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).
UKMLA harder than PLAB?
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.
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).
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.”
the MLA content map organised?
MLA is organised into six domains as illustrated here.
the UKMLA pass/fail?
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.
needs to take the UKMLA?
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.