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
  • OET + CBT

English requirements both for Immigration and NMC

STEP 1- Immigration

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

  • Passing an approved English language test – see here.
  • Having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD. For more information see here.
  • Have a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD taught in the UK

See guidance for immigration here.


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, for more information see here.
  • Occupational English Test (OET) – score of B across all sections, for more information see here.

See this guidance for NMC requirements.

STEP 3 – NMC – Test of Competence part 1 (CBT)

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 NMC registration requirements.

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 here for more information. You can also view our CBT study guide here.

Once in the UK

Once you have passed your CBT we can start the visa application and arrange a start date with you. When you arrive
in the UK you will be required to book the second part of your assessment. This is a practical examination called an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination). This will act out scenarios which nurses are likely to encounter when they assess, plan, carry out and evaluate care.

You can take the OSCE in the following places (speak to us about booking on to a course):

  • Oxford Brookes University. Note, this University has two locations for the test, Oxford and Swindon. You will not know which location until the test is booked, as it is based on availability. You can find out more information on their website here.
  • University of Northampton. You can find out more information here.
  • Ulster University. You can find out more information here.

OSCE Training

Delivered over a 4 day programme and based on the criteria set by the NMC, our course syllabus at Yeovil Hospital, equips candidates with the practical and theoretical knowledge to pass the OSCE.

Led by experienced practitioners 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.

Sign up for a place here.

If you would like to find out more we can also provide accommodation for our training, please contact:

Telephone: 01935 303095
Email: osce@ydh.nhs.uk

Suggested reading

We suggest you read the following:


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


For costs associated with your application view here.

Additional benefits

We can offer up to £1000 to help towards your relocation and we can also offer you a loan towards your OSCE. Contact us for more details: osce@ydh.nhs.uk