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Since October 2014, nurses and midwives trained outside the European Economic Area who are seeking UK registration must pass the NMC test of competence. This test consists of two parts and measures applicants against current pre-registration education standards. It assesses the essential professional knowledge, skills and attitudes required for safe and effective nursing or midwifery practice in the UK. Nursing in the UK is made up of separate and distinct fields of practice, each requiring three years of pre-registration undergraduate education.

The distinct nursing fields of practice are:

  • Adult nursing
  • Children’s nursing
  • Learning disabilities nursing
  • Mental health nursing

In the UK, midwifery is a separate and distinct profession, requiring three years of pre-registration undergraduate education.

Overview of the test of competence

It is a computer based test (CBT). The NMC CBT is a multiple choice test and can be taken at a Pearson VUE test centre available in most countries around the world. Candidates will be given a short tutorial on how to use the computer before starting the examination.

The CBT comprises of 120 multiple-choice questions. All questions are scored as correct or incorrect and there is no partial credit. A small number of questions will not be scored as they are pre-test questions, these questions will not be indicated to candidates.
A proportion of questions will be critical and relate to patient and public safety. Critical questions must be passed. The time limit for direct testing is four hours and this includes any breaks from testing, which are optional.We provide free NMC CBT sample questions and study material.