Meticulous guide on UK OSCE exam 2021 for Overseas Nurses and Midwives

for Nurses

An objective structured clinical examination was first done in 1970 to assess nurse’s and midwifery’s competence, skills, and knowledge. It is carried out in a well-planned, structured, and objective way. This test is designed to assess clinical skills and competence, including communication skills, procedure performing skills, radiographic positioning, exercise prescription, and much more. 

The full OSCE exam cost is OSCE is 794 pounds which are reduced from 992 pounds in April 2019. OSCE is not an independent test; it is part of ToC. 

There is a test for overseas nurses and midwifery to assess their skills and knowledge; this test is called the test of competence (ToC). Test of competence comprises of two parts:

  • Computer-bases multiple-choice test (CBT)
  • Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
  • What to expect in the OSCE exam?

    In an objective structured clinical examination student is provided with a circuit of stations. Each station is different and designed to assess a specific skill on a patient or, if essential, on a model. The total number of stations in the OSCE exam is between 8-10, and each station ends between 10-15 mins. The authority of this test is increased by sampling a wide range of different skills and having enough time to complete a station.

    OSCE is a test of good reliability which means it combines both straightforward and complex questions. Reliability may be reduced if the exam includes questions that don’t discriminate well between students. Marking is performed according to the pre-decided score sheet. Each station has its score sheet, which the examiner on each station marks. 

    Each station has its examiner or assessor. Each station has its camera and sound system installed. At the time of enrolment, students have to permit their video recording. The real test will be recorded in-camera for review purposes. The video is for examination and quality assurance purposes only and is used by University and NMC.

    General information about OSCE exam centres in the UK

    When a candidate arrives at the examination centre, all the documents are checked that are required to bring. Once all the documents are checked, the photograph of the candidate will be taken for identity purposes. In addition, a candidate also wears a photograph ID all the time in the OSCE exam centre UK. It is advised not to bring so much luggage because the centre doesn’t have storage areas. 

    OSCE exam centre UK also doesn’t have a waiting area for family and friends. Smoking is illegal in public closed areas in the UK, so students should not bring any smoking equipment. Once the students enter the examination hall, they can’t leave it until the OSCE exam is ended. As soon as the test is started, all the students have to follow the rules of the examination centre.

    Rules of OSCE examination centre

    At the competence test centre, candidates are provided by locker to place their personal items. OSCE exam centre faculty is not responsible for any loss. Some items are not allowed in the competence test centre, including 

    • Any educational material, including books, notes, registers, is not allowed. 
    • Electronic devices like mobile phones, computers, watches, personal digital assistants are not allowed in OSCE for nurses UK exams.
    • Any weapon 

    Once the test is started, candidates cannot assess their personal items except for medication and food. Suppose you suffer from a medical condition and need medical assistance during the exam in the OSCE examination centre. In that case, you should inform to centre staff during registration for the OSCE exam. 

    How is the OSCE paper marked?

    To mark the OSCE exam, there is a pre-formed checklist attached with each station. The binary rating system is followed to marks this checklist. There are two examiners in each station. One examiner is a patient of a candidate, and the other is leading the assessment. The point of view of both examiners is contributed towards final marks. 

    When the binary rating is complete, then the individual paper is marketed by the global rating scale. This scale allows checking the overall quality and performance of the candidate. The range of global rate scale is excellent/ good/ satisfactory/ borderline/ pass/ borderline fail or fail. The examiners are provided with specific training before the OSCE exam to have a good understanding of assessment and marking tools. 

    How to prepare for the OSCE exam?

