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 two parts will be an applied knowledge test (AKT) and a clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA).

When will the MLA start?

MLA sittings will start in 2022. The requirement to have passed the MLA will apply to UK students entering their final year in Autumn 2022 for graduation in 2023 and after.

The MLA will replace PLAB in 2022.

What is the format of the MLA?

There will be a two-part assessment.

  1. The Applied Knowledge Test (AKT). This test will be the same for all UK students and international medical graduates. Each paper will be set by us. We will decide the pass standard, guided by advice from experts in assessment. We are planning to run the test four times a year.

    For UK medical students, we will provide the test paper to medical schools. Schools will decide which of the four sittings available in each year their students will take. For each sitting, we will deliver the test for international medical graduates. We'll do this at a number of locations worldwide, possibly using delivery partners.

    The intention is it will be a computer-based test for all candidates.

  2. The Clinical and Professional Skills Assessment (CPSA). For UK medical students, universities already run assessments of clinical and professional skills. We will set requirements that these assessments need to meet. If the medical school's clinical assessment meets those requirements, students who pass it will have passed the CPSA element of the MLA.

    The same requirements will apply to a GMC-run CPSA for international medical graduates. We'll deliver this at our Clinical Assessment Centre.

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?

We will not introduce new fees for the MLA.

International medical graduate candidates will pay test fees. They do this at the moment when they take PLAB. As with PLAB, test fees for the MLA will be reviewed and may change.

We will not charge UK students to take the AKT. We'll meet the cost of setting and providing the test. The CPSA for UK students will be part of their course, as now, 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?

The MLA will not require UK students to learn new or different content.

The CPSA will be delivered through the medical schools’ existing arrangements. So this will not be an additional burden to students.

We are working with medical schools to see how the AKT can fit into their programmes of assessment. We know some schools are already considering how it could replace an existing test. We believe this could be practical at many schools.

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