Tips for Your Upcoming NMC-CBT Exam

If you are reading this, I’m pretty sure that you too, are an aspirant UKRN just like me and as we all know, the NMC’s Test of Competence consists of two parts. The first part is the Computer-Based Test (CBT) that can be accomplished at various Pearson VUE test centers and other professional centers authorized by the NMC of course, while the second part is a nursing Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) provided by the University of Northampton, and is the only university (I know) in the UK that is authorized by the NMC to do so at the present time.

It’s safe to say that the first part of the Test of Competence, which is the CBT, is one of the most exacting tests that I have encountered so far. The test is easier than the examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States and Canada, which is the NCLEX-RN, but is definitely not the kind of test that you would take for granted. I swear. :O

So if you’re planning to take the first part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s test of competence soon, here are some tips that will hopefully guide you to succeed. These tips are just my personal and practical points that you might want to consider because they helped me get through my CBT exam. I hope that these could help you too.

IT IS ALL IN THE MINDSET. Before I took my exam, I had browsed few weblogs that have tips on how to pass the CBT exam, and most of the articles mentioned something about acceptance – accepting that you are going to take the examination. This is true. Great things start from a simple courage and decision to give it a try, and this is only possible when you embrace the reality that if you want to pursue your UKRN dream, you have to take (and pass) the CBT.


The Code

This is basically one of the things that you need to do first before you review your fundamental nursing concepts. Read the news, latest articles and manuals especially the The Code for nurses and midwives. You NEED TO KNOW the process. Remember that this is UK and the registration process is different. Familiarization with the professional standards that you need to uphold will guide you all throughout the process. Also, read the Candidate Booklet for the Test of Competence Part I. It includes important points that you need to know before, during and after the CBT exam, as well as the DOs and DON’Ts.

MAKE CERTAIN THAT YOU HAVE THE CORRECT SET OF REVIEW MATERIALS. Q: What makes CBT a stressful examination? A: There are no explicit resources and review materials, which makes it truly unpredictable and agonizing. The good news is, there is seemingly one resource material that the previous test takers advised me to consider, and this would be the The Royal Marsden Manual of Nursing Procedures.

Here’s how it looks like:


Unfortunately, there is no paperback copy of this book in the Philippines available for purchase, but you can  order and purchase this through various online retailer of books and other stuff. Please just be careful and responsible enough. Buy items on reputable and authorized sites only to prevent yourself from getting into trouble. You won’t be needing your nursing books for the CBT but if you think that you need to review some concepts, always feel free to consult them, but just make sure you don’t spend most of your time reviewing the entire book. Just get the important details only, but do not just leaf through the pages of the review materials. This is not a test of speed. Trust me when I say YOU NEED some background knowledge about the concepts. But, as far as the CBT examination is concerned, I think the Royal Marsden would be sufficiently enough.

DON’T FORGET TO BROWSE FOR MORE HANDY SOURCES. All throughout my review period for CBT, I found some sites that helped me bigtime. I’ll share the four of them so that you don’t need to spend your time searching for tons of internet sources, articles and archives that might drown and confuse you.

  1.  NMC Website.
  2.  NICE  provides a collection of pathways and guidance on how to do something or about how to deal with problems in health and healthcare
  3.  RCN provides policies and additional info to ensure effective practice and governance
  4.  NHS a website that has easy-to-understand medical information, health articles and columns for various area of medical concern. It’s like Medscape, but UK version.
  5. There’s one more material that people find very useful – the NMC Blueprint. It contains (MANY) links that will lead you to pages containing articles about a certain topic. I was not able to check everything because there were so many of them. If you can’t finish all the articles on the blueprint, it’s okay. Do not worry too much  because just like what I have told you a while ago, the above mentioned resource materials would be enough.

CALM DOWN. Stop comparing and do not add pressure to your days of agony. I know how you feel, and there are feelings that you can’t just contain. I have experienced that also but I ended up really anxious afterwards. It’s possible that we seek for reassurance during these times, which is why we read about other people’s experiences and CBT outcomes and make these as the basis for our own. It’s completely okay to ease some tensions that we have for the exam, and I see nothing wrong with that. But the CBT results are always unpredictable. For me, you have to work on your routines all by yourself so that you can handle your anxiety well. Remember that you have to work hard if you want to get or achieve something. Hard work, perseverance and discipline always bear good results.

