About the MLA

At present, there are many different pathways for doctors from all over the world to find employment in the UK. However, a recent poll of patients found that most patients would feel comfortable if there was a single assessment for all doctors working in the UK.

Based on the above information, the GMC has approved plans to create a new licensing exam, Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA). The MLA will replace the PLAB exam. All the doctors who wish to practice in the UK, including the international medical graduates and the UK medical graduates (with a few possible exceptions), will have to take the MLA.



The process of implementing the MLA was under consultation until 30 April 2017. The decisions regarding next steps for the MLA will be made public on 31 December 2017. You can keep an eye on the latest developments regarding the MLA if you follow the news centre on the GMC website.


Timeline for Implementation of the MLA

The consultation page and document mention that there would be rounds of piloting for the MLA before making it live for IMGs and the UK graduates in 2022.

Who Will Need to Take the MLA

  1. UK graduates.
  2. EEA graduates.
  3. Non-UK/EEA graduates.


Exemptions to the MLA

It is entirely possible that not everyone might have to take the MLA. This is what the GMC has to say about the exemptions,

“We have no wish to erect unnecessary barriers to good doctors coming to practise in the UK, particularly given the current shortages in some specialties. We will review the current exemptions and consult separately on this issue before introducing the MLA.”

Source: Page 26 The MLA consultation document.


Eligibility Requirements for the MLA

These are unclear at the moment.


Eligibility Requirements for GMC Registration

After the MLA is introduced, these will be the eligibility requirements for GMC registration:

  1. Primary Medical Qualification (MBBS or MBChB).
  2. Knowledge of the English language (only for IMGs).
  3. The MLA.


The Cost of the Exam

The cost of the exam is also unclear. However, it is proposed that the overseas candidates pay the exam fee, while the cost for UK candidates would be met by the GMC and by the medical schools.


The Format of MLA

Just like PLAB, the MLA is expected to have two parts:

  1. Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs).
  2. Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).


Scoring System

This is also unclear at the moment.


Question Banks

The GMC is considering the idea of including PLAB 1 and 2 question banks in the MLA.


The MLA Part 1 – UK Venue

Each medical school in the UK is expected to hold the test as a part of their final exams.


The MLA Part 1 – Overseas Venue

This is unclear at the moment.


The MLA Part 2 – UK Venue

Two options are being considered at the moment:

  1. Delivering the test at each UK university.
  2. Delivering the test at a limited number centres across the UK.

The GMC has ruled out a third option of one clinical assessment centre for everyone.


The MLA Part 2 – Overseas Venue

The MLA Part 2 is not expected to be held overseas.



The major source of information for this post was the GMC’s consultation document regarding the MLA.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. When will the MLA start?

As explained above, it is expected to begin from 2022.

2. Will I have to take the MLA?

It depends on when you graduate and when the GMC decides to implement the MLA for IMGs. It’s best to keep an eye on the news for latest developments.

3. Would the MLA Part 1 be a part of the UK medical school final exams or would the UK medical students have to take a separate MLA exam?

“We envisage that UK medical students would take the MLA test of clinical and professional skills as part of their university finals.”

Source: Page 14 of The MLA consultation document.

4. Would the MLA Part 2 be a part of the UK medical school final exams or would the UK medical students have to take a separate MLA exam?

“We could consider whether it would be appropriate for some universities to embed the MLA stations in their own OSCEs, and for others to provide separate OSCEs for the MLA stations.”

Source: Page 15 of The MLA consultation document.

5. Will the MLA be of the same difficulty level as PLAB?

There is no way of knowing that before time. But the GMC is considering the idea of including PLAB’s question banks in the MLA. This is a good sign because the PLAB test is very easy.

6. If the MLA is implemented after I have passed PLAB 1 and before I have passed PLAB 2, will I need to take the MLA?

You might have to appear in part 2 of the MLA, but this is unclear at the moment, as there is not enough information available. The GMC will make this clear well before time.

58 thoughts on “About the MLA

  1. Assalamoalikum Dr.Naseer .
    So basically plab is still there for imgs until 2022 when The ukmla finally takes over?.

  2. This is not clarifying. For imgs – when do we have to clear the whole process before 2019 or 2022? This is the part which is confusing us. Please let us know.

    1. Because it’s not clear right now. The GMC hasn’t decided yet. But the proposed timeline suggests that UKMLA will not begin for IMGs before 2022.

  3. Hello sir According to your blog person should apply for ielts ukvi academic for foundation year programme but if my FY1 has already been done in my native country do i need to still sit in ukvi exam for work visa???

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Hello, both IELTS Academic and IELTS UKVI are good for Foundation Year program. However, it has the requirement of 7.5 in each of the four areas and an overall score of 7.5 as well. If you have completed FY1 in your home country, then you will NOT need IELTS to apply for SHO or non-training FY2 or CT1/ST1 jobs. 🙂

  4. Hello Sir. I have two questions.
    A) if we pass plab1 and 2 i the next year (2018) do we still need to give ukmla in 2022?
    B) if i give plab 1&2 now, and take a break of say 3-4 years, is my plab still applicable? In short, plab is for life right?

    1. A) As long as you acquire your GMC registration before UKMLA is introduced, you will not need to sit UKMLA.

      B) The above answer stands true. But you will need to pay fee for GMC registration every year and get your appraisals done as well.

      1. How much is the GMC registration fee?
        And could you also tell me what are appraisals?
        Im sorry if my questions seem dumb.

