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Veterinary nurse pre-registration exams

Information about the pre-registration exams for veterinary nurses wanting to practise in the UK.

On this page:

Who has to take the pre-registration exams

You’ll have to take the RCVS pre-registration exams if your veterinary nursing qualification is:

  • not fully RCVS-accredited, or
  • not ACOVENE-accredited.

This applies to most overseas qualifications. See our application page for more information.

About the pre-registration exams

The veterinary nurse pre-registration exams are designed to assess your skills, competences and knowledge against:

The exams comprise:

You may sit these exams in any order. However, you must pass both exams within an 18 month period. For example, if you were to sit your first exam in July, you’d have 18 months from that date to sit the second one.

Exam fees

The entry fees for the pre-registration exams in 2024 are as follows:

  • Theory (MCQ) exam: £264 per sitting.
  • Practical exam (OSCE): £460 per attempt.

You can pay your fees on My Account.

About the theory (MCQ) exam

The theory exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions.

There are three papers:

  • Paper 1: Preparing to deliver patient care.
  • Paper 2: Application of patient care.
  • Paper 3: Being an accountable professional within veterinary practice.

Paper 3 is an open book exam. As many of the questions relate to the RCVS Code of Conduct, you’ll have access to a searchable PDF copy of this document.

See the theory exam guide for more information on the content of the exam and how to prepare.

Exam dates

The theory exam is held three times a year, over two dates within a seven-day period. Papers 2 and 3 will normally take place on the same day with a break in-between. All candidates will take the exam at the same time using the UK time zone.

See the theory exam guide for exact exam dates.

About the practical exam (OSCE)

The pre-registration practical exam is in the form of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

During the OSCE you’ll visit 10 stations set up with different clinical scenarios. At each station, you’ll have a fixed period of time to complete a series of complex and non-complex practical tasks.

The exam covers the following topics:

  • Assessment and Nursing Care
  • Communication
  • Dressings and Bandages
  • Supporting Veterinary Anaesthesia
  • Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging
  • Veterinary Laboratory Techniques
  • Veterinary Theatre Practice

See the OSCE exam guide for more about the content of the exam and how to prepare.

Exam dates

The practical exams are normally held three times a year in the UK. See the OSCE guide for exact dates.

Apply to sit the pre-registration exams

You’ll be invited to sit the pre-registration exams once your qualifications have been assessed. See our application page to get started.

When you’ve been given permission to sit the exams, you will be able to apply via My Account.

Get support and guidance

Working in the UK course

The RCVS Academy has a “Working in the UK for veterinary nurses” course. This course will help you learn more about registering with us and practise as a veterinary nurse in the UK.

Learn more about our working in the UK courses

Contact our team

If you have any questions about the pre-registration examinations, please contact our Veterinary Nursing Team on 020 7202 0788 or at [email protected].

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