University Specific Nursing Selection Day Tests

​This article provides an overview of the entry assessment tests required by each of the top 20 Nursing universities in the UK. Required tests differ to a great extent from university to university, with some requiring both numeracy and literacy, some only numeracy or literacy, and some requiring no tests at all. There has been a gradual trend in recent years toward removing tests, and instead using the English & Mathematics GCSEs as a check of a basic level in literacy and numeracy.
Each will require all applicants to sit an interview alongside any further tests mentioned in this document.
In general, you should approach the literacy tests as calmly as possible, as a simple opportunity to show that you have the ability to read and write at the level expected of a professional nurse. Don’t worry too much about ensuring that your response to any question, or the text that you are writing, is brilliant – instead you should make sure that your grammar, spelling, and syntax are professional. Take time to double check your work.

The numeracy tests are likewise designed only to ensure a basic level of maths – not to catch you out. Take advantage of any equipment you are given, be it a pen and paper or a calculator. Ensure that you provide an answer for each question, even if you are not sure – do not skip any questions.

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow makes no mention of either a numeracy or literacy test, and nor do any previous students report having had to sit one. They likely use GCSE English and Maths – both required at Grade 5 – in place of further tests.

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University of Edinburgh

Similarly to Glasgow, Edinburgh does not specify a numeracy or literacy test. Again, no previous students report having sat one. It appears that GCSE English and Maths scores are used in place of further tests.

Cardiff University

Cardiff has no tests to check your numeracy or literacy levels. Previous students explicitly state that Cardiff does not have these assessment tests, although you should expect to sit some tests to check your basic level if you get a place and start your course at the university.

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University of Manchester

Manchester does not require a numeracy or literacy test. They explain that their interview will, ‘provide information about your ability to think on your feet, critically appraise information, communicate ideas, and demonstrate that you have thought about some of the issues that are important to the nursing profession.’ However, you will not have to sit a specific test to check your literacy or ability to comprehend information.

University of Surrey

Surrey state that, ‘Numeracy and literacy exercises may also be included as part of the selection process.’ In practice this seems to amount to both an English and Numeracy test. The maths test involves the basic functions, and you are permitted to use a calculator. An example question might be:
What is 85 divided by 5?

The English test involves writing a short essay on a topic that does not require prior knowledge, like where you would like to go on holiday.

​University of Southampton

Southampton typically requires both a numeracy and literacy test, although this is subject to change year to year. The numeracy test is straightforward and involves the basic functions, and a calculator is not permitted. The literacy test typically involves you writing your opinion on a certain subject. The content of your argument will not be assessed, only the manner in which it is written.

​University of York

York currently does not make its applicants sit a numeracy or literacy test. However, its MMI will likely have one station that involves mathematics, and this may take the form of a series of simple multiple choice questions.

For example:

Which of these is half of 65?
A) 60
B) 32.5
C) 7

Applicants to Midwifery at York will be required to write an essay as part of their interview and selection process.

Ulster University

Ulster do not require a numeracy or literacy test for applicants to their Nursing programme, having only a structured interview.

University of Birmingham

Birmingham do not require a numeracy or literacy tests for applicants to their Nursing programmes, although they do specify that they look for ‘excellent written and verbal communication skills.’ You should therefore ensure that you work on your ability to present information concisely.

University of Liverpool

Previous students describe having to sit a literacy test, but Liverpool now make no mention of this as part of their assessment process. They do require that all applicants demonstrate ‘a good general education, which includes acceptable levels of literacy and numeracy, normally equivalent to at least grade C at GCSE in English and Mathematics,’ so it appears likely that the literacy test has been replaced by use of the GCSE as a basic check. You should also be ready to ‘express ideas clearly and logically, and to listen to the point of view of others’ in your interview.

Northumbria University

Whilst Northumbria’s website makes no mention of a numeracy or literacy tests, previous students – including those that sat the assessment day as recently as 2019 – indicate that you should expect a simple literacy exercise. There is not a numeracy test. This appears to involve watching a video – that will describe a simple concept, like the role of a nurse – before writing an answer to a question on this clip. You shouldn’t try to revise for the test, and it seems to be a small part of the assessment day.

University of Portsmouth

Portsmouth has no numeracy or literacy tests on the interview day. You may be required to sit numeracy and literacy tests before the interview, online. If so this will be detailed in communications from the university.

University of Leeds

Leeds applicants must sit a numeracy test at the selection day. This will cover the basic functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), as well as fractions, percentages, decimals and basic conversions. The test involves mental arithmetic primarily, although you may also use a pen and paper to perform calculations. An example question may be:
A drug’s dose is provided per kilogram of body weight. 200mg of the drug should be given to someone weighing 98kg. How much of the drug should be given to someone weighing 49kg?

King's College London, University of London

King’s selection process will involve both a literacy test and numeracy test for its applicants. You must pass the literacy and numeracy components in order to be invited to interview. The literacy test will take 20 minutes, and analyses your skills in written English. You will be provided with a piece of text for a comprehension exercise, in which your ability to read and understand a is tested. The text will be nursing related, and you must write answers to questions on it. The numeracy test is 15 questions, and must be answered within 20 minutes. The test will involve the basic functions, fractions, decimals, percentages, ratios and conversions. You may use a calculator for the test.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan explain that you will not have to sit a numeracy test as part of your assessment day. However, there will be a simple written task to check basic literacy. This will be explained on the day of the interview, and is not something that can be revised for.

University of Hull

The University of Hull no longer has a numeracy or literacy test, having replaced these requirements with a grade C at GCSE in both English Language (or English Literature) and Mathematics.

Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s Belfast does not require applicants to sit a numeracy or literacy test. However, all applicants must have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade C, to include English Language and Mathematics. The MMI format is used for the interview and is primarily designed to test ‘value-based skills,’ so you should not have to contend with mathematical or verbal reasoning questions as part of the selection process here.

University of Huddersfield

Huddersfield does not require a numeracy or literacy test. Instead, they look for each applicant having completed 12 years of general education, with GCSE English Language or English Literature and Maths at grade 4 or above – grade C or above if awarded under the previous GCSE scheme.

Coventry University

Coventry applicants should be prepared for a ‘selection event’ that includes a basic numeracy test and a literacy test. The numeracy test involves mental arithmetic, and will demand the use of the four basic functions, as well as fractions and conversions. The literacy test will involve writing a short piece on why you want to be a nurse – your answer will be assessed only on its literacy rather than the argument of the piece.

​Liverpool John Moores University

LJMU does not specify that it requires a numeracy test or a literacy test, instead seemingly having replaced these requirements with assessment through GCSE grades. They have required a numeracy test in previous years, but do not appear to have had it in place recently.

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University Specific Nursing Selection Day Tests

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