Since October 2014, nurses and midwives trained outside the European Economic Area who are seeking UK registration must pass the NMC test of competence. The test of competence consists of two parts.
Part 1 is a computer-based test (CBT). The CBT is multiple choice and can be taken at a Pearson VUE test centre available in most countries around the world.
Part 2 is a nursing or midwifery objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) – a practical nursing or midwifery examination. The OSCE can only be sat after successfully passing the CBT and is only available in the UK at a designated test centre.
In this post, we answer everything you need to know about the CBT Exam.
We will provide details about the OSCE in a separate blog post.
What will the CBT exam test you on?
The CBT is made up of 120 multiple choice questions to test your ability and knowledge to practice nursing safely in the UK.
50 questions will relate to generic nursing competencies found in each domain of nursing.
50 questions will be the application of generic nursing competencies to the specific field of nursing being applied for, for example, adult, child, learning disability or mental health nursing.
20 questions will focus solely on the specific competencies required for the field of nursing being applied for.
Your exam will test you on the following areas:
- Professional values
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Nursing practice and decision making
- Leadership, management & teamwork
How do you apply for the CBT exam?
Nurses seeking registration in the UK should ensure they have read and understand the requirements for registering as a nurse in the UK before starting the application process. Once the NMC has told you that you need to take the test of competence, you can book your CBT with Pearson VUE.
Where can you take the CBT exam?
The CBT can be taken at a Pearson VUE test centres in most countries around the world.
How much time do you have to complete the CBT exam?
The questions on the CBT exam must be completed in a maximum of four hours.
Our advice when you answer questions on the CBT Exam
- Spend less than 2 minutes on each question to ensure you get through the exam
- Select the answer you feel is “most correct” if multiple answers seem to work
- If you are unsure of an answer, leave it and return back to it at the end when you have more time to focus on it.
- Make sure your answers are based on UK practices rather than practices from your home country.
When will you receive your CBT exam results?
48 hours after taking the exam, you will receive an email from the NMC that will notify you whether you passed or failed the exam. You can also obtain your results by logging in to your Pearson Vue account which you created when you booked your exam.
What happens if you fail your CBT exam?
The NMC will allow you to take the CBT exam a maximum of three times as part of your registration application. However, you’ll need to wait at least 10 days between each exam sitting.
If you are unsuccessful after your permitted attempts, your application will close. You’ll be required to submit a new application and will not be able to sit the CBT again for a minimum of six months.
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