Schapery’s nonlinear viscoelastic model is written in incremental form, and three different approximations of nonlinearity functions in the time increment are systematically analysed with respect to the convergence rate. It is shown that secant slope is the best approximation of the time shift factor, leading to significantly higher convergence rate. This incremental form of the viscoelastic model, Zapas’ model for viscoplasticity, supplemented with terms accounting for damage effect is used to predict inelastic behaviour of material in stress controlled tests. Then the incremental formulation is inverted to simulate stress development in ramps where strain is the input parameter. A comparison with tests shows good ability of the model in inverted form to predict stress–strain response as long as the applied strain is increasing. However, in strain controlled ramps with unloading, the inverted model shows unrealistic hysteresis loops. This is believed to be a proof of the theoretically known incompatibility of the stress and strain controlled formulations for nonlinear materials. It also shows limitations of material models identified in stress controlled tests for use in strain controlled tests.