ON THE DAY OF YOUR EXAMINATION, BE EARLY. Don’t you dare bend the rules. I know we’re accustomed to the “Filipino Time” culture but this time, take that idea outta your head and GO TO THE TESTING CENTRE AHEAD OF TIME. You won’t lose anything if you go there early, but if you arrive late, say goodbye to the CBT exam and your exam fee. You may need to retake the exam for this.

REVIEW YOUR ANSWERS. You’ve been hearing this instruction since pre-school years but I’m telling you, it never gets old! CBT exam questions are not as comprehensive and complicated as the ones you’ll encounter in the NCLEX but never underestimate the CBT questions. You might not notice the importance of this because you have 240 minutes to finish the exam and that’s more than enough time to check on your answers. The questions may look very simple and the choices might have more than two correct answers, but you need to concentrate and look for the irregularities in the questions and the choices. I know we’re all aware of these points already but I consider this as one of the most important tips that I could give you. Don’t be over confident, review your answers.

IF YOU FAIL, TRY AGAIN. Well, failing on your first attempt is always possible. Mourn for awhile but be sure to have the courage to try once more. I know it’s hard but you have to. Be very careful this time though. You are only allowed to take the test twice. Reflect on your weakest areas and do something about them. Focus more and study hard. Try to recall difficult questions on the actual exam and do some research. Go over those topics all over again and don’t stress too much. I’m sure you’ll do better the second time around. 😉

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF PRAYERS. The most important of all of course is prayer. This might sound like a hackneyed phrase but it works! At times like these, when things are uncertain, leave everything to Him and just do your best. You’ll never regret. God’s works are just amazing! 🙂


34 thoughts on “Tips for Your Upcoming NMC-CBT Exam

      1. nope. did not attend review classes because that time, it’s still a new process (new scheme) and there’s no agency that’s offering review sessions for it.

    1. Hi there

      I wanted to thank you for the great advice you gave on this blog. After my second attempt I have passed CBT exam!! Now OSCE is next. I used mnemonics to remember the code and memorized all the formulas for drug calcs, a lot of safe guarding and what NOT to choose. I am glad I am done with this part.

      1. Hello! That’s great. I feel humbled that somehow, my blog post managed to help you out. I was so stressed out during those days as well that’s why I posted this to help others manage the stress and anxiety and work things out in their own ways and in a manner that would work for them. I am so happy that you already passed your CBT. Good job! ☺ Good luck in your OSCEs! Wishing you all the best!

  1. Hello…I was reading your blog just now and was compelled to ask wether the sequencing of procedures as shown and discussed at royal marsden book actually appears on the exam questions? Appreciate your response. Thank you.

  2. Hi..m about to take d exam in a week. So ur blog is of real great help!! I had a doubt.. can we recheck our answers once we have moved to the next question? Plz reply!

    1. it varies among individuals. one to two months would be fine, i guess, but it’s up to you. some people need more time to study but some people don’t. 😃 it’s really up to you.

    1. omg!! 😊 you’re welcome.. I’m glad that I somehow managed to help you in this manner. Might not be the most helpful ones but I am truly happy that you passed the exam!! Thank God!! ☝👏 Congratulations, and good job! ❤

  3. Hello, thank you for the tips! I just took the exam yesterday and I passed! 🙂🙂Thank God! 🙂🙂Thank you for your tips, I came across your blog the night before I took the exam because I felt too anxious. Reading your blog helped though. Thank you and more power. God bless! 🙂🙂

    1. oh, wow!! congratulations!! i’m happy for you. 🙂🙂 i’m really humbled by all of these. i thank God that my post has helped lessen your anxiety before the exam. Good job and keep up the good work!! ☺☺

  4. Hi
    Thanks for the tips.
    I sat for the first time and I failed. Want to know when the first attempt date starts, is it on the day of booking or the date u sat for the CBT? I want to book for the second attempt.

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