About the Medical Licensing Assessment

How will I be assessed?

If you need to take the Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA), there will be a two-part assessment.

The first part is an applied knowledge test. UK medical graduates will probably take the test at the same time as their finals. International medical graduates who apply to work in the UK will take the test at the same time as they would take the existing Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) part one test. We would run the test.

The second part is an assessment of clinical skills. UK medical students will do this as part of their degree assessment. Their university will run the assessment and we will check that this meets our requirements. International medical graduates applying to the UK will take an assessment run by us, as they do at the moment, that meets the same requirements.

When will the MLA start?

Live MLA testing will begin in 2022. Between now and then, we are developing the MLA, which will include piloting and checking the MLA assessments.

What is the format of the MLA?

We are planning a two-part assessment:

  1. A test of applied knowledge. The test will be computer-based. It will be set by us. Our plan is that UK students will sit the test at their medical school. For international medical graduates, we will run the test at a number of locations around the world.
  2. An assessment of clinical and professional skills. For UK students, this will be delivered though their medical school’s clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA). We will assess these against a set of requirements to decide if they demonstrate that students meet the MLA threshold. For international medical graduates this will be delivered through a GMC-run CPSA.

We are now working on the detail of these two parts with medical schools and expert advisers. We will provide more information as soon as we can.

Who will pay?

  • There will be no new fees for the MLA.
  • International medical graduate candidates will pay test fees, as they do at the moment when they take PLAB.
  • There will be no additional charge for UK students to take the applied knowledge test. The cost of administering the test will be met us. The CPSA test for UK students will be done as part of their course and costs will be met by universities, including from course fees. 

Would a change in the law be needed to introduce a MLA?

No change in the law would be needed.

Will this create a bigger exam burden?

We will work with medical schools to explore how the applied knowledge test can fit into their programmes of assessment. We will also talk to medical schools about how the applied knowledge test might be used to meet some of their own assessment requirements.

For UK students, the MLA assessment of clinical and professional skills will be delivered through the medical schools’ existing clinical and professional skills assessments so will not be an additional burden to students. 

The burden of assessment for international medical graduates, will be broadly the same as the current PLAB tests.