Mature Student Nursing

We are Ireland's No. 1 preparation course provider for the entrance exam taken by mature student nursing / midwifery applicants.

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COVID-19 Update

Courses will be taking place as scheduled in February 2021 with strict adherence to social distancing rules and measures in line with official Public Health guidelines. In the event that the Covid -19 health crisis impacts on the delivery of our 2021 day courses, we will have online contingency plans in place to ensure your preparation is delivered in an online classroom format.

Mature Student Nursing / Midwifery

Each year we at Career Services successfully prepare hundreds of candidates just like you for the assessment test for mature nursing / midwifery applicants. We know it’s a daunting process but don’t worry our highly acclaimed course will give you all the tools you need to take your assessment with confidence!

Am I a mature applicant?

If you are aged 23 years or over, you are classified as a mature applicant. Mature applicants can apply for nursing / midwifery degree courses but they must also pass The Assessment Test as part of their application. Applicants are judged on the results of The Assessment Test instead of their Leaving Certificate Exam (or equivalent) results. 


Getting Started About The Assessment Test

Thinking of Applying?

So, you have decided to or are thinking about the brave decision of going back to college to study for a nursing / midwifery degree as a mature student. That’s fantastic! Maybe this is the career you have always wanted to pursue or maybe it’s just something you have recently decided upon, either way, becoming a nurse or midwife is an exceptional career decision.

Being a nurse / midwife provides individuals with a great deal of personal fulfilment. In addition, nurses and midwives understand that they are making a difference in the lives of the people they care for on a daily basis.  Hence, it is a very popular career path for mature students. 

However, this popularity also means that each year the number of mature applicants is significantly higher than the number of places available and subsequently the selection process for mature students for nursing / midwifery degree courses in Ireland is highly competitive. 

We are here to help make sure that you succeed, and the purpose of this page is to give you the knowledge that you require to help you achieve your goal. We believe our 'Getting Started' section is always a good place to begin. 

Getting Started
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Excited about pursuing nursing but worried about the Assessment Test?

You are not alone! Those that went before you all felt the same way. Many applicants worry about these kinds of tests. We often hear concerns like “Maths isn’t my strong point”, “I am not a fast reader”, “I find numbers difficult”, “I panic in exams” …

Sound familiar?

Our Preparation Course is proven to reduce these fears and boost your confidence for the assessment test.

We are here for you through the process and will guide you all the way.

Want to see what applicants say after attending our course?

See Testimonials

Some Useful Guidance

These are the three main steps in applying for a nursing/midwifery degree course as a mature applicant:

1. Apply to the CAO

Like all candidates wishing to apply for a 3rd level nursing or midwifery degree course in Ireland you will have to apply for your course through the CAO before the 1st of February on their website

2. Register with PAS (Public Appointments Service)

Upon successfully applying for your 3rd level nursing course through the CAO website you will be eligible to sit The Assessment Test for mature applicants, which usually takes place is April of each year. In order to sit the exam you will need to apply to sit the assessment test through the PAS website. It's important to note that there is a difference between registering an account on the PAS website and applying to take the test through the PAS website. You must first register (create an online account) with them and then you will be able to apply to sit the test between a certain time frame (generally available between start February - mid February) . This is a very important step. It is only possible to apply to take the test between the dates that are selected by PAS but you can create an online account (register) with them at any stage. 

3. The Assessment Test and Preparation

The Assessment Test will likely be a computer-based assessment as it was for the 2018 exam. The official assessment is conducted by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) on behalf of the Nursing Career Centre (NCC) and usually takes place in April of each year.   The assessment test has three test sections: Numerical, Verbal and Job Simulation Exercises.  You must be successful in Assessment Test before being considered for on an offer for your chosen nursing degree course.

Here at Career Services we provide the number one preparation course for The Assessment Test. Our course has had unprecedented success and has helped thousands of applicants achieve their dream of being accepted into their chosen nursing / midwifery degree course. When you hear your colleagues referring to a preparation course for this exam, it is the Career Services preparation course that they are talking about! But don't just take our word for it, see what mature students just like you have to say about our course here: Testimonials 

Preparation Course
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Some helpful advice

Free Guide

CAO Application

When filling out your CAO application, mature student nurse applicants should apply to as many colleges as possible and also to the different forms of nursing courses available. You can apply for up to 10 courses and by doing this you are increasing your chances of success because it is easier to get into some courses and colleges than others.

Watch the CAO's Guide Video for Mature Applicants here 

Remember: You must read the CAO Handbook and follow the instructions provided in the application form before submitting an application.


No Regrets!

Some former applicants have regretted that they did not utilize all their options in their CAO application form and learned afterwards that they would have been successful if they chose other nursing courses (Children’s and General Nursing, General Nursing, Intellectual Disability Nursing, Midwifery, Psychiatric Nursing) or other colleges which had lower entry requirements. You should not allow geographical distance or different types of nursing courses to prevent you from completing the ten choices available. You can always decline or accept an offer of a place but at least that opportunity of acceptance or rejection may not have been provided to if you if you had not filled in the ten options in the CAO form.


Further Information

For further application information it is essential that you go to the website and download the invaluable booklet “Nursing and Midwifery a Career for you” which guides you through the application process.

Also see below for CAO contact information

C.A.O. Office

Central Applications Office, 
Tower House, 
Eglinton Street, 
Galway, Ireland. 
Tel. +353-(0)91-509800 
Fax +353-(0)91-562344


Best of luck!


The following is a report written by a mature student who was successful in her application

The report is in her own words. Thank you Sophie for sharing your experience from all of us at Career Services.

"I’ve wanted to do Nursing since as far back as I can remember"....

Read More
mature student experience

Why choose us?

What is it worth knowing that you are giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed in the assessments?

Our experience has shown us that the most serious applicants do not believe in taking shortcuts. Neither do we. We focus on providing the highest quality preparation and have done so for over 30 years. As a result, our courses are the best in the market.

Simply put, we give you the best opportunity of succeeding!

Preparation Course
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Years of Experience


Percent Satisfaction


Thousand Happy Clients


Percent Exam Pass Rate


Career Services is a privately run education company. We have no affiliation to the Public Appointments Service (PAS). It is the PAS who run The Assessment Test on behalf of An Bord Altranais. We base our preparation courses on the types of tests that have appeared in previous years and have had great success with this method. Our courses aim to give candidates the very best tuition with the information that is available at the time of the preparation course but obviously we can take no responsibility for any future changes that the PAS make to the exam.