Frequently Asked Questions
NCAS is the Nursing Community Assessment Service.
We operate a competency-based assessment program that serves the health care registry in British Columbia, and nursing regulators in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. NCAS assesses internationally educated health practitioners seeking licensure in these respective provinces. The assessment has three components:
What is the CBA?
Where can I take it?
The CBA is a three-hour, proctored, computer-based assessment that can be taken at one of more than a hundred testing centres in 60 countries in the world.
The CBA seeks to assess your knowledge of the skills and competencies required to enter practice in the health practitioner role you are assessing for. It is made up of gradually unfolding cases that take you through the step-by-step process of clinical thinking and decision making.
There is no pass or fail. Rather, the assessment is aimed at identifying strengths and gaps. Your results will not be sent to you until
you have completed the Simulation Lab and Oral Assessment.
Learn more by visiting: What to Expect - Computer-based Assessment.
What is the SLA-OA?
The SLA-OA is the Simulation Lab Assessment and the Oral Assessment combined in one; they are always delivered at the same time. The SLA-OA is a three-to-four-hour assessment, taken in-person at an NCAS Assessment Centre.
Candidates seeking licensure in British Columbia must take their SLA-OA at the NCAS Assessment Centre in Vancouver, BC. Candidates seeking licensure in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Price Edward Island must take their SLA-OA at the NCAS Assessment Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The SLA-OA is compromised of four different stations. Each station focuses on one simulated clinical scenario; some will have a mannequin and others will involve face-to-face interaction with a standardized patient (trained actor).
Learn more by visiting What to Expect - Simulation Lab and Oral Assessment – British Columbia or What to Expect - Simulation Lab and Oral Assessment – Maritime Canada.
The NCAS assessment is aimed at healthcare practitioners who obtained their healthcare education outside of Canada, and are looking to license in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.
NCAS also assesses healthcare assistants trained in other jurisdictions, nursing professionals who are returning to practice after a period outside the profession, and those for whom employers may have requested a competency review. In all instances, NCAS is assessing the extent to which an applicant demonstrates entry-to-practice level competencies.
To be eligible for an NCAS assessment, you must be referred to NCAS by a regulatory college or registry.
You have one year to complete your NCAS referral, from the date that NCAS processes your referral to the date you complete your final assessment component.
It is important to note that the CBA and SLA-OA must be completed within six months of each other. If six months is exceeded, the CBA will need to be retaken at full cost. This is because the NCAS assessment evaluates competencies and knowledge at a specific point in time: the more time that lapses, the less valid the results.
If you are unable to complete your assessment in one year, you will need to apply for an extension. Please visit the Fees & Policies page for your region for more information.
A testing accommodation refers to a modification that is made to the assessment environment to support applicants with medical, physical, psychological, or learning conditions, or to observe a spiritual or religious observance.
You must apply for an assessment accommodation separately for the CBA and for the SLA-OA. More information can be found on the Fees & Policies pages.
How do I prepare for the CBA or SLA-OA?
Each nursing role has specific competencies that were established and validated by subject-matter experts in each of the professions. NCAS has identified behaviours and indicators that relate to each competency. And these competencies are mapped to a "blueprint" of each assessment. As you move through each assessment, your responses and behaviours will be assessed against those expected in each competency area.
More information can be found on the How to Prepare page.
At this time, NCAS offers dual-role assessments in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
A dual-role assessment allows you to be assessed for two different health care professions or roles at once. Applicants applying to be assessed for two roles at once will take two CBAs (one for each profession in which you are interested), but only one SLA-OA. (The SLA-OA produces two distinct sets of results, one for each of the two desired roles or professions). This is applicable to:
More information on this option can be found on Getting Started – British Columbia or Getting Started – Maritime Canada.
NCAS is a small team, with limited capacity to respond to the numerous inquires we receive – though we certainly do our best to reply in a timely manner!
Please review the information in this FAQ or on our Scheduling pages prior to contacting us. If you still have questions, we'd be happy to help.