Nursing update

Please note candidates should follow best practice guidelines in relation to sharps safety. NHS England » Chapter 1: Standard infection control precautions (SICPs) & Sharps safety| Royal College of Nursing ( This includes avoiding the use of re-sheathing or scooping techniques when disposing of needles and syringes. All test centres are equipped with sharps boxes which should be utilised to dispose of sharps. 


OSCE Viva Information

OSCE Viva Go Live Statement

Following feedback from candidates and employers, we continue to explore opportunities to strengthen and improve the candidate experience when sitting the Test of Competence.

The NMC carried out the Viva pilot from May to June 2023 across all five test centres. The Viva provided candidates with an opportunity to address an error they made in the OSCE assessment, and if successfully addressed, gave the opportunity to rectify the error in the marking of that station.

During the pilot period, around 100 candidates were provided with a Viva delivered across a range of different stations, demonstrating its agility to be applied effectively as designed across the OSCE.

Due to the success of the Viva, test centres will be rolling this out from Monday 23 October 2023. The Viva will be available to candidates across all fields of nursing, and midwifery, and those applying to join our register as a nursing associate. It will be applied to one station initially, will not be applied to written stations, and will only be available to candidates sitting their first attempt at the test.

The Viva does not change the level of preparation candidates need to undertake for the test and there are no plans currently to make changes to the published marking criteria. The Viva will not require new or additional learning and will not apply to those candidates that make errors in the test which constitute serious patient safety concerns.

Thank you to all test centres for their hard work initiating the Viva and their dedication preparing their teams ahead of going live with these changes.

Additional information on the Viva - November 2023

A Viva is an opportunity that allows candidates who are performing well to verbally rectify an omission at the end of the station. It is used where a candidate fails to demonstrate their knowledge of one item of the mark scheme and will only be applied during a first attempt examination. It is not currently applied for re-sit exams.

A Viva can only be applied once per OSCE exam. It cannot be applied to silent written stations, or to rectify poor technique in a practical skill station. It can be applied by the examiner only when the timer reaches zero and if the examiner recognises an omission within the station time. The Viva involves a question being asked by an examiner, and the candidate will have an opportunity to provide a verbal rectification e.g., that s/he omitted to add a signature to a record. As part of the Viva, candidates are not allowed to amend any records already made and are not permitted to demonstrate clinical skills.

How will a candidate know if a Viva has been applied? The examiner will ask a question at the end of the station and the candidate will have an opportunity to provide a verbal rectification. Candidates cannot request a Viva; it is applied automatically by the assessor following the process outlined above.

On what circumstances would a Viva not be applied? It cannot be applied if a candidate does not demonstrate safety or competence in the station. It will be offered at the first opportunity regardless of if a candidate has failed any stations previously.

If a candidate correctly rectifies their omission, the examiner will mark the station as a pass. However, if a candidate does not provide the correct rectification, then they will receive further information in the personalised feedback they receive. The results of the Viva are moderated alongside the OSCE.

Can I make an appeal if my examiner did not apply a Viva?  The Viva does not impact on the appeal’s process for candidates.


Part two of the Test of Competence is a practical exam known as the OSCE. In this part you'll be tested on your clinical and communication skills.

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.

There are five approved OSCE test providers:

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

OSCE structure

The OSCE has 10 stations:

  • Four stations are linked together around a scenario: the APIE (one station for assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation)
  • Four stations to test skills (two pairs of two skills)
  • Two stations to assess the candidate's values and behaviours and evidence-based practice.

Test maintenance and upcoming changes

We work closely with our test development partner to regularly review and refresh test content for the Test of Competence. This is to:

• ensure it is reflective of clinical practice,
• retire stations that have been in circulation for some time,
• introduce new skills that candidates may face in clinical practice.

 There won’t be any changes to the number of stations candidates will be asked to sit, but they may be presented with a different clinical scenario or skill which other candidates may not have experienced.   

Candidates who are ready to practise in the UK and meet the standards set out in the NMC Code should be confident of passing these stations and we plan to share our timetable for future test updates on this page.


The fee for the OSCE is £794. The reduced resit fee is £397 if you need to resit 7 or fewer stations.

Booking your OSCE

Applying for initial registration

Once we've confirmed that you need to take the Test of Competence, you can book and pay for your OSCE with one of our test providers.

Applying for readmission

You can book your Test of Competence in your NMC Online account.

We’ll then send you an email with details of how to book and pay for your OSCE with one of our test providers.

Preparing for your OSCE

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

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

What to expect on the day

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

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

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 application.

Someone at the test centre will also take your photograph for your ID that you need to wear while you're there.

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

Getting your result

The test centres will email your results to you within 5 working days of the date of your OSCE. 

If you pass your OSCE, you’ll get an email with details of what to do next.

If you fail your OSCE, you’ll get an email with feedback on which stations and elements you were unsuccessful in. This information will help you prepare for your resit attempt as you only need to resit the stations you did not pass.

If your NMC Online account shows you were unsuccessful but you haven’t received your feedback, please contact your test centre. We cannot provide the feedback to you.

Resitting the OSCE

You can take the OSCE a maximum of three times as part of your application, but you need to wait at least 10 days between each sitting.

If you do not pass your OSCE on your third attempt, your application will close and you’ll need to start a new application if you want to register with us. You must wait at least six months before you sit the OSCE again and retake the 10 stations.


You may be able to appeal if you believe that the process was compromised during the exam or an irregularity occurred in the conduct of the examination.

For more information about the appeals process, please read the OSCE information booklets.

Questions about your OSCE

If you have a query about your OSCE booking or exam results, please contact your test centre.

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