For overseas qualified nurses who want to register with the NMC in the UK
From the 1st of November 2017, The NMC will accept the Occupational English Test (OET) as proof of English language competence.
Alternatively, nurses and midwives who qualified outside EU/EEA could demonstrate English language capability if they have:
For more information see:
Overseas qualified nurses who want to register as a nurse in the UK are required to provide evidence of English language competence.
The NMC requires overseas qualified nurses to obtain a score of 7.0 or more on each of the modules: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
There are resources and sample tests available on the ielts.org website. See Preparing for your IELTS test.
The British Council's website offers a wide range of IELTS resources. See Prepare for your test for more details. Examples of resources include:
In order to obtain a band 7 score, you will need to understand how the scoring system works, and what the examiners are looking for when they mark your test.
The assessment criteria or 'band descriptors' are public and available to view here. They include:
Your local university may offer IELTS preparation courses. These can differ in cost and length depending on your specific needs.
You can also improve your English through English language courses that are available at local colleges and training providers.
To check how reputable a provider is, research who is delivering the course and any links with other recognised education providers. Many of these can be offered on a part time basis.
If you are employed, it’s worth approaching your employer to see if they can offer any support or assistance.
Have a look to see if your employer has any study policies, development policies or can offer funding.
Private tutors range from £15 - £45 per hour and can coach you either one on one, or in a group. Some tutors offer tuition via skype or facetime.
If you are going to hire a private tutor, consider the following:
You can find IELTS preparation books and eBooks using our Library subject guide. RCN members can borrow books and access eBooks online.
Reading through nursing journals, books and newspapers will help develop your English and understanding of nursing issues. RCN members can also access a range of journals for free through the RCN library.
2.) An Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)If you trained in the EU or EEA, you would only have to complete the OSCE if you failed to meet certain standards or requirements during your application. See the NMC's information Trained in the EU or EEA for more details.
Part 1 is a computer based test, based of 120 multiple-choice questions. You will need to take this test under formal exam conditions in a Pearson VUE test centre. See the www.pearsonvue.com/nmc/ website for more details.
You can also read more about this exam in the NMC's guide, Candidate information booklet for the NMC Test of Competence, Part 1: Pearson VUE.
Part 2 of the test is called the OSCE, which will act out scenarios which nurses and midwives would be likely to come across when they assess, plan, carry out and evaluate care. You must sit the OSCE exam at one of three test centres in the UK. These are:
The University of Northampton's website has some useful information and resources to help you understand and prepare for your OSCE:
Oxford Brookes University's website also has some useful information and resources about OSCE:
You can find OSCE preparation books and eBooks using our Library subject guide. RCN members can borrow books and access eBooks online.
The NHS Employers website also has information about OSCE, including general information, top tips for OSCE preparation and useful links.