GMC and MSC welcome agreement on Medical Licensing Assessment delivery model

Logo of the General Medical Council
Logo of the Medical Schools Council

The UK’s medical schools and parent universities have agreed to develop and deliver the Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) that will be embedded within final exams for a UK medical degree. Their work will be overseen and regulated by the General Medical Council.

To date UK medical schools have set their final exams independently in line with the GMC’s Outcomes for graduates. The major benefit of the MLA is that it will, for the first time, be possible to demonstrate that graduates from each medical school have met an agreed standard of proficiency and are well prepared to practise medicine as Foundation Year doctors. The MLA will provide assurance that anyone who obtains a UK medical degree has shown that they can meet a common and consistent threshold for safe practice before they are licensed to work in the UK.

The agreement means that the GMC will:

  • Define the range of professional skills, knowledge and behaviours a candidate needs to have achieved to be ready to practise medicine in the UK;
  • Approve procedures to compile test questions and papers, set standards and run exams;
  • Take corrective action if, through its quality assurance processes, it considers that standards are not met;
  • Be responsible for using information and data from the UK exams to apply a consistent approach to the assessment of international medical graduates.

Under this agreement UK university medical schools will continue to develop and deliver their own curricula and prepare students for the MLA which will be regulated by the GMC.

The exam will consist of two parts – an applied knowledge test (AKT), and a clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA).

Under this approach the UK’s medical schools will work together to:

  • Introduce an AKT that is centrally set for all UK medical schools with a common format, test standard, delivery process and policy framework;
  • Share insight and information from their work to establish the UK applied knowledge test so that the MLA can be evaluated and reviewed over time.


All of the UK’s medical schools and their parent universities have agreed that the assessment will be built on the MLA content map published by the GMC in 2019, and based on Good medical practice, Outcomes for graduates and the Generic professional capabilities framework.

A process of phased introduction will begin from 2021 with robust testing and piloting, and the assessment will be fully implemented for students graduating from UK medical schools from the academic year 2024/25.