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Providing OSCE support and preparation

OSCE - Objective Structured Clinical Examination

The OSCE is designed to assess your ability to apply your nursing or midwifery skills and knowledge in the UK. It is set at the level expected of candidates at the point of registration, not advanced skills.

Nursing and midwifery in the UK are made up of separate and distinct fields of practice, each requiring three years of pre-registration undergraduate education. The test of competence is specific to a field of nursing practice, and it consists of two parts. The Test of Competence assesses candidates against the current UK pre-registration standards.

Tips to help you prepare for your OSCE

  • Read, read, read! A key area to prepare for your OSCE is to access the reading list and documents provided by the test centres prior to you undertaking your OSCE training. You will read what is expected within the exam and the scenarios and skills that are covered.
  • The OSCE will test your ability to apply care and knowledge to patients, rather than how well you can remember and recite facts.
  • A key tip to prepare or your OSCE is to practice describing out loud what you are doing when completing a task. This could be a nursing task e.g.; giving an injection or you could practice with a household task for example; making a cup of tea.
  • Learn to manage your nerves. Don’t let them get the better of you. Remember to be yourself, let your personality shine through, the test centres do not want robotic nurses!
  • Read the suggested articles provided on the reading list, the answers you need to provide are within these documents.

The OSCE exam

The OSCE is made up of 10 stations, with a total testing time of approx. 2.5 hours



Four of the stations are based on a health scenario and are based on the APIE process. A – Patient-centred assessment, P – Planning care, I – Implementation, E – Evaluation. Each of the stations are timed and includes a variety of nursing skills.


Skills stations test practical and written clinical skills. The timing for each skill varies depending on the skill and you will take 4 of these skills within your OSCE exam.


One station will specifically assess professional values and one station will specifically assess evidence-based practice.


This station is a written station where you will explore nursing and midwifery professional values and behaviours. This station is a 10-minute station.

Useful Resources

The NMC suggest you read the following to prepare for your OSCE:

For more information on nursing or midwifery OSCE support

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