The Ultimate Guide for International Medical Graduates: Transitioning to the UK Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA)

Say goodbye to the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test and hello to the UK Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA) for international medical graduates aspiring to practice in the UK. The UKMLA aims to test the core knowledge, skills, and behaviors of doctors new to medical practice in the UK. It provides patients with increased confidence in doctors entering the UK workforce, regardless of their education or training background.

Starting in 2024, international medical graduates who currently take the PLAB will transition to the UKMLA. The exact date of this change will be announced in due time.

Who is this guide for?
International medical graduates applying for registration once the UKMLA is introduced.

What will this help you with?
This guide offers background information on the UKMLA but isn’t intended as a study guide.

Decisions regarding the necessity for EEA graduates to sit the UKMLA will be based on government-led agreements and trade deals. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

Alternative ways to join the register
The UKMLA consists of a two-part assessment: an applied knowledge test (AKT) and a clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA).

The Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)
The AKT is a multiple-choice exam designed to test your ability to apply medical knowledge in various scenarios. It will resemble the current PLAB 1 exam. The AKT will be available for international medical graduates four times a year at multiple locations worldwide. You must pass the AKT before attempting the CPSA. In the future, sample questions for the AKT will be provided to help you understand the test format.

The Clinical and Professional Skills Assessment (CPSA)
The CPSA is an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) that includes scenarios reflecting real-life settings. International medical graduates can take the CPSA at the clinical assessment center in Manchester, and it will be similar to the current PLAB 2 exam.

All UKMLA content will be derived from the UKMLA content map. In 2024, the PLAB blueprint will be replaced with the UKMLA content map, which outlines the core knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for UK practice.

As with the current PLAB test, there will be a fee for international medical graduates to take the UKMLA. The exact cost may change as fees are regularly reviewed.

Resitting the UKMLA
You must pass the UKMLA before applying for registration with a license to practice medicine in the UK. You can attempt the test up to four times, in line with the current PLAB resit policy.

English language requirements
The UKMLA won’t change the existing English language requirements for registration. You must still demonstrate the necessary knowledge of English to practice safely in the UK.

Until the introduction of the UKMLA in 2024, international medical graduates can still apply for the PLAB test if they wish to register with a license to practice in the UK. The information provided explains the transition process if you have completed one or both parts of the PLAB test when the UKMLA is introduced.

Credits: This blog post is based on information from the GMC’s International Medical Graduates’ Guide to the UKMLA.

Image by Freepik

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