Exams and Qualifications

What is the UKMLA?

What is the UKMLA and when will it be introduced?

The United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA) is set to become a mandatory requirement for both UK graduates and international graduates, unlike the PLAB exams. The official launch is scheduled for early 2024, and the GMC are commencing pilot testing and monitoring MLA assessments until then.

UK students graduating in the academic year 2024-2025 will also need to pass the MLA as part of their medical school degree, before they can join the register.

How many parts will there be to the UKMLA?

The UKMLA will consist of two parts, just like the PLAB exams.

The first part of the UKMLA is the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT). This test will be a computer-based, multiple-choice exam. It will test your ability to apply medical knowledge to different scenarios similar to the current PLAB 1 exam.

The AKT will be the same for all UK students and International Medical Graduates (IMGs). The GMC will determine the pass criteria and the exam will be held four times per year. UK medical students will sit the exam within their schools and IMGs can take it at designated locations around the world.

The second part is the Clinical and Professional Skills Assessment (CPSA). This will be an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE), resembling the PLAB 2 exam. It will involve scenarios that reflect real-life settings, including a mock consultation or an acute ward. For IMGs, this assessment will be taken at the GMC’s Clinical Assessment Center in Manchester.

What if I have already taken PLAB 1?

If you have taken and passed the PLAB 1 exam before the UKMLA is rolled out, the GMC has stated instead of taking PLAB 2 you’ll take the CPSA. You will need to pass this within the validity period of your PLAB 1 test, which is currently three years. Upon successfully completing the CPSA, you can request registration with a licence to practise. Your application must receive approval within two years of passing the CPSA.

If you have attempted PLAB 1 but have not yet passed it, you can take the AKT exam. However, there will be a maximum number of attempts and any previous attempts at PLAB 1 will count towards this maximum number.

What is included in the UKMLA?

The UKMLA content is structured around three main themes and six sections.

The main themes are:

  1. Readiness for safe practice
  2. Managing uncertainty
  3. Delivering person-centred care

The six sections are:

  1. Areas of clinical practice
  2. Areas of professional knowledge
  3. Clinical and professional capabilities
  4. Practical skills and procedure
  5. Patient presentations
  6. Conditions