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 August 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

How is the test changing?

Computer-based test (CBT)

We're splitting the CBT into two parts. Part A will cover numeracy and Part B will cover nursing or midwifery theory.

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

Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)

The 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.

Each station will be assessed against an updated list of relevant criteria.

Preparation materials

We've worked with clinical partners to review and develop new examination materials.

We're also improving the range and quality of preparation materials for candidates and those who support them.

See our Test of Competence 2021 resources page for links to preparation materials, including practice tests and resource lists.

Transitioning to the new test

After the new ToC goes live in August 2021, anybody who applies through our overseas registration route from that date will take the new test. This also applies to candidates based in the UK who choose to do the ToC as part of their return to practice.

Candidates who have begun their application, but not yet taken either the CBT or the OSCE before August, will also take the new test.

Candidates who have attempted to take the CBT or the OSCE before August will have a 12 month transition window to complete the current ToC. After 12 months, they will need take the new test.

Upcoming webinars

We're running two free webinars to help people prepare for the new test.

Webinar Date and time Register
ToC 21 support materials Thursday 27 May 2021
10:00 – 11:00
Register to attend
ToC 21 transition information Tuesday 15 June 2021
10:00 – 11:00
Register to attend

See our Test of Competence 2021 resources page for recordings of previous webinars.

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