Part one of the Test of Competence is a computer based test known as the CBT.

You can sit your CBT or OSCE in any order, but you must successfully complete both parts to continue with your application for initial registration or readmission.

Our CBT test provider is Pearson VUE. They have test centres in most countries around the world.

For an an overview of the CBT read one of the following:

CBT structure

The CBT is split into two parts: Part A covers numeracy and Part B covers clinical questions for nursing or midwifery.

CBT part Timing Number of questions
Part A: Numeracy 30 minutes 15
Part B: Clinical 2 hours and 30 minutes 100


The fee for sitting both parts of the CBT is £83. If you need to resit the CBT, the following fees will apply:

  • Resit Part A and Part B: £83
  • Resit Part A only: £50
  • Resit Part B only: £70

Booking your CBT

Once we’ve confirmed that you need to take the Test of Competence, Pearson Vue will send you an email confirming that your account has been created and a temporary password to log in.

If you choose to take the Test of Competence for return to practice, you need to first book the Test of Competence in your NMC Online account.

After your Pearson Vue account has been created

Once you get a confirmation email from Pearson Vue that your account has been created, you can log in, book and pay for your exam.

When you log into your Pearson Vue account:

  • click on the ‘view exams’ button
  • select the correct exam that matches your application type
  • select both modules (Part A and Part B) for your first attempt.

You will be shown the individual prices for each module at first, however you will be charged a final fee of £83 at checkout when you book both modules.

Selecting the right exam and modules

Make sure that you carefully choose the right exam for your application type. If your CBT does not match your application type, your CBT won’t be accepted as part of your registration application and you will need to retake and pay for the correct CBT.

The exam codes that match each application type are:

  • Adult nurse – RNA
  • Mental health nurse - RNMH
  • Learning disabilities nurse - RNLD
  • Children’s nurse - RNC
  • Midwife - RM

For example, if you’re applying to the adult nursing part of our register you should select:

  • Exam: RNA: Adult nurse
  • Module 1: RNA: Adult nurse - Part A: Numeracy only
  • Module 2: RNA: Adult nurse - Part B: Clinical only

Preparing for your CBT

Reading materials

We suggest you read the following to prepare for your CBT:

For all other preparation materials: Test of Competence: preparation materials

Practice tests

You can find CBT practice tests on Pearson VUE's website. They are accessible to all and do not need to be booked.

Taking these practice tests will help you check your understanding and readiness for the CBT and learn more about the question format, style and level of difficulty.

What to expect on the day

The information booklets above explain what you can expect throughout the entire CBT process.

It also tells you what will happen on the day, as well as the rules for taking your CBT.

Verifying your identity

You will need to show the test centre your valid passport so that they can verify your identity. This must be the same passport that you provided earlier in your NMC Online account.

I need to update my passport

If you get a new passport in the meantime, please contact us and we'll update this information within seven working days.

If your CBT is in less than seven working days, please call us on 020 7333 6600.

Getting your result

Once the test is completed, your result is then submitted and calculated.

You will receive a pass or fail result for each part of the test: Part A (Numeracy) and Part B (Clinical).

You can check your CBT results in:

  • the exam report given to you directly after your CBT
  • your Pearson Vue account within 48 hours of your CBT - click on relevant exam entry in the ‘Exam history’ section to see a further break down of results for Part A and B.

Your NMC Online account will update within 48 hours of your CBT too, but it will only show an overall exam result for each attempt:

  • For example, if you have passed Part A but failed Part B on your first attempt, the overall CBT result in NMC Online will show ‘Fail’
  • Once you pass both Part A and B, your NMC Online will be updated to show ‘Pass’.

We cannot give you further feedback on your test results. This is to protect the integrity of the test and to make sure that any of your future attempts to sit the CBT are not aided.

Resitting the CBT

Part A and Part B of your CBT are taken together in a single sitting, but are passed or failed independently.

You only need to resit the part that you’ve failed.

Each sitting counts as an attempt. You have three attempts as part of one application, with a minimum of 10 days between each sitting. These attempts all need to be taken within one year. After this period, you will need to resit both modules again.

After three failed attempts, your application will close and you will need to wait six months to submit a new application and sit the CBT again.

Questions about your CBT

If you have a query about your CBT booking or exam results, please contact Pearson VUE.