    In my internship certificate what should I input DATES,MONTHs OR WEEKS as duration?example: GENERAL MEDICINE(CARDIOLOGY,GASTRO,ETC) :12 WEEKS FROM-TO(Y/M/D) 2016/10/17 TO 2017/01/08.
    my certificate is in this layout:
    1/For medicine(cardio,gastro,nephro,endo,neuro,hemato&onco,resp.&infectious diseases)=12 weeks
    2/general surgery(allied branches)and orthpaedics:12 weeks
    3/OBG &Family planning &MCH=10 WEEKS

    PLEASE SIR CORRECT ME IF AM WRONG ANYWHERE…and how many months I need to spend on each department to become eligible for full registration with GMC?

    1. You need 3 months each in medicine and surgery (allied count). Since your rotations are very complicated, it’s best to contact GMC and take their opinion on this. I am sorry for not being more helpful.

  6. hello sir ,
    i graduate in jan. 2019 , is it possible i can take plab or ukmla being alive mean plab is dead by 2019 ?!

  7. My situation is quite complicated here.. I’ll graduate my medical school in 2020.. Basically I have a mandatory Military Service for about 2 years starting 2021.. So If I managed to take the PLAP 1 before 2022 and then got stuck with my military service until 2023 will I be able to take the PLAP 2 in 2023 or not?

    1. This is unclear at the moment. The GMC will announce this well before time as to what will be the options for candidates who have already taken PLAB 1 but waiting for PLAB 2 when the UKMLA goes live.

  8. Hi Dr

    I am an img graduating in june 2019. Is it true that we can’t do fy1 in uk as we are not british or eu citizens? Also when will we find out when ukmla is going live? I hope i can do the plab in time soon after graduating in june 2019.

    1. 1. This is not true. You can go for FY1. But for non-UK/EEA citizens, it is not easy to get into FY1. And this route is not advisable at all for non-UK/EEA citizens.

      2. We might know more when the consultation results are made public on 31 December 2017. I have a feeling that you will be able to take PLAB, as I do not expect the UKMLA to begin before 2022.

      1. Hi sir,
        why is it hard for a non- uk citizen to get into FY1?
        I am a Canadian citizen studying medicine in Pakistan. I will graduate in 2020. i wanna give my PLABs and come for FY1 directly rather than completing it in Pakistan.
        Can you guide me accordingly.

      2. Because nearly all of those seats are taken by local graduates.

        I wouldn’t advise you to target FY1 training in the UK.

  9. So this is insead of plab only? So i can register with mrcs or others without ukmla!?

  10. AOA sir. I have a question. If I have done my IELTS and Plab 1 by 2019 and the UKMLA gets implemented for IMG’s, then will my Plab 1 be cancelled and i would have to sit the UKMLA or would there be some sort of relaxation.

  11. Hello Sir…Hope my msg finds u well. My question could be odd. I am a graduate since nearly now 20 years and want to look somewhere like the UK….i know my training at home wont be recognized and i am not sure if my case would apply from many aspects. Can u kindly give me ur kind opinion how in my case things would work out?

  12. Dear Sir, forgive me if its a stupid question but i have to ask, if i do my housejob in Pakistan, will i have to work as FY1 or i can go directly for FY2 ?

  13. Hello dear doctor
    My question.. is the ukmla will be two part like plab or three parts like usmle ?

    1. Just like PLAB, the UKMLA is expected to have two parts:

      1. Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs).
      2. Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

      I have mentioned this in the post.

  14. Yes I have read that but are you sure about that .. did you hear something about that ?
    Because some people saying its like usmle including three parts

  15. Thank you doctor for answering me
    Which document sir can you give me the link of it please .
    And if the decument said there will be two parts in ukmla so why you said in your post that it is expection not final decision

  16. Oh the decument you mean the table in the post .. yeah I have read it .. but which part in it mean that the assessment will be two part .
    I very thank you doctor for answering many times on my question and giving me from your expensive time 🌹

  17. Aha this link I didn’t see it before i will read it now .
    Can you give me in which pages specificly saying about the format of the assessment .
    So now we can say the exam is to part surly no as expection .

  18. sir,I am a undergraduate student.I will complete my graduation with my internahip when UKMLA replaces the PLAB.I have a things to know.

    Will job offer same as now in uk after 4or5 years later??Because getting a job is very important after completing the plab exam.

    Will there any possibility of shortage of job after 4or 5 years?

    Will there any changes to enter into ct1 or st1 when UKMLA itroduce to the system.

      1. Yes it is difficult.but now you are working in the uk and I think you better know about the circumstances than anyone.If I ask you to answer the job related question, using your common sense then what will be your answer.What will your sense says?

  19. Sir, i am a Canadian citizen and studying medicine in Pakistan. I want to know if being a Canadian citizen will help me getting matched into foundation year compared to other countries e.g Pakistan, india etc.

  20. Hello Dr, may I ask if I were to complete my Plab exams at 2021 but apply for GMC Registration at 2022, does UKMLA applies to me?

  21. Hello Sir, this blog has been an incredible help to me. I would like to ask how long it usually takes to complete the whole process of completing the academy, study for PLAB 2, get the results and get registered to GMC usually takes, taking into consideration that I will have completed my ILETs, and PLAB 1 and immediately leave for the uk after my house job.

    1. Only time will tell how you should study for it. Right now, no one can advise you about this since it does not exist now and there is PLAB in place. It would be best to stay updated about the latest happenings.

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