​​​​​What to expect — Simulation​ Lab Assessment — Maritime Canada

Please Note: Independent, private organizations may offer NCAS preparation courses. ​​NCAS has not reviewed, approved or endorsed any of these programmes, and cannot attest as to whether or not they will help your performance on the NCAS assessment.

​You must bring:

  • email confirmation of your scheduled appointment
  • a stethoscope
  • snacks and a water bottle for your short break during the assessment
  • you must wear clothing appropriate to the nursing role in which you are being assessed
  • one form of non-expired, government-issued, photo- and signature-bearing ID 

​Note: If one piece of ID does not have your name, photo and signature, you may present two pieces of non-expired, government-issued ID that together demonstrate all three requirements.

Acceptable forms of primary ID include:

  • driver's license
  • government-issued ID
  • government-issued work ID
  • military ID
  • NEXUS card
  • Passport
  • permanent resident visa or green card
  • provincial health card (if photo is included)

Acceptable forms of secondary ID include:

  • provincial or state health card
  • social security card (US)
  • study permit (must be original and non-expired)

Candidates are encouraged to bring as few personal belongings as possible.

Items that will be put in a locker: 

  • Purses, wallets, food, drink
  • Any electronic devices: phones, tablets, laptop or notebook computers, watches, fitness trackers, calculator
  • Pens, pencils, pen lights 
  • Paper, books, notebooks 
  • Bags, briefcases
  • Any other personal items deemed by NCAS or the test administrator to be not appropriate for a testing environment​


All SLA asses​sments in Maritime Canada take place at the NCAS Assessment Centre, located within the Centre for Collaborative Learning and Research at Dalhousie Uni​versity in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Detailed site directions are provided​​​ with confirmation of your scheduled SLA.

What to expect

You must show up 2​​​​0 minutes in advance​ of your scheduled appointment, have your stethoscope, and be dressed in scrubs. For information on NCAS' COVID-19 protocols, please click ​h​ere.

When you arrive at the NCAS Assessment Centre

  • The Assessment Centre Coordinator will provide an orientation to the simulation lab and equipment.
  • You will be reminded about the video consent form and confidentiality form you signed prior to attending your assessment.
  • You will put your personal belongings in a secure area to which you will have no access until after the full assessment is complete.
  • You will watch an orientation video about the simulation assessment.


The objective of the Simulation Lab Assessment is to provide you an opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in a series of simulated patient encounters. Candidates visit four stations in the simulation lab and take on the role of a nurse. Each room is set up to reflect a specific kind of practice setting, and to allow for a specific assessment or treatment to be performed allowing you to demonstrate a full breadth of nursing practice.  The rooms may look like an acute or chronic care facility. 

At the start of each station, you will receive a chart with a brief written statement that introduces the presenting clinical problem and states the task you will need to perform. The chart also includes a variety of supporting documents to assist in the planning of care. You will be given five minutes to review the chart.  You should act in each scenario as you would in a real-life practice setting.  

When you walk into the assessment room, you will find the following:

  • Standardized patient (a live actor), or a high-fidelity mannequin.
  • An assessor who will evaluate your performance.
  • Paper, pencil , and calculator 
  • Clock
  • Station props based on the context of the setting.  For example, you may see a monitor, medication cart, blood pressure cuff, etc.

Here is a list of equipment you might encounter based on the context of the setting:

  • Wheelchair
  • Walker/cane
  • Bedpan
  • Commode/toilet
  • Foley and urine drainage bag
  • Meal tray and feeding implements; water
  • Bed-rails and brakes 
  • Call bell
  • Oxygen
  • Linen cart

​A camera technician will be recording the assessment from a nearby observation area. Additional people may be present in the observation room; this is solely for training purposes and their presence has no impact on your scoring.  

You will also notice cameras in the assessment room that will record your performance. The first thing the assessor will have you do is face one of the cameras, and state your name and NCAS ID. 

Once you enter the room, you will have five minutes to read the chart. You may make notes (paper will be provided). The assessor will indicate when you may begin the simulation. Each of the four simulations will run 40 minutes, for a total of 45 minutes at each station. The assessor will notify you when your time is up. If you have completed your nursing practice before the time is up, review the chart to make sure you have not missed anything. After each role play, you will take part in the Oral Assessment, which comprises a series of questions posed by the assessor – the standardized patient is not part of the oral assessment. 

When you have finished your oral assessment, you will be asked to leave the room. You will be met outside by NCAS staff and asked to take a seat outside the next assessment room.


Licensed Practical


Registered Nurses (RN)

& ​

Dual Track RN/LPN

  • Candidates will move through three stations of unfolding case scenarios.
  • Two stations will involve a face-to-face encounter with a standardized patient (trained actor).
  • One station will involve a high-fidelity mannequin.
  • It will take 25 minutes to complete your work at each station.
  • You should expect to be at the simulation lab for approximately 3 hours to complete the assessment. ​

  • ​Candidates will move through five stations of unfolding case scenarios.
  • Two stations will involve a face-to-face encounter with a standardized patient (trained actor).
  • Three stations will involve a high-fidelity mannequin.
  • It will take 25 minutes to complete your work at each station.
  • You should expect to be at the simulation lab for approximately 4 hours to complete the assessment. ​​