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Objective Structured Clinical Examination

Information and resources for preparing for the OSCE

The OSCE is a structured performance test that uses 15 or 16 client interactive examination stations depicting various clinical scenarios. These scenarios use standardized patients (played by actors) to provide real-life interactions with the examination candidate.

Some client interactive scenarios are complemented by written questions. These are called post encounter probe (PEP) questions. PEP questions relate directly to the preceding client interactive encounter and address diagnosing and/or managing the specific client concern or complaint.

The OSCE takes approximately five hours, which includes time for registration and breaks.

Want to know more?

Detailed information about what to expect is available in the OSCE Candidate Guidebook.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to get on the OSCE to achieve a pass?

You must meet all of the following criteria to pass the exam:

  1. You must pass the required minimum number of stations. The overall station score is comprised of interactive stations (including the checklist and global assessment score from the couplet and 10 minute stations) and written stations (the Post Encounter Probe portion of the couplet stations). The number of stations required to pass depends on the total number of stations on the exam. This criterion ensures that you have not demonstrated any frequent or systematic gaps in your knowledge, skills and abilities. 
  2. You must achieve or exceed the minimum competency score. Each item on a checklist and each question on a written station is linked to a Nurse Practitioner competency, reflecting the range of knowledge, skills and abilities of Nurse Practitioners. This criterion ensures that your overall knowledge, skills and abilities meet the entry to practice standard. Your overall competency score is the sum of the competency scores across all the stations. This is reported on a standard score scale, and you must obtain a score of 350 to pass.​
  3. You must have no safety flags that are determined by the CRNBC Nurse Practitioner Examination Committee (NPEC) to be of a serious enough nature to constitute a critical incident and warrant failure on the examination . A Critical Incident is a situation in which the candidate fails to identify, perform or act upon a specific aspect of a given scenario from which the client would be expected to be seriously harmed; and/or any other safety or professional violation, noted by the examiner during the scenario, which would be expected to have a serious negative consequence for the client.  This criterion provides evidence that you have demonstrated safe and professional practice at the entry to practice level.​
Do we have to memorize the name of drugs and/or the dosages and frequencies for drug prescriptions?

No, you do not have to memorize drug names, dosages and frequencies. You may be given a resource to use, in which case you would be expected to write the prescription in full as you would for a real patient, including drug name, dosage and frequency. If you are not provided with a resource, you do not need to write the specific drug name, dosage and frequency;  it is sufficient to indicate the drug classification and appropriate reference guide you would refer to obtain the correct dosage and frequency. In this case, you must be more specific than stating an antibiotic or an analgesic.  ​

Are we expected to treat with clients who are out of our scope?
No, you are not expected to treat clients outside of your scope but you are expected to recognize if a situation is outside of your scope and respond accordingly.
Are we expected to have memorized specific assessment tests?
No, you are not expected to memorize specific assessment tests but you do need to know what type of assessment you would carry out in a scenario or you may name a specific assessment test that you would use.

 About the exam

 Exam Resources

*Examples of diseases, disorders and conditions commonly managed by an entry-level NP are now an appendix in Applying the Competencies.

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