Breaking News: Introduction of  Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) Soon for PLAB Aspirants

In a significant development for medical professionals aspiring to practice in the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) has announced the forthcoming introduction of the UK Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA). Set to replace the existing Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) examinations, the UKMLA aims to streamline the licensing process and ensure the highest standards of competence and professionalism among international medical graduates.

Key Highlights:

  • Transition Date: The MLA is scheduled to be implemented in the year 2024.

  • Assessment Structure: The MLA will consist of a two-part assessment:

    • Applied Knowledge Test (AKT): Similar to PLAB 1, this will evaluate candidates' ability to apply medical knowledge to practical scenarios through an on-screen multiple-choice exam.
    • Clinical and Professional Skills Assessment (CPSA): Comparable to PLAB 2, this objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) will simulate real-life medical scenarios, ensuring candidates possess the necessary clinical and professional skills.
  • Global Accessibility: The AKT will be conducted four times a year at various international locations, maintaining accessibility for aspiring doctors worldwide.

  • Language Requirements: The introduction of MLA will not alter the existing English language proficiency requirements for medical practice in the UK. International graduates must continue to demonstrate proficiency to ensure safe patient care.

Phased Transition:

  • Until the full implementation of MLA in 2024, aspiring doctors can still opt for the PLAB examinations for registration purposes.

  • Graduates who have commenced or completed PLAB examinations will undergo a phased transition process based on their current status, ensuring a smooth transition to the new assessment framework.

Importance for Aspirants:

The introduction of MLA signifies a commitment to maintaining rigorous standards in medical practice within the UK healthcare system. Aspiring doctors should familiarize themselves with the upcoming changes and prepare accordingly to navigate the transition seamlessly. Stay updated for further announcements and guidance from the GMC regarding the implementation of MLA.

Changes to Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) for International Medical Graduates in the UK

Starting in 2024, international medical graduates seeking to practice in the UK will transition from the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) to the new Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA).

Assessment Structure:

Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

  • Administered by the General Medical Council (GMC).
  • On-screen multiple-choice exam.
  • Tests the application of medical knowledge in various scenarios, akin to PLAB 1.
  • Conducted four times annually at global locations, similar to PLAB 1.
  • Must be passed before attempting the Clinical and Professional Skills Assessment (CPSA).

Clinical and Professional Skills Assessment (CPSA)

  • An Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE).
  • Emulates real-life scenarios like mock consultations or acute ward situations.
  • Conducted at the GMC's clinical assessment center in Manchester.
  • Resembles the current PLAB 2 exam.

English Language Requirements:

  • MLA does not alter English language requirements.
  • International graduates must still demonstrate sufficient English proficiency for safe practice in the UK.

Phased Introduction of MLA:

Transition Period:

  • Until 2024, PLAB remains available for registration.
  • Graduates who have undertaken PLAB face different scenarios based on exam completion status.

Scenarios for PLAB Participants:

  1. Passed Both Parts of PLAB:

    • No change; application approval within two years of passing PLAB 2.
  2. Passed PLAB 1 but Not Attempted PLAB 2:

    • Take the CPSA within PLAB 1's validity period (currently three years).
    • Upon CPSA success, apply for registration within two years.
  3. Attempted PLAB 1 but Not Passed:

    • Sit the AKT within specified attempts limit.
    • Upon AKT success, complete CPSA within AKT's validity period.
  4. Passed PLAB 1 and Attempted PLAB 2, but Not Passed:

    • CPSA completion required; limited attempts apply.
    • Application for registration within two years of CPSA success.


The transition to MLA in 2024 brings changes to assessment processes for international medical graduates aiming to practice in the UK. Understanding the new structure and requirements is crucial for successful registration and practice.

Last modified: Saturday, 10 February 2024, 10:37 PM