Frequently Asked Questions

We have put together the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Northumbria University's Test of Competence examination processes and policies together with information about the Test of Competence.

The Test of Competence is designed to assess your ability to competently apply your professional nursing or midwifery knowledge and skills in the UK. The level expected is that of a nurse or midwife as they enter the profession at the point of registration. 

This means that you must show that you are capable of applying knowledge to the care of service users at the level expected of a newly registered nurse or midwife. 

The examination is testing your ability to apply knowledge to the care of service users rather than how well you can remember and recite facts. 

All scenarios and associated questions relate to current best practice, and you should answer them in relation to published evidence and not according to local arrangements. 

We recommend at least 14 days preparation time from booking to test date to sufficiently prepare yourself. 

All information is available to you online once you have booked and paid for your test. 

You can register for the Test of Competence stage of the overseas registration process once you have received confirmation from the NMC that you are eligible to sit the Test of Competence. The NMC will confirm with us your eligibility to take the Test of Competence. 

We are only able to book tests for candidates that have received either a decision letter or Test of Competence Invitation Letter from NMC. 

The Northumbria NMC Competence Test Centre is currently open five days per week (Monday to Friday) at our Coach Lane Campus. Dates are available throughout the year. Please contact our Centre for availability  

Our staff are committed to ensuring impartiality and equality of opportunity in the delivery of our services. Our premises are wheelchair accessible, and the Competence Test Centre will also act on  NMC guidance regarding this. Special adjustments are made for candidates with disabilities, or for those registered as dyslexic or with other additional needs. Candidates are asked to declare their needs for reasonable adjustments when booking their Test of Competence, for which they will be required to produce supporting evidence. The academic lead/manager will seek advice on the reasonable adjustments possible for the candidate. Simple changes such as lowering beds, accommodating the need to sit or stand, or the increased need for toilet breaks during pregnancy can easily be arranged when the Competence Test Centre is notified in advance.

Candidates who need to access medical devices during the Test of Competence can be accommodated with advance notification prior to booking. The Competence Test Centre will not allow the required level of competence to be reduced because of a disability. The standard or competence itself is not subject to a reasonable adjustment.

The request for reasonable adjustments must be made before the date of the Test of Competence examination, by contacting the Competence Test Centre. Candidates with additional needs must declare them via the reasonable adjustments form that will be emailed to candidates once the competence test centre has been notified by the candidate and a booking made. Reasonable adjustments are offered within the scope of the Equality Act 2010.

A reasonable adjustment will allow for a candidate to evidence during their assessment nursing care that:

  • remains effective and does not result in altered patient care
  • is accepted within professional nursing practices
  • enables the candidate to demonstrate competence
  • will not place the candidate or patient at risk of harm by injury or illness

You can book the Test of Competence by contacting us to arrange a date. Once your slot is reserved, we will email you a link to make payment, which will be required at the point of booking.  

Upon receipt of payment, you will be sent a confirmation email. This confirmation email will give you access to all our online resources and further information about the test of Competence.  

When you arrive at the Test Centre, as part of the registration process, the NMC Identification Officers will carry out an identification check.  It is essential that you bring with you your identification documents including:  

  •  Passport 
  •  Original Qualification/Degree certificate 
  •  Original Registration Card/Certificate (if applicable) 
  •  Original Police Clearance Checks for any country that you have resided in within the past 10 years 
  •  Certified English Translations for any documents which are in a different language 
  •  UK DBS if you have been in the UK for 3 months or longer when you submitted your application  
  •  Original name change document/Marriage Certificate (if you have had any name change) 


The only document that we, as the Test Centre, need to check for you to undertake your Test of Competence is your passport. Please make sure to bring this with you for every attempt.  

We encourage all candidates to bring the necessary documentation to their Test of Competence, but you will be able to arrange with the NMC if they need to check any outstanding documentation after your OSCE. 

For any queries about the ID documents please contact the NMC by emailing 

Please be aware that candidates should arrive at least 30-45 minutes prior to their exam as it allows for registration. Your booking confirmation email will list the time you should arrive by for registration.  

If for any reason you are going to be late for your Test of Competence examination, please let us know by calling 0191 300 2441 or emailing us at  

The Test of Competence examination costs £794. (Effective from 1st April 2019) 

The cost of a re-sit depends on how many stations a candidate needs to retake.  

A Test of Competence 2021 re-sit consisting of 1-7 stations costs £397 and a re-sit consisting of 8-10 stations costs £794.00. 

*Please allow ten days between original test date and re-sit to allow for additional preparation and action on feedback. 

Candidates can change or reschedule their exam date however it is important to note our Refunds, Cancellation and Substitution Policy for Part 2 of the NMC Test of Competence, and take into account those timescales. Should you wish to cancel or reschedule your exam please email 

For additional information on the Test of Competence you can download the 2021 Candidate Information Booklet: test-of-competence-2021-osce-information-booklet-for-nurses.pdf (   

Should you have further questions, please contact our team who will be happy to help. 

You can call the Centre on 0191 3002441 or contact us via email at  

The Competence Test Centre at Northumbria University is open from Monday to Friday, with examinations taking place at 08:15am, 12.30pm and 4.30pm. Please note, the Test Centre is not open on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays).  

The Competence Test Centre will be closed on the following planned dates: 


    • Monday 1st January 2024 (Bank Holiday) 
    • Friday 29th March 2024 (Good Friday) 
    • Monday 1st April 2024 (Bank Holiday) 
    • Monday 6th May 2024 (Bank Holiday) 
    • Monday 27th May 2024 (Bank Holiday) 
    • Monday 26th August 2024 (Bank Holiday) 
    • Wednesday 25th December 2024 (Christmas Day) 
    • Thursday 26th December 2024 (Boxing Day) 
    • Friday 27th December 2024 (Institutional Day)