Nursing Council New Zealand

The Nursing Council of New Zealand protects the health and safety of the public by setting standards and ensuring that nurses are competent to practise.

Internationally qualified nurses (IQNs) applying for nursing registration in New Zealand who need a competence assessment are required to pass an IQN Theoretical Examination, and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

See Nursing Council registration for IQNs for more information on the examination requirements.

The Theoretical Examination must be completed at Pearson VUE test centres located in New Zealand and internationally. Find Pearson VUE test centre locations »

Examination content

The examination is a multichoice examination consisting of two parts:

Part A: Medication Safety consisting of 12 questions.
Part B: Nursing knowledge consisting of 108 questions.

Time allowance

The time allowed for the examination, including reading, is180 minutes. No further time extensions are allowed.


A total of three attempts are allowed to pass the examination.

Part A and B must both be completed for the first examination attempt. Candidates only need to resit the part they failed. If candidates fail both parts they need to resit both parts.

If you do not pass after three attempts, you have not met the Nursing Council’s requirements and your application for registration will close.


The table provided details the examination costs, which are to be payable in New Zealand currency:

Entire IQN exam fee $140
Re-sit entire IQN exam fee $140
Re-sit only Part A: Medication Safety Module $32
Re-sit only Part B: Nursing Knowledge Module $108

Communication of results

Your results will be available on your Pearson VUE dashboard soon after completion of an exam attempt.

The Nursing Council will communicate with you, within six weeks, when you have either passed both modules or you have used all your allocated three attempts. This communication will confirm your final result and outline next steps available to you.

1. Booking your exam

Proof of identity

You will need to present both of the following to enrol in the exam:

  • a primary proof of identity – a current passport (the name you enrol with must be the same as on your passport and the same as your Nursing Council registration application)
  • a secondary proof of identity – any approved ID which includes your name and signature OR name and photo.

The names on the primary and secondary identification documents must match.

Book now

Read the Pearson VUE Comfort Aid list to see which items you can bring on the day of your exam.

2. Resources

Nursing Council website
Nursing Council registration for IQNs
Nursing Council IQN FAQs
Nursing Council guidance on name changes

  • You can find information on the Nursing Council process for changing your name by following the above link.
Last updated 2024-03-26