Skip to content.

    Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

    An important part of the application process for all internationally educated nurses is determining program equivalency, a non-exemptible requirement for registration.

    For RN applicants, this means the College evaluates their educational background to determine if they have successfully completed a program of study that has equipped them with the nursing knowledge, skill and judgment equal to that of a recent graduate of a Canadian university baccalaureate nursing program.

    If the College has determined that your program does not meet the program requirement, then you will be asked to complete an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) before the College can proceed with your application.

    Administered at the Centre for the Evaluation of Health Professionals Educated Abroad (CEHPEA) in Toronto, the OSCE  gives applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their nursing knowledge, judgment and skills. Applicants with identified entry-to-practice competency gaps will be advised of additional training they will need to complete in order to meet the program requirement.

    Please note this examination is available in English only. Applicants who indicate French as their first language and would like to complete their nursing education equivalency assessment in French are asked to contact the College in writing with their request. 

    How OSCE works

    1. The applicant applies to register as an RN with the College.

    2. The College assesses the application to determine if the applicant’s education background meets program requirements.

    3. If the applicant does not meet program requirements, the College will instruct the applicant to undergo an OSCE evaluation. (Applicants who wish to appeal the College’s decision and continue with their applications without completing the OSCE will be referred to the College’s Registration Committee).

    4. The OSCE is completed over a four-hour period at CEHPEA’s offices in Toronto.

    5. Approximately eight weeks later, the College will receive the applicant's evaluation results. These results will determine whether the applicant has demonstrated entry-to-practice competencies in order to meet the program requirement.   


    Completing the OSCE

    How do I apply for an OSCE? 
    You must be referred by the College. Once the College has confirmed that you consent to an OSCE evaluation, CEHPEA will provide you with information about how to apply online and schedule your appointment.  

    What is the cost of the OSCE evaluation?
    At this time, there is no charge to take the OSCE. However, there is a $200 administrative fee that will be refunded after the College receives from CEHPEA confirmation of your completion of the OSCE evaluation.

    Am I required to complete the OSCE?
    Until you have completed the required evaluation of your nursing knowledge, skill and judgment by CEHPEA, the College will be unable to determine whether you meet the nursing education requirement or if you are required to complete any additional education and/or training. Failure to complete the required evaluation will result in a determination that you have not met the requirements for registration as a Registered Nurse. As a result, the Registration Committee could direct the Executive Director to refuse to issue a certificate of registration to you.

    I am not currently living in Canada and I need a visa to enter Canada for my OSCE. What do I do?
    Contact the Canadian embassy, High Commission, or consulate in your country of residence for information about applying for a visa. If necessary, CEHPEA can issue a letter for an applicant’s visa application. Please contact CEHPEA by email for further information..

    What areas of skill and knowledge are assessed in the OSCE?
    The blueprint for the OSCE is based on the National Competencies in the Context of Entry-Level Registered Nurse Practice. Skills and knowledge assessed may include:

    • Basic and advanced clinical skills
    • Health history and health assessment
    • Use of technology in nursing practice
    • Pharmacology and medication administration
    • Pathophysiology
    • Knowledge of the Canadian health care system
    • Current, evidence-informed practice
    • Effective communication skills in English with standardized (simulated) patients, members of a health care team or others

    How are these areas assessed?
    The OSCE consists of the following:

    • A short, written multiple-choice exam that tests general nursing knowledge.
    • A series of clinical encounter stations involving standardized (simulated) patients, members of the health care or others. Candidates taking part in this exercise will play the part of a Registered Nurse and apply their knowledge, skill and judgment in a number of client/caregiver situations.
    • Candidates will be expected to orally respond to questions posed by examiners.

    How do I prepare for the OSCE?

    Please note the College does not endorse any for-profit course that advertises itself as a way to help applicants successfully complete any required examinations.

    Who do I contact if I have any other questions about the OSCE?
    For questions about the examination itself, including upcoming testing dates and directions to the testing centre, contact CEHPEA at 416 924-8622 or email

    Contact the College for questions about the registration process.