Update February 2024: a note about the introduction of the MLA content map

During 2024, the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test will become compliant with the requirements of the Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA). This will include replacing the PLAB blueprint with the MLA content map

We have now confirmed the dates when the MLA content map will be introduced for both PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 tests. 

PLAB and the MLA

What will happen to PLAB in 2024?

International medical graduates will continue to take our PLAB test, which in 2024 will become compliant with the MLA requirements. Candidates, however, will notice very little difference because the changes are to the quality assurance and construction of the test.

To meet the MLA requirements, we’ll replace the PLAB blueprint with the MLA content map from the following dates:

  • For PLAB 1, all tests sat on or after 8 August 2024 will be based on the MLA content map.
  • For PLAB 2, all tests sat on or after 17 May 2024 will be based on the MLA content map.
The MLA content map sets out the core knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for UK practice. Because PLAB already covers these areas, this transition will not affect candidates’ preparations for, or experience of, taking the test.

The eligibility criteria for PLAB will not change. This means that those who are currently eligible to take the test, will continue to be eligible in the future.

At this time, those with a relevant European qualification will not need to take the test due to current legislation. If this changes, we will provide updated information as soon as possible.

Alternative ways to join the register

International medical graduates will still have other routes to apply to register with a licence to practise. These routes include:

  • sponsorship
  • acceptable postgraduate qualifications
  • specialist registration
  • GP registration

You can explore if these options are for you by using our application registration tool.

What are the MLA requirements?

We are currently making sure that PLAB’s two parts meet the corresponding MLA requirements. This means:

However, these requirements are not for individual candidates. They're for us to meet in how we deliver the test. Medical schools in the UK will also need to meet these requirements in how they deliver the MLA to their students.

How will the introduction of the MLA content map affect candidates?

The MLA content map sets out the core knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for UK practice. Because PLAB part 1 and part 2 are already designed to test these areas, the standard of the test, and the types of questions and stations currently used, won’t change. Candidates’ experience on the test day will also remain the same.

The introduction of the content map should not impact any preparation that candidates have already done for the test. However, if you’ve used the PLAB blueprint to help you prepare, and you are sitting a test that will now be based on the MLA content map, then you should now refer to the MLA content map instead.

Will there be any further changes that affect candidates?

While we don’t expect to make any further changes at this stage, we will keep candidates up to date with the latest information about PLAB and the MLA.

However, please be assured that our current work to make PLAB compliant with the MLA requirements affects exam administrators, not individual candidates. 

The eligibility criteria, English language requirements, standard of the test, resit policies, experience on the day and validity periods, won’t change during this process. This means that candidates should continue to prepare for the test as they do now.  

Will the PLAB test be renamed?

The PLAB test will keep its current name because it can meet the MLA requirements without changing it. However, we plan to modernise the name of the test at a later date. 

Where can I find more information?

Candidates who want more practical information test should read our PLAB guides. Those with specific queries can contact us.