence 2021 for nurses and midwives on 2 August 2021.

As well as reflecting our new standards for nurses and midwives, we've made some other changes to the new test:

  • The new CBT is split into two parts: Part A will cover numeracy and Part B will cover clinical questions related to nursing or midwifery.
  • The new OSCE has ten stations, rather than six, to assess additional skills as well as the candidate’s values and behaviours, and evidence-based practice.

Preparation materials

Find a range of resources for the new test in our Test of Competence 2021 for nurses and midwives hub.

Transitional arrangements

The legacy Test of Competence 2014 for nurses and midwives will be available for some eligible candidates to take up to August 2022.

Transition examples for nurses and midwives

Example 1 Sat an attempt at the CBT or OSCE before 2 August 2021
  • Joanna started her application in March 2021 and received confirmation from NMC that she is eligible to sit the ToC
  • Joanna sat and passed the CBT in June 2021
  • Joanna will be taking her first attempt OSCE in September 2021

Which version of the test will Joanna sit?

As Joanna had sat one part of the legacy ToC prior to 2 August 2021, she will be allowed to sit and pass the legacy OSCE until August 2022.

Even if Joanna had failed the CBT in this example, she would still be allowed to re-sit the legacy CBT and sit the legacy OSCE after the new ToC goes live on 2 August 2021 as she had sat one part of the legacy exam prior to the new test going live.

Example 2 Started an application before 2 August 2021, but has not yet sat an attempt at the CBT or OSCE
  • Dessie started her application in May 2021 and later received confirmation from the NMC that she is eligible to sit the ToC
  • Dessie is planning to sit her first CBT attempt in September 2021 and is planning to sit her first OSCE attempt after she’s passed the CBT

Which version of the test will Dessie sit?

Although Dessie started her application before 2 August 2021, she will be required to sit the new Test of Competence 2021 as she hadn’t attempted either part of the ToC before the new test went live.

To continue with the legacy ToC, applicants must have attempted at least one part of the legacy test before 2 August 2021.

Example 3 Started an application after 2 August 2021
  • Brett will be starting his application for registration in September 2021
  • Once Brett has received confirmation from the NMC that he is eligible to sit the ToC, he will book his CBT and OSCE in the following weeks

Which version of the test will Brett sit?

As Brett will be starting his application after 2 August 2021, he will be taking the new Test of Competence 2021 for both the CBT and OSCE.

Example 4 CBT expires before passing the OSCE when applying via the new registration process
  • Daniel started his application in November 2019 and is applying for registration via the new overseas process
  • Daniel sat and passed the CBT in December 2019
  • Due to personal reasons, Daniel has decided to take the OSCE in February 2022

Which version of the test will Daniel sit?

Daniel has until December 2021 (two years from passing their CBT) to sit and pass the legacy OSCE.

As Daniel has decided not to sit the OSCE until February 2022, Daniel will need to book and sit the new CBT via his Pearson Vue account. Daniel will also need to book and sit the new OSCE.

Alternatively, Daniel has until December 2021 to sit and pass the legacy OSCE. Should he do so, he won’t need to re-sit the CBT or take the new ToC.

New test for nursing associates

We’re launching the new Test of Competence 2021 for nursing associates in January 2022.

  • The new CBT is split into two parts: Part A will cover numeracy and Part B will cover clinical questions.
  • The new OSCE has ten stations, rather than six, to assess additional skills as well as the candidate’s values and behaviours, and evidence-based practice.

Preparation materials

We've published these resources to help people prepare for the new test for nursing associates:

Transitional arrangements

Nursing associate candidates will take the new test once it’s launched in January 2022, unless they’ve taken either the CBT or OSCE before this date.

In the meantime, if you're applying to our register as a nursing associate, you will continue to take the existing Test of Competence for nursing associates.

Number of OSCE test providers to increase to five

We're pleased to announce that we've awarded contracts to five partners to deliver the OSCE from February 2022 onwards.

As well as renewing our contracts with our current OSCE delivery partners – Oxford Brookes University, the University of Northampton and Ulster University – we've awarded contracts to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Northumbria University. This follows a competitive and open bidding process across all four countries of the UK.

By increasing the number of test sites we've increased capacity and improved accessibility for those taking the OSCE. This will support us in meeting demand and to get those professionals with the right skills and knowledge on our register as safely and quickly as possible.

Candidates will be able to book their tests at the new centres from December 2021. We'll update our website with information on how to do this closer to the time.

Webinar recordings

We held some webinars covering different aspects of the new test. You can watch the recordings and download slides for each of the webinars.

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