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What to expect in your OSCE exam pt.3

So far in this series of blogs discussing what to expect at your OSCE NMC for Nurses exam, we looked at the most important preparation tip: to thoroughly revise your areas of focus and familiarise yourself with the documents you are likely to use whilst being assessed.

Then we moved on to quickly familiarise ourselves with what it may look like inside the test centre.

Today, I will discuss 2 of the stations and a few "in-house" rules you must be aware of.


First, I want to reiterate a common tip: If you do make a mistake during your OSCE, do not panic.

Often our mistakes are down to a build up of anxiety, over-confidence or not taking those crucial few seconds to pause and think before acting. If you do find yourself in this situation, make sure you tell the assessor straight away during the assessment. Share what you would do to immediately correct it and this will be taken into account. You must also carry on with the assessment as if this was in a real ward. However, it must be pointed out that a simple verbalisation of your mistake will not overturn a critical fail.


The OSCE test is made up of 8 stations (as from june 2020, the NMC introduced two new stations BOTH of which are fully explored on our OSCE course) and each last approximately 15 minutes (variation to the scenario and test centre).

Lets explore each of these stations:

A - Assessment

This station is a skill station in which you will be assessed on your ability to make an assessment out of a generic scenario. The skills are based on the list that will be provided to you in the CIB (Candidate Information Booklet).

Your verbal and non-verbal communication skills will be assessed in this station and the ability to establish a rapport based on the 6-C's with your patient during the assessment station.

You will also be asked to take observations and make a record of these, and you will also need to verbalise your scores to the assessor.

TIP: Familiarise yourself with the Glasgow Coma Score, the 6 C's, NEWS, and record your observations ACCURATELY. You will also need to ensure accurate and professional communication to the mannequin / patient and the assessor when required in order to pass.

Note, these suggestions are NOT the only requirements that you will be marked upon. Your OSCE trainer with Cotton Nursing Solutions will highlight this in more detail.

P - Planning

This station is where you will sit and write out a details plan for two relevant aspects of care related to the scenario from your first assessment. You will be monitored by the assessor, but no interaction is usually permitted.

You will be given 15 minutes to complete this station, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the documents you will be using. They are provided during your OSCE NMC preparation training course with Cotton Nursing Solutions, or through your NILE.

TIP: Use a black, ball point pen to fill out this document.

In the next blog, I will continue to detail a further two stations and what to expect during your assessment. But first, I promised a few rules that you must be aware of upon arriving to the test centre. Here they are:

  1. You must remember to bring your ID and related document with you. Without these, you will not be able to carry out the test

  2. The use of phones AT ANY TIME during the assessment or beyond a dedicated zone is prohibited. It is strongly suggested you leave your phone in a locker or turned off inside your bag

  3. You must be physically fit and well to carry out this assessment. If you are unwell, recovering from an injury or are disabled in such a way to incapacitate your ability to conduct the tasks appropriately, you will be asked to leave

  4. The OSCE exam is conducted in english only. There is no alternative offered.

Of course, if you register as a member with Cotton Nursing Solutions and are taking an OSCE NMC preparation training course with us, you will get more tips and ticks and a better insight into the OSCE exam. Why not register with us using the links at the top of the page, or register to our newsletter for monthly updates. Click here for more information.

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