This is in relation to my other post; The New Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Exam – My Experience, where I talked about my experience in taking the exam for the first time. If you are going to take the test soon or have failed and will try to take it again, I suggest you read it first so you would have more ideas about the exam from a failed perspective.
After going through all the stressful process of re-booking an exam, I was able to set it for January 20, 2015 in the morning. Fortunately, I passed it this time because if I haven’t, I would have to shell out another £130. Unlike my previous take where I did not focus on studying, this time I made sure that I render ample time for reading.
To give you an idea, a lot of nurses have failed this test when it started to become available in November. NMC was being blamed by most test takers for allowing this fresh process to go live even if it was still unpolished. That may be the case or it may be not but at the end of the day, we as the registrants have no other choice but comply with the register’s rules regardless of how faulty we may think the process is.
One of the biggest problems that soon-to-be test takers will bump into is the lack of helpful resources available about the NMC online exam because of its infant state. Soon, more and more resources will be accessible to everyone but let me write out some of the helpful tips based on my own experience because I noticed that three months after the NMC test went live, there still aren’t that much on the internet for us nurses to aid us through this hurdle.
Hopefully I would be able to help my fellow nurses with these few tips on how to pass the NMC online test.
1. Acknowledge the test
Most of those who are already done with school is relieved primarily from having to take major tests or exams and we all tend to forget that the nursing profession is one of those that requires one to continuously learn in order to excel. You have to acknowledge that this exam is a big deal and is required by one of the biggest nursing registers in the world, the NMC. Before you even plan on paying for the fee, you should be certain that you will take this thing seriously without any dilly-dallying. I personally did so on my first take and that really backfired because when I failed, that automatically meant that I would have to pay for another £130 and at my current financial status, that is not cheap. Let me just emphasize on the “putting yourself into it” part because that and studying the right things to know are the only things you need to pass it.
2. Download the NMC Blueprint…
…and the rest that comes with it. The type of blueprint you have to download depends on the type of exam you will be taking in which there are four namely:
- Adult (general) Nursing
- Children’s Nursing
- Learning Disabilities Nursing
- Mental Health Nursing
In my case, it was the Adult Nursing so I will be focusing on that. First thing you would have to do is download all the four domains under it, all of which are in PDF format. Domain 1 is focused on professional values, Domain 2 is about communication and interpersonal skills, Domain 3 discusses nursing practice and decision making and the lesson for Domain 4 is leadership, management and team working. Another PDF you would have to download is the Adult Nursing blueprint. Here is the link to the blueprints, NMC CBT blueprints.
To give you an idea, a page of the blueprint looks like this:
The appearance of it alone can already be overwhelming. That is only one page of it and there are hundreds where that came from. Few of the things that will come into mind once you see it? “There’s so much words in here!” “How in the world am I gonna learn all these things?” “What does the Y and E even mean?” which is all normal. Now you have seen it, after panicking, it is time to take a deep breath and focus.
Personally, I did NOT read each and every words from the blueprint. What you have to start with right away can be found on column five. Yes, those links right there are the ones you have spend most of your time on. Start with the very first link and go through that web page ONCE. I had to put an emphasis on saying “once” because some information will be repeated on the other links so reading them once will save you time and seeing the same contents on the other links will serve as your “re-read”. Now some links would require you to download other PDF for reading and you have to read them. Do not skip those.
Another trick for you to be able to go through it quickly and efficiently is to leave out the unnecessary details. If you will just mindlessly read then you will find yourself wasting time reading things about midwifery which sometimes gets mixed into the articles. So read consciously. Make sure you go through all of the links. Just a heads up, not all of the links are working but do not let that bother you. If it does not work, move on to the next one. A struggle most of us nurses face is our job itself. We have to go to shifts which can be very demanding in so many ways and has a knack of getting in the way of our limited free time. If possible, print these blueprints, only if possible for you because if you are in a situation where you cannot view the links online, read columns one to four on the blueprint. Also, almost everyone already has a smartphone so if you could get those PDF and links saved on your phone or maybe even laptops to be available for offline reading then please do so. Although, the best way to review is through online reading because you can easily search for unfamiliar terms if needed.
There is also one book that you would need because you can use it as reference until the practical exam which is The Royal Marsden Hospital Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures. All the UK standards and policies when it comes to clinical procedures for nurses is in this book. You can borrow it from someone or you can get your own copy. You can click the image below if you opt for an online purchase.
(or click here for a UK link)
3. What kind of exam is it? What are the topics?
It is a multiple choice type of test wherein each question only requires one best answer. Unlike other exams like NCLEX where there are questions that requires more than one answer. Although, with the NMC online test, it gets a bit tricky because some of them has more than one correct answer. This test contains 120 questions which you would have to answer within 240 minutes. Yup, the time allowance is very forgiving and make use of it. The “easy feeling” this test gives can make you finish it in less than an hour but do not be fooled. Use up more than half of the time given even if that means going back to each question more than once. Do not worry about a question you are unsure of the answer to because you can always go back to that item. The quantity of critical questions in the exam is unsure but others are saying that it ranges from 20 to 40 that you have to answer correctly. These questions are not indicated on the test as critical so there is no way for you to know if a certain question is a critical question or not. But in order for you to pass this test, you should treat all the 120 questions as critical questions. Do not single anything out.
As for the topics, it can all be found in the blueprint. Remember, this is NMC so all you have to familiarize yourself with is the policy for their country. Make sure that when you answer, you base it on the UK standards and policies that you have read and not from your home country’s standards which can get a bit tricky because that is what you are used to. When it comes to pharmacology, as long as you know how your basics and how to manage IV then you will be fine. Pathophysiology did not appear but the focus is more on nursing interventions for certain types of conditions. I have taken this test twice and I have not seen any laboratory values question appear.
Topics you mainly need to focus on:
- Safeguarding Children and the Elderly
- Medication Management
- Obtaining Consent
- Infection Control
- Care for Elders with Dementia
Always keep in mind that you need not memorize everything. As long as you get yourself familiarized with the UK practice then you will be fine. The key is to be able to read all that is needed and not to overload yourself with information that is irrelevant. This test only contains 120 questions and you cannot expect everything to appear in there. Most questions are situational. When you are done with your test, you can check the status in Pearson Vue a few hours after you have taken it or you can wait for an email from them telling your result. The result will only indicate if you passed or you failed. No scores will be given.
I hope this helped you in some way and good luck with your test!