OSCE Now Delivered at Touchstone Institute (Information and FAQs)

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) FAQs

What is IENCAP?

The IENCAP (IEN Competency Assessment Program) is a standardized examination designed to test the knowledge, skills and communication abilities of an Internationally Educated Registered Nurse. It consists of:

  • MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions): a short, written multiple-choice exam that tests general nursing knowledge.
  • OSCE (Objective Structures Clinical Examination): a series of mock client examinations in a clinical setting. 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.

For more details: http://www.touchstoneinstitute.ca

Why have I been asked to complete an OSCE?

After assessing your academic credentials the College has determined that your nursing program does not meet the program equivalency requirement for Ontario registration. You have been be asked to complete an Objective Structured Clinical Examination to demonstrate your nursing knowledge, skills and judgement before the College can proceed with your application.  Administered at the Touchstone Institute (formerly known as the Centre for the Evaluation of Health Professionals Educated Abroad) in Toronto, the OSCE gives applicants the opportunity to demonstrate their nursing knowledge, judgment and skills.

How does the OSCE work?

  1. Following application to register as an RN in Ontario, the College of Nurses (CNO) assesses the application to determine if the applicant’s educational background meets program requirements.
  2. 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.
  3. Once the College has confirmed that you consent to an OSCE evaluation, Touchstone Institute will provide you with information about how to apply online and schedule your appointment.
  4. The OSCE and the MCQ are both completed on the same day at Touchstone Institute’s offices in Toronto.
  5. Candidates should expect to be at Touchstone Institute between five and six hours.


How many times can I do the OSCE?

One time only!
It is critical that you prepare in all 3 areas:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Communication

 How can CARE Centre help me prepare for the OSCE?


  • CARE Centre offers an Enhanced Communication Skills Workshop. Client interviews are an important part of the IENCAP (Competency Assessment Program)/OSCE. It is important to know what questions to ask; however, it is equally important to ask those questions in a clear and culturally appropriate manner. Members who have completed the OSCE all report the importance of good communication. Before confirming your OSCE appointment date consult with your case manager regarding your preparation.
  • Health Force Ontario offers frequent OSCE Preparation Sessions for Internationally Educated Nurses. These sessions include an overview of an OSCE, review of common questions and problems associated with an OSCE and practice with stems. Check the website for details regarding dates, locations, eligibility criteria and registration information: http://www.healthforceontario.ca/en/M4/Access_Centre/Information_Sessions/Nurses
  • Many Community Colleges will be offering OSCE preparation workshops. Check websites for details regarding dates, eligibility criteria and registration information.


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 confirmation from Touchstone Institute of your completion of the OSCE evaluation.

Can I change my OSCE date?


Contact Touchstone Institute. All candidates changing their examination date will be charged an administration fee.  Please note all date change requests must be received at least 30 days prior to any scheduled exam. All exam date changes are contingent on availability.

What areas are assessed in the MCQ?

The IEN Objective Written Exam (MCQ) consists of questions based on five RN Entrance to Practice Competency Domains:

  • Professional Responsibility & Accountability
  • Specialized Body of Knowledge
  • Ethical Practice
  • Service to the Public
  • Professional Self-Regulation

What areas 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:

  • History and Data Collection
  • Physical Examination
  • Communication Skills
  • Planning
  • Competent Professional Practice
  • Safe Practice
  • Ethical Practice
  • Collaboration
  • Evaluation

When will I get the results?

In approximately eight weeks, the College will receive the evaluation results. These results will determine whether the applicant has demonstrated entry-to-practice competencies in order to meet the program requirement.

What if I fail the OSCE?

Unsuccessful 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.

Who do I contact if I have any other questions about the OSCE?

Contact your CARE Centre case manager for questions regarding preparation for the OSCE.

For questions about the examination itself, including upcoming testing dates and directions to the testing centre, contact “Touchstone Institute (www.touchstoneinstitute.ca)” at 416 924-8622 or email info@tsin.ca.

Contact the College of Nurses of Ontario for questions about the registration process, including questions about how to appeal a decision requiring you to take the OSCE.