020 7584 5818Facebook


What is the UKMLA?

The MLA is a two-part test that will set a common threshold for safe medical practice in the UK, for both students graduating from UK medical schools and all international students wishing to practise in the United Kingdom. For international students the UKMLA will replace the PLAB examination from 2024 and for students at UK medical schools it will become a requirement for those graduating in the academic year 2024/2025 onwards.

What is the format of the UKMLA?

The UKMLA will consist of two components – The applied knowledge test (AKT) and the Clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA).

The AKT will be a multiple-choice question format based on single best answer (SBA) questions. For international students questions will be similar to those on the current Section 1 of the PLAB exam and it is expected the total number of questions will range from 150 to 200.

The CPSA will be similar to the PLAB 2 exam and will be administered at the GMC’s Clinical Assessment Centre in Manchester (if you are an international medical graduate). This is a practical exam that assesses clinical skills and professionalism.

For UK based students taking the UKMLA the exams will mirror the current practical examinations you already take at your medical school. CPSA-type exams may be referred to via a variety of different terms such as an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) or an Objective Structured Long Examination Record (OSLER).

Is UKMLA harder than PLAB?

Until the full introduction of the UKMLA it is difficult to make full comparisons, other than the nature of the two examinations. It is likely however that many students who would have sat PLAB 1 will probably find the AKT more challenging.

The AKT examination will replace PLAB 1 and the overall skills assessed will in general be similar in nature (although the AKT will be computerised). The CPSA examination will replace PLAB 2 and so is expected to mirror the same clinical and professional assessments as would have been tested previously.

The purpose of the Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) is to ensure that doctors seeking registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK have met a common threshold for safe practice that is appropriate to their point of entry to the medical register. As such the MLA has been developed according to the GMC’s content map which is outlined in Outcomes for Graduates (2018).

Why is the UKMLA being introduced?

This is perhaps best answered by the chair of the GMC who said that it should introduce a more “straightforward and transparent route” to medical practice in the UK, “We believe it would be fairer and more reassuring for the public for there to be a standard for entry to the register that everyone can rely on. Over time we are confident that the UKMLA will help to drive up standards and that it could become an international benchmark test for entry to medicine.”

How is the MLA content map organised?

The MLA is organised into six domains as illustrated here.










Is the UKMLA pass/fail?

The UKMLA will be a simple pass/fail examination and students will need to pass the AKT examination before progressing to the CPSA. There will be no fixed percentages on the number of people who pass or fail and so in theory everyone taking the examination can pass a particular sitting.

Who needs to take the UKMLA?

All medical students graduating from UK universities during the academic year 2024/2025 and onwards, will be required to pass the MLA as part of their degree before they can join the medical register. International doctors who want to practise in the UK and who currently take PLAB will need to take the MLA from 2024.