New NMC CBT test effective from 2 Aug 2021

NMC CBT test and updates

NMC has been working on developing the New NMC CBT Test, which got delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will now be introduced on 2nd August 2021. This test is meant for the nurses and midwives who have been trained outside the European Economic Area and want to get registered in the UK.

The body is committed to ensuring the highest standards of care to train professionals from overseas and those who intend to rejoin after having been away from practice for some time. Despite their training, location, or how long they have stopped practicing, the new Test of Competence will ensure that everyone meets the standards for delivering care in the UK. We will see more on this in the next section.

The Pattern of New NMC Computer Based Test (CBT)

The new test standards have been developed for nurses and midwives in partnership with AlphaPlus. Candidates can take the Test of Competence (ToC) under the following conditions:

i. Those who had applied for the overseas registration route need to take the ToC after 2nd August 2021.

ii. You are eligible if you haven’t taken the Computer Based Test (CBT) or Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) test before 2nd August 2021 even after starting your application,

iii. You will get up to 12 months to complete the current ToC if you have already appeared for CBT or OSCE before 2nd August 2021 as there would be no available appointments after 12 months.

test pattern

Structure Of CBT Or Computer-based Test:

Computer Based Test or CBT includes two parts, as follows:

i. Part A: This is the numeracy section that has 15 questions, each carrying 1 mark. Some answers are just one number, and some may need units. The duration allowed for this is 30 minutes. A calculator might be needed. The context of the questions is related to nursing, midwifery, or nursing associate.

ii. Part B: This is the theoretical section involving questions on nursing and midwifery and has 100 questions, each carrying 1 mark. These are 90% generic and 10% field-specific questions. The time allowed for this part is 2.5 hrs. The candidate needs to select one of the 4 multiple-choice options provided in each question. It covers a complete range of standards and all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.

Fees for CBT: The fees are £83 for both parts A and B. For reappearing both parts, the fees are the same. Those who want to resit just part A will have to pay £50, whereas reappearing for just part B will cost £70.

Booking For The Current And New Computer-based Test:

Bookings for the current CBT will close on July 19. With a CBT authorization, those who want to attend the current CBT on or prior to 1 August can book it with Pearson VUE on 18th July.

The ToC team needs to be contacted if you are eligible to take the current CBT even when bookings close on 18th July. Only the appointments for new CBT can be made via Pearson Vue after 19th July. The necessary arrangements can be made by contacting the ToC team at [email protected].

If the CBT is going to expire for those who began the application through the old overseas process before October 2019, they will need to contact [email protected]. This will help them get authorization to resit the current CBT if they have an OSCE decision letter. The Pearson VUE account should not be used for rebooking the CBT.

Pearson VUE won’t send the Authorisation to Test (ATT) email to those who are eligible for the ToC from 16th July 2021. New applicants will get an email that asks them to log into the Pearson VUE to book the CBT.

CBT Booking Process:

i. Choose part A and part B while booking your first CBT because the system won’t let you proceed in the other case.

ii. In case a resitting is needed, select the right modules while booking the next attempt. Make sure to choose all the parts in which you have failed.

iii. Since each sitting is considered one attempt, every application allows for 3 attempts to sit the test again.

Selection Of Correct CBT:

i. Candidates don’t get an ATT email from Pearson VUE. Instead, they receive a notification email regarding the creation of an account with a temporary password.

ii. On logging in, there will be a ‘view exams’ option instead of ‘pre-approved exam’. Here, you need to choose the correct CBT exam concerning your type of application.

Checking The Results of CBT:

There are two ways of doing this:

i. Check the report provided after the exam.

ii. Go to the Pearson VUE account and check the exam history. Choose the relevant exam to check the results breakdown for part A and part B

You can find the overall exam result for each attempt in NMC online as below:

i. The overall CBT result will be ‘fail’ for those who passed in Part A but not in part B.

ii. The above status will be updated as ‘pass’ on clearing both parts A and B.

Transitional arrangements:

Here are the reasons why transitional arrangements will be needed:

i. Transitional arrangements form major changes for candidates as well as employers.

ii. This ensures fairness of the process for those who are undergoing the registration.

iii. It allows time for the employers and candidates to prepare for the applicable test.

iv. An end date for the transition period is set to ensure that all the candidates appearing on the ToC exam will undergo testing against a set of standards.

Alterations in transitional arrangements on the launch of new ToC:

  • Candidates for whom the transitional arrangements are applicable:

i. Those applying for registration through an overseas registration route, i.e., those who need to attend the ToC test.

ii. UK-based candidates who opt for ToC for returning to practice.

  • Those who began the application in the August 2021 go-live date will need to take the future ToC.

  • For the candidates who began application before August 2021:

i. Those who never attempted CBT and OSCE before August can take the future ToC.

ii. Candidates who already attempted for CBT and (or) OSCE before August 2021 need to complete the current ToC until August 2022 or earlier, based on when they passed a portion of the ToC.

Basis of transitional arrangements

Transitional arrangements are based on the following:

I If a candidate has appeared for a part of ToC before the go-live date in August 2021.

ii. Candidate’s eligibility date is not linked to it. Neither is the date on which the booking for sitting in CBT or OSCE was made.

Exceptions to transitional arrangements

Transitional arrangements won’t be applicable for the following candidates:

i. Those who intend to join as NA (Nursing associate)

ii. Candidates making NA applications can attend the current NA ToC even after the August 2021 go-live date.

Rules for candidates coming under the transitional group

i. There is no change in eligibility date.

ii. There has to be no more than a 2-year gap between passing CBT and OSCE.

iii. There will be 3 attempts for each exam with a gap of 10 days between consecutive attempts.

iv. Mingling of current and future ToC is not allowed.

v. On completion of the transition period, those who weren’t successful in completing the current ToC can attempt the new ToC. While booking the ToC, they are responsible for ensuring that the right one is selected, i.e., current or future.

clinical examination

OSCE or Objective Structured Clinical Examination

Exam structure:

As per the new exam pattern, there are 10 stations in the new OSCE, each of which will be assessed against the relevant criteria list. The additional skills of the candidates will be gauged through this, such as their values, behaviors, and evidence-based practice.

This includes:

i. Four stations linked around a scenario; APIE, i.e., assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

ii. Four stations related to testing skills.

iii. Two stations to assess the value and behavior of the candidate and evidence-based practice.

Fees: The fee for OSCE is £794. For reappearing 7 or fewer stations, the fee is £397.


The new Test of Competence aims to widen the efforts for better safety and efficient care by nursing and midwifery professionals. This reflects the revamped standards, which will make people more confident about the care that they will be getting. The tests have been designed in close association with employers, partners, and recruitment agencies to ensure that people with the right skillset are quickly registered for the right categories and support the people in need of their services.

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