We use the Test of Competence (ToC) to assess the skills and knowledge of people wanting to join our register from overseas or rejoin our register after a long period away from practice.

Since 2019, we've been working in partnership with AlphaPlus to develop a new test that reflects our new standards for nurses and standards for midwives.

This guide has details of the new test and supporting resources to help candidates, recruiters and employers prepare.

When is the new test launching?

We'll start testing candidates with the new test from August 2021.

We had planned to launch the test in summer 2020, but changed this to April 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The current wave of the pandemic continues to cause increasing pressure on health and care services and those working on the front line.

We believe that introducing a new test in April is likely to add more pressure to candidates, employers and recruiters, so we've decided to move this to August instead.

How the test will be changing

The computer-based test (CBT) will be split into two parts - Part A will cover numeracy and Part B will cover nursing or midwifery theory.

The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) will have 10 stations:

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

New OSCE marking criteria - each station will be assessed against an updated list of relevant criteria.

Updated test content - we've worked with clinical partners to review the existing bank of examination materials and develop new material.

Improved candidate support - we're improving the range and quality of preparation materials for candidates and those who support them.

Transitioning to the new test

Candidates will take the new test once it's launched, unless they applied for registration before August 2021 and have already taken either the CBT or OSCE.

We're currently finalising the full transitional arrangements and we'll share the full details of our plans soon, giving everyone time to prepare for the changes.

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