UK NMC Part 1 test of competence (CBT)

CBT – Computer Based Test is the part 1 test of competence for the nurses and midwives trained outside the European Union (EU)/ European Economic Area (EEA) to get the UK NMC registration. Since October 2014, Overseas Nurses and Midwives seeking UK registration must pass the NMC test of competences.

Cost for part 1 test of competence (CBT) is £90. The test of competence requires nurses to complete an online application process. Soon after the completion of NMC initial registration, Nurses can book a test date for CBT exam. Applicant can attend the CBT at a Pearson VUE test center available in most countries around the world.

NMC CBT is based on theoretical practice knowledge and is a multiple choice test. CBT is based on the current UK 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. It also includes the Code: Standards of conduct, performance, and ethics for nurses and midwives.

Nursing in the UK is divided as follows and the candidates have to attend the CBT of their professional field of practice in which he or she is seeking UK registration.

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

NMC CBT test consist of 120 questions and time duration is 4 hours.

  •                  50 questions will be on generic nursing of respective nursing field
  •                  50 questions will be on application of generic nursing specific to the field applied for.
  •                  20 questions will focus on the specific competencies required for the applied field of nursing.

There are 20 critical questions which focus on the patient or public safety within this 120 questions.

The result, a candidate passes or fails the CBT is determined by both critical questions and an overall pass mark;

  •                   A candidate must answer 90 percent of critical questions correctly.
  •                   The overall pass score is set as 60 percent.

This is the benchmark for nurses and midwives for the entry to the UK register.

According to the NMC CBT structure, candidates can spend 2 minutes on each question. Always select the answer that is the ‘most’ correct from the given options. Candidates can review the answers and can change them later on. A short tutorial will be provided before starting the examination on how to use the computer.

Important: The CBT does not use negative scoring if a question is not answered.

The applicants will receive only a Pass or Fail result. Examination results will be emailed to candidates within 48 business hours after taking the examination or get the result by logging in to their Pearson VUE account which is created while booking the exam.

If the candidate fails the first CBT attempt,

Candidates can resit the examination for second attempt after 28 days of the first attempt. Initially NMC allows 2 attempts for the CBT. The nurse must receive authorization (ATT) to take the test from NMC before one can book and pay for their exam with Pearson VUE. Further attempts will be allowed after a period of 6 months to ensure adequate preparation and revision time.

CBT is valid for 2 years. Overseas nurses must complete the entire application process of UK NMC registration within 2 years of passing the CBT. Else the applicant has to re-sit the CBT and begin a new application with NMC.

Candidate information booklet for the NMC test of competence – The Computer Based Test (CBT)