Taking the MLA

We understand that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put significant pressure on health systems, doctors, medical schools and students, around the world. Because of this, we’ve decided to develop the MLA to a revised timeframe.

From early 2024, international medical graduates who would have sat our Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test will start to take the MLA, if they’re applying for registration with a licence to practise in the UK. The MLA will replace the PLAB test.

At the moment, EU law doesn’t allow us to assess doctors from the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

What the assessment involves

The MLA is a two-part assessment made up of an applied knowledge test and a clinical and professional skills assessment.

1 The applied knowledge test (AKT)

This will be an on-screen exam, with multiple choice questions. It will test your ability to apply medical knowledge to different scenarios. The type of questions will be like the current PLAB 1 exam.

We will set the AKT for international medical graduates. We will use information and data from the UK exams to ensure that the assessment is comparable and consistent, where appropriate. We expect that the test will run four times a year for international candidates, at a number of locations worldwide.

You’ll need to pass the AKT before you can take the clinical and professional skills assessment.

2 The clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA)

We will run a CPSA for international medical graduates at our clinical assessment centre in Manchester. It will be similar to the existing PLAB 2 exam.


The MLA content map tells you more about the topics and areas that your AKT and CPSA assessments could cover. In the future, we’ll provide sample questions for the AKT so that you can understand the format of the test.


As you do now for the PLAB test, as an international medical graduate, you’ll need to pay a fee to take the MLA. We will regularly review the fees, so the exact cost may change in the future.

Resitting the MLA

If you fail the MLA, you’ll have to take the assessment again before you can apply for registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK. 

We expect to set a maximum number of times you may attempt the MLA. We’re considering the exact number and will make sure there is a fair and robust appeals system in place.

English language requirements 

The MLA won’t change our English language requirements for registration. You’ll still need to prove that you have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely in the UK.


We believe that the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are critical to us being an effective regulator. These principles are at the heart of the work we’re doing to design and introduce this assessment.