Registering as a Nurse in the UK


The NMC have announced the acceptance of an alternative English language test to IELTS being, Occupational English Test (OET). This alternative exam (in four sections) is entirely relevant to ‘nursing’, however please be aware that OET is not accepted for Immigration. You can find more details below.

To be sponsored to work in the UK you need to achieve either:

  • IELTS score of 7 for reading, listening and speaking and 6.5 in writing + CBT
  • IELTS score of 4 across all sections + OET + CBT. 

Further information on english language tests can be found here

English requirements both for Immigration (If required) and NMC


STEP 1- Immigration (if required)

You can prove your knowledge of English for immigration by either:


You can meet the NMC English level requirements by either passing:

  • English Language Test System (IELTS) – score of 7 in reading, listening and speaking and 6.5 in writing (this will also meet the Immigration requirements).
  • Occupational English Test (OET) – score of B across all sections (this cannot be used for immigration). Click here to learn about the OET test.

See the guidance for MC requirements here.

STEP 3 – NMC – Test of Competence part 1 (CBT) – For International Nurses Only

When your English requirements have been met, next you register with the NMC and complete an eligibility assessment which is a self-assessment declaring that you meet all the requirements to join the NMC register.

  • Once you have passed the eligibility assessment you will be able to sit your CBT
  • When you have passed your CBT we can then sponsor you to work in the UK.

See the NMC registration requirements here .

Computer Based Test

Once the eligibility assessment is passed, you will be asked to sit the first part of the test of competence. This will be a computer-based test (CBT) of theoretical practice based knowledge. The test format will be multiple choice and can be taken in test centres around the world. Applicants will need to contact Pearson Vue, the test provider, to book and pay for their test. View Click here for more information about the computer based test

OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination)

Once you have passed your CBT and you are in the UK you will then be ready to take your second part of the assessment. This is a practical examination called an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) which will act out scenarios which nurses are likely to encounter when they assess, plan, carry out and evaluate care.

Please see below a list of OSCE test centres:

OSCE Training

Delivered here at the Royal Surrey by experienced practitioners the 5 week programme based on the criteria set by the NMC, equips candidates with the practical and theoretical knowledge to pass the OSCE.

The programme covers all core elements set out in part 2 of the NMC test of competence:

  • Assessment, Implementation, Planning & Evaluation (AIPE)
  • Skills stations
  • Communication
  • Medicine management
  • Basic life support
  • Wound care. 

The course also features a mock assessment to ensure candidates have the opportunity to practice their skills under exam conditions in preparation for their final exam.

We will support you as much as we can through this process and strongly recommend you visit the NMC website for further information.