The NMC CBT Exam: Things You Might Want to Know

Skygarden in London, UK

So hello there!

First of all I want to introduce myself.

My name is Michael and I am a Filipino Registered Nurse from Bukidnon, Philippines but my second home is The Queen City of the South, Cebu!

I am 22 years old (when I first wrote this). This is my first post and I am not a writer whatsoever and I am not good at blogging but here I am writing not sure about anyone might read this but if you are then welcome!

By the way, in case you’re wondering, the photo above features me, taken in Skygarden. Along with this post, I have decided to put pictures so that while you are browsing you take a breather and have a look what is in store for you in the UK. I started of literally with nothing but my dreams.

People looked down on me and the profession I chose. And people never believed in me. I just want you to know that you are close to your dreams, you can do it and you have the power to change whatever plight you are in right now. Never listen to people who know nothing but to lift their ego by lowering your self-esteem and self-worth.

And that all of these places I show here, is very achievable and very easy to access once you arrive in the UK. This is not to brag but to tell you that this is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime.

I am now a registered nurse in the UK, and I work in London.

I bet you got here accidentally maybe because you are now applying for nursing registration for the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) and getting ready for the CBT Exam.

This post will basically discuss tips that I personally learned from self reviewing and from reading blogs, articles and write ups about this seemingly new exam system of the NMC. The tips are for the Adult type test only because there are other tests like Mental Health Nursing, Pediatric, etc.

This is to pay the kindness of people who encouraged and wrote articles to concentrate on and to forward to you who may or maybe do not have much idea how this works. So hop on and enjoy.

Chinatown, London

The Exam

So I presume you have asked people you knew who took it, asked what it is about and like what is the nature of the exam. Maybe, you have already read blogs and comments about the exam.

If you did, job well done! Most probably, the case will be that all the things I write here, you already know. However if you belong to the ones who haven’t, well, I suggest you do continue reading and searching for more. Congratulations for taking the first step in actually reading this. This is so that you will have a vibe of what the exam looks like. To make these shenanigans short, here is my summary.

How long is it?

4 hours or 240 mins.

What are the question types? 

MCQs (Multiple choice questions) and you just answer with a regular computer then, you click on one answer only unless told to click multiple answers. So far there are no multiple answer requiring questions. Do not worry because there will be a short tutorial before the 4 hours time of answering.

How many questions are there in total?

 120 questions.

The questions will be presented individually.

You can choose not to answer and skip it if you do not want to or answer and flag it if you are unsure.

By the time you reach the 120th question, there will be a review page. All unanswered questions will be listed as well as all flagged. The point here is you can review. You can even go back or go next.

In my case, I answered for 2 hours and reviewed my answers for 1 hour and did not finish the last hour. (I felt nauseated reading all the questions that I don’t even know the answers. HAHA) 

Cost: 130 British Pounds

How to Book: You have to have an ATT (Authorisation to Test) Register via NMC website.

How difficult is the exam?

Personally, Moderate.

Let me expound on this.

I found the exam generous to give 4 hours for a 120 item test. Majority of the Questions are as I can say easy but tricky. Read the Questions carefully as well as the choices. What makes me die are 2 things. First, I hate to tell you this but there are objective questions but not many. And Number 2, there are so called “E” or Essential questions that you have to answer correctly. Yes, according to what I have read, all must be answered correctly without you knowing whether it is an E or not. I am not sure of this but when you read the NMC Blueprint, there are columns right? Like there are Y, and Es.I believe the Es are the essential guides that you have to focus on. I will discuss where to focus on in my personal experience. Hope that helps.

Victoria & Albert Museum, Kensington, London

General Tips

1. Read Blogs, comments, experiences and stuff on the internet about this exam.

It gives you a bird’s eye view of what the exam is in a larger and broader view. I suggest go to this site. The article of this fellow Filipino nurse helped me a lot prepare.

2. Envision yourself that you will pass the exam.

If passing this is a part of your dream then do it! Work on it! I have heard a lot of stories that they failed and you dont want to fail an expensive exam. It is expensive both on your pocket and your self esteem. But if you fail, do not stop. Search quotes about success and motivation, read your bible and you will see that God’s idea of success is different. I won’t tell. You have to go search for it. Never ever give up on yourself and your dreams! Do not do this to please other people that do not like you. Do this for you. Intense? Haha

3. Get the recommended Review Materials and know what to Prioritize.

I have only 2 guides to tell you frankly and it helped me a lot. I do not know how it works for you but for me, it kinda worked coz i passed the exam.

To start this with let me tell you first my story, so I resigned from my work to concentrate on IELTS (I will write a blog about this maybe If i find the motivation to do so, hehe) and after was for this exam, so I told myself I have no right to fail the exams because I had all the time studying and thank God for blessing me his graces.

Anyway, I was also glad because I have a senior nurse from my Alma Mater in CNU that already passed and told me where to focus my review. He let me borrow his notes with his readings, and a print out of the NMC Blueprint, the 4 Domains and other stuffs that are helpful.

My First Ward in the UK in London, UK

Remember, your goal is to digest the Healthcare practice and scenario of the UK practice in Nursing. You have to memorize the Code by Heart. Read it 10 times. I read it too and printed it out. Then what I did was I concentrated on Royal Marsden Clinical Guidelines Book, you can purchase it online. To tell you honestly, I regetted I prioritized  reading this book because less topics were from here but this book has opened my eyes a lot on UK practice. So I owe this book a lot too. Many Es are discussed here to be honest. So I suggest focus on the blueprint, read the links, yes, all the links, the working links at least, by heart. Infection Control, Leadership, Safeguarding, Pressure Ulcers, Acute Care for Adults, People with Disabilities, Consent, and basically all the suggested focus the people in the internet says because it is really true.

One good thing is that, you do not have to memorize medications, but you have to know the ‘how, where, what, whom’s” about medications and its administration, the analgesia ladder and one tip, study also on basic IV and drug calculations. I believe these are Es. I wish I could tell you more but I cannot because the NMC will not allow me to do so. Hehe

In conclusion, have faith in yourself and reach your dreams whatever it is. Study well, do not memorize only by brain but by heart more importantly. Read the articles well do not stress yourself on memorization.

And I thought I was gonna fail, like honestly, all objective type answers I searched were wrong, I cried inside but when i saw the email arrive 5-6 hours later, I passed! I pray that you too can. God bless you.

If you have more questions about the exam, UK application, about life and living in the UK or maybe in London itself, feel free to comment or mail me at I wouldbe happy to respond.


8 thoughts on “The NMC CBT Exam: Things You Might Want to Know

    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.


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