Our return to practice standards set out the options if you don’t have enough practice hours to readmit to the register.

One of the options is the Test of Competence. The other is a return to practice course.

About the Test of Competence

The Test of Competence is made up of two parts:

  • a multiple-choice computer based theoretical test known as the CBT
  • a practical test known as the OSCE

There's a different test for each part of the register for nursing, midwifery and nursing associates. For nursing, there's a different test for each field.

Choosing the right test

If you're readmitting as a nurse, you can take a test that’s relevant to the field that you’ll be practising in, regardless of your initial registration.

Your entry in the register will still show the field from your initial registration if you take a test in a different field of nursing.

There's no Test of Competence available for a SCPHN registration so you’ll need to do a return to practice course instead.

Taking the Test of Competence

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

We’ll then send you an email with details of how to book your CBT and OSCE.

Find out more about taking the Test of Competence.

Completing your readmission application

Once you’ve successfully completed both parts of your Test of Competence, we’ll send you an email inviting you to complete your application for readmission.

You’ll then need to show how you meet all of our other readmission requirements.

One of these requirements is to tell us the name and email of a NMC registrant who can provide a supporting declaration of your health and character. This referee should:

  • be from the same part of the register as you are applying to join (for example, if you’re applying to readmit as a nurse, your referee must also be a registered nurse),
  • have known you for the last year, and
  • have been in contact in the last six months. 

If you cannot meet this requirement, we will not be able to process your application.

Your result is valid for five years

Your Test of Competence pass remains valid for up to five years. This means that you can use your test result to join or readmit to the register up to five years after you have passed.