NMC’s Update on the English Language Test and CBT Validity…


NMC’s Update on the English Language Test and CBT Validity…


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is very particular on the English language proficiency of the nurses applying for registration with the body. The NMC says that “Effective communication skills are essential to providing safe and effective care, so we need to be assured that those applying for registration or re-admission to our register have the necessary knowledge of English”.


The NMC’s standard of English language competence has not changed but would like to support those candidates whose applications have been delayed because of the OSCE center closures. The NMC is aware that the English language test scores of many candidates may expire before they can take their OSCE.

The NMC is introducing a temporary measure to allow candidates to provide additional evidence to demonstrate that they have maintained their English language competency even after the expiry of the validity of their English language test.

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This temporary measure will only apply to you:

  • If you are a candidate who is already in the UK but your IELTS/OET validity has expired between 24 March 2020 and 20 January 2021, then you would need to obtain a reference letter from your line manager confirming that you are proficient in English language. You will be asked to re-sit the exam if the reference is not satisfactory. You must complete your final assessment within 6 months from the date of the expiry of your score.

  • If you are a candidate following the new NMC registration process and your IELTS/OET score is about to expire on or before 20 Jan 2021, you should either reappear in IELTS/OET or you should arrive in the UK before your current scorecard expires.

  • If you are a nurse already in the UK and your scorecard has expired before 23rd March 2020, you would need to reappear in IELTS/OET to complete the final assessment and obtain your NMC PIN.

  • If you are a nurse and your IELTS/OET is already expired and you are not in a major English speaking country, you would need a new valid score before you travel to the UK.

  • If you are a nurse working in any of a major English speaking country like Ireland, Malta, Cayman Islands, etc. and your IELTS/OET score has expired on or after 23rd March 2020, then you would need to obtain a reference letter from your line manager confirming that you are proficient in the English language. You will be asked to re-sit the exam if the reference is not satisfactory. You must complete your final assessment within 6 months from the date of the expiry of your score.

If you are a candidate with a Decision Letter(old process) from the NMC, the above requirements would not be applicable to you as your Decision Letter is issued after your final assessment by the NMC.


The British Council advises that two years is the accepted period for an individual to remain proficient in English if the language is used regularly. Proficiency in English deteriorates after two years if it is not used on a regular basis.


Online language tests:

The NMC is currently not accepting any online English language tests but is working with test providers to review their online test options.


Change to CBT validity period:

The NMC has also extended the validity period of CBT results expiring between 1 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 by six months.


#cbt #osce #nhs #nmc #envertiz

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