The MLA and international medical graduates

  1. The MLA and UK students
  2. The MLA and international medical graduates

The MLA will replace the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test in 2022. PLAB is the current licensing test for international medical graduates (IMGs).

How will IMGs take the MLA?

The MLA has two parts.

  1. The applied knowledge test (AKT). This test will be the same for all UK students and IMGs. Each paper will be set by the GMC. We will decide the pass standard, guided by advice from experts in assessment. We're planning for the test to be run four times a year. We will run the test for IMGs at a number of locations worldwide. We may use delivery partners to help us do that.

    We intend that it will be a computer-based test for all candidates.

  2. The clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA). We will run a CPSA for IMGs at our clinical assessment centre. It will meet the same requirements that we will expect of UK medical schools.

We'll publish information on applying to take the MLA before it starts in 2022. Until then, you can still apply for the PLAB test.

Will IMGs have to pay to take the MLA?

Yes. IMG candidates will pay test fees, as they do at the moment for PLAB. As with PLAB, test fees for the MLA will be reviewed and may change.

What will happen if you've passed PLAB 1 but not PLAB 2 at the point we introduce the MLA?

We are looking at arrangements for doctors in this situation. We will publish them once we make a final decision. We intend that no-one should be disadvantaged in the way we switch from PLAB to the MLA.

What will happen if you've passed both parts of PLAB but not registered at the point we introduce the MLA?

We are looking at arrangements for doctors in this situation. We will publish them once we make a final decision. Our intention is that they should not be disadvantaged.

Will the MLA be the only way for an IMG to get on the register?

No. We propose to maintain other pathways used by IMGs to apply to register with a licence to practise. These routes include:

From December 2018, we are consulting on whether we continue these pathways.

Will doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA) have to take the MLA?

We hope that in future the law will allow us to test the knowledge and skills of EEA graduates through the MLA. Currently, it says that doctors from the EEA may register on the basis of their qualifications alone. Any change to this is subject to the outcome of negotiations on the UK leaving the EU.

Does this affect the temporary registration arrangements for eg team doctors at international sports events?

No. Those very specific arrangements will continue.

Where can you go to ask different questions and let us know what you think?

If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact our MLA team at mla@gmc-uk.org.