United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA)

The General Medical Council announced that all doctors who wish to work in the UK will have to set a standard which is the UKMLA exam to determine whether they are fit to practise. The full form of UKMLA is the United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment. This test will be given a working title of the United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA). The current Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test (PLAB) which is now taken by International Medical Graduates (IMGs) would be replaced by a new assessment.
For all those graduating from 2025 in the UK, and international medical graduates, this will be a requirement. For safe practice, the GMC has stated that the aim of the UKMLA is to set a common threshold.

How will the UKMLA work?

There is two-part in UKMLA: the AKT (applied knowledge test) and the CPSA (clinical and professional skills assessment). In the MLA learning outcomes, both components will assess a range of knowledge and competencies. By the local medical school, the AKT will be made up of 150 to 200 single, best-answer questions chosen from a question bank.
Exploring ways to integrate this into existing medical school structures, the GMC and MSC are there but it is unclear how this will be achieved owing to the variety. From medical school finals, The CPSA will not be a separate exam. To confirm it fits with GMC requirements a quality assurance process of running it alongside existing practical exams (e.g. OSCEs) will take place, so it can be fully integrated into existing structures.

When will the UKMLA be implemented?

For national pilots, the students who are graduating in 2025 will now be the first to sit the UKMLA exams, rather than those graduating in 2024, with UK medical schools eligible. For ensuring consistency in the proposed AKT portion of the UKMLA the GMC also announced changes to the process. To ensure the interests of students are taken into consideration throughout the UKMLA development process, we gained a seat at the MSC working table. We need to avoid further strain on an already pressurized group of students.
We have influenced MSC policy on allocation of reasonable adjustments, applications for mitigating circumstances, during the past months, the number of attempts and equality impact assessment for the AKT.
On the introduction of the UKMLA and are committed to ensuring that student interests are central to its development we remain in close conversation with the GMC and tMSC .

Do UK students  have permission  to sit the UKMLA exam?

From outside the European Union, all students in UK medical schools and doctors will need to pass the UKMLA. For all candidates, the GMC is proposing that the UKMLA should be integrated into medical school finals, and conducted on the same day. To decide the finer details of how the UKMLA can fit into their programmes of assessment, this is still however working progress with medical schools.

Preparing for the UKMLA

  • For the UKMLA the GMC says that our degree course is the best preparation – and that we won’t need to learn anything beyond what’s already covered in our medical school’s curriculum.
  • The topics and areas that the assessments will cover, the MLA content map can be viewed here and shown.
  • Which sets out what newly qualified doctors from UK medical schools must know and be able to do it all based on the Outcomes for graduates.
  • Students always need to make sure their graduates are meeting these outcomes – so hopefully, our medical schools are preparing us already!


What the UKMLA Syllabus Will Cover

  • Areas of clinical practice
  • Clinical and professional capabilities
  • Areas of professional knowledge

UKMLA Syllabus Components

Areas of Clinical Practice

Possible subjects of interest:

  • Acute medicine
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular
  • Child health
  • Dermatology
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Endocrine and metabolic
  • General practice
  • Infection
  • Mental health
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurosciences
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Palliative and end of life care
  • Renal and urology
  • Respiratory
  • Surgery
  • Sexual health

Areas of Professional Knowledge

  • Allergy and immunology
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Clinical biochemistry
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Genetic and genomics
  • Histopathology
  • Hematology
  • Medical ethics and law
  • Microbiology
  • Psychological principles
  • Social and population health

Clinical & Professional Capabilities

  • History taking
  • Assessment and management plans for chronic conditions
  • Assessment and management plans to prevent disease
  • Dealing with uncertainty and complexity
  • Management and task prioritization
  • Understanding patient capacity, consent and confidentiality
  • Pain management
  • Patient safeguarding
  • Use of evidence-based guidelines

Eligibility Requirements for GMC Registration

  1. Primary Medical Qualification (MBBS or MBChB) is required.
  2. Knowledge of the English language (only for IMGs) is required.
  3. The UKMLA.

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Will UKMLA be harder than PLAB?

Yes UKMLA is harder than PLAB.

How is UKMLA different from PLAB?

Unlike the PLAB exam, UKMLA will be a requirement for both UK graduates and international graduates.

Do UK graduates have to sit the UKMLA exam?

Yes, every student will need to pass the UKMLA, students in UK medical schools and doctors from outside the European Union.

How much will the UKMLA cost?

For the MLA the GMC has not officially stated the fees.The type of registration you are applying for depends on it.for PLAB part 1 and part 2, expect a fee to pay somewhere between €1,000 – €1,100

Who Will Need to Take the UKMLA

  1. UK graduates.
  2. EEA graduates.
  3. Non-UK/EEA graduates.

What does the assessment involve?

The Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

The GMC has said that an onscreen exam is based on an MCQ type format. Only on the IMG section of the website, is it mentioned that the type of questions will be similar to the current PLAB 1.
Whether the AKT for UK medical students will be the same as for international graduates is not clear.

The clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA)

Such as an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) or Objective Structured Long Examination Record (OSLER), each medical school can call the CPSA type exams something different.
A practical exam will assess your clinical skills and professionalism.
The GMC will be similar to the PLAB 2 exam on the international graduate section of its website.