Changes to the NMC CBT Test

Nurses and midwives who have received their primary training outside the European Economic Area, and wish to obtain UK registration are required to pass the test of competence set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). This test consists of two parts and assesses the basic professional knowledge, skills and attitudes that are necessary for safe and effective nursing or midwifery practice in the UK.

The first part is a computer based test (CBT). This test is multiple choice and can be taken online at a Pearson VUE test centre in most countries around the world. The test of competence tests your knowledge and understanding across all areas of nursing or midwifery care.

The second part is a nursing or midwifery objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) – which tests your practical skills. The OSCE can only be undertaken after successfully passing the CBT. It is only available in the UK at a designated test centre and cannot be taken overseas.

In response to the current ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the NMC has published new standards for nurses and standards for midwives. There are also some changes to the CBT test of competence, which are outlined below.

The format of the new CBT test of competence is different.

The computer-based test (CBT) will be split into two, and you must obtain passing scores in each.

  • Part A: Numeracy –15 marks in 30 minutes
  • Part B: Theory – 100 marks in 2.5 hours.
CBT overview

Part A – Numeracy

This is an applied numeracy test, that is set in the nursing/midwifery context.

There are 15 questions of one mark each, to be completed in 30 minutes.

The answers are one of four multiple-choice options. You may use a calculator if desired.

Part B – Theory

This test covers the full range of Standards and all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. It comprises 100 questions of one mark each, to be completed in 2.5 hours.

All nursing tests are based on 90% generic and 10% field-specific questions.

Results: Your result will be either a pass or a fail. The result is valid for a period of 2 years. In case you do not pass at the first attempt, you are allowed to take a maximum of three CBT attempts as part of the same application. However, you will need to wait at least 10 days between each attempt.

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