    OSCE exam for nurses UK is designed to assess how well the nurses and midwifery can apply their knowledge in the practical area. This exam investigates the skills of nurses and how capable they are of applying their knowledge to the care of the patients. It is essential to prepare for the test before appearing in the examination hall. Preparation is important to give candidates confidence in performing skills in front of the examiner. The candidate should remember in mind the following things:

    • The candidate should be mentally prepared. 
    • Be familiar with the working principle of all equipment
    • Should know the marking criteria 
    • Rehearse skills 
    • Should k ow the timing of OSCE exam
    • Develop skills in clinical arrangement
    • Practice from all the available resources such as quizzes and videos
    • Exercise answering questions verbally 

    The purpose of the OSCE test is not to judge the candidate’s capacity to remember and recite facts; rather, it assesses the ability to apply the knowledge to take care of the patients. All the questions contained in the exam are scenario-based and should be answered concerning published evidence. Candidates should prepare for the OSCE exam from the supporting material available at competence test centre learning platforms. OSCE exam for nurses UK is taken in following centres:

    How to pass OSCE nursing UK?

    Here are some points that will help every candidate to pass the OSCE exam. 

    • Before going through the paper, revise all your skills in your mind. Make a script-type structure in your mind. It will help you to recall things when asked. 
    • The most important thing to remember is your introduction. When your test starts, don’t forget to give your introduction to the patient. Also, don’t forget to include why you are here and what skill you are going to perform.
    • After this, you have to explain the procedure to the patient and gain consent from him. Remember to wash your hands before touching the patient and any equipment.
    • Clearly understand the rationale behind the task you are going to perform and tell this to your assessor.
    • Involve the assessor in the whole procedure because it is important to explain everything verbally. If you silently perform the whole procedure, then your assessor might fail you in the exam.
    • Keep good control of your nervousness. In the examination centre, it is quite natural to get nervous, but a slight change in mindset can help you cope with this. Make your mind that you are treating your real-time patient, and it is not an examination hall, and that’s it. 
    • Make sure your dress is presentable. You will present yourself to the patient and examiner, so your dress should be clean, neat, and ironed. 

    OSCE pass rate

    The passing percentage for the OSCE exam for nurses UK is typically set as 50%. It means that candidate should achieve 50% marks to pass the OSCE exam. The OSCE pass rate in the year 2021 for all the centres of the OSCE exam is mentioned below:

    • At Oxford Brookes University, the average pass rate is 72% in the year 2021.
    • At the University of Northampton, the average pass rate is 76% in the year 2021.
    • In Ulster University, the average pass rate is 88% in the year 2021.

    Many factors influence the pass rate of the OSCE exam. The most important factor influencing the pass rate of the OSCE exam is the preparation of teat and good quality support. Depending on the employer and recruitment agency chosen by the candidate, the test preparation and support differ greatly.

    When the candidate comes to the UK for the exam, settling there and becoming comfortable with the environment takes time. The amount of time a candidate needs to settle before the day of examination also influences the exam’s passing rate. The environment of the examination centre and the pastoral care given to candidates should not be underestimated.

    The examination time is very stressful because of a lot of pressure on the candidate, but the facilities and environment provided by the examination centre can help relieve some stress. Last but not least, the support material, including OSCE mock exam, pro tips, and marking criteria, also contributes to the candidate’s success. 

    How do you obtain the results of the OSCE exam?

    The result of the OSCE exam for nurses UK is sent to the candidate within five working days via email. Occasionally, it may take up to 10 days if new OSCE content is being introduced. Objective structural clinical examination usually contains ten stations which are divided as follows:

    • Four stations are scenario-based and related to four stages of the nursing and midwifery care process. It includes assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
    • Two stations are designed to assess the clinical skills. 
    • Two written stations, one assessing professional value and the other assessing evidence-based practice.

    If the candidate fails to answer seven stations accurately, then the re-sit will charge 50% of the total cost, but if the candidate fails to answer eight or more stations accurately, re-sit will charge full cost. One candidate has been allowed to appear three times in an OSCE exam.


    Objective structural clinical examination OSCE is important and valuable in assessing the competence in clinical skills at pre-registration and post-graduate levels.

    This test shows how candidates apply their knowledge in the clinical area. Candidates should get prepared with the help of supporting material before taking the OSCE exam because one candidate can give the OSCE exam three times only with a gap of a minimum of 10 days.

    OSCE examination centre has some specific rules that every candidate should follow during the exam. After passing the test of competence, candidate can start their professional career in the UK.

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