UKMLA vs PLAB – What you need to know 2023-2024

 Heard about the PLAB VS UKMLA debate and wonder what this is all about? Understandably, there is much confusion regarding the upcoming change in the UK medical entry exam as per the GMC UK announcement. This sheer confusion was evident when the PLAB exam booking portal for the year 2023 opened few days back and all the slots were taken up in a matter of minutes. Here we will try to explain what the new exam UKMLA is all about and should you worry about it.

Background of the UKMLA exam

The thought process for the UKMLA was initiated in 2005, to design an exam for medical students to enter the medical register, with the aim that all the candidates whether local or international to be assesses by a standard exam. Prior to leaving the European Union, this was not feasbile due to EU freedom of movent regulations. However, the GMC started the groundwork in 2015 with the aim to shift the current assessment from PLAB to UKMLA from 2024 onwards.

The UKMLA exam is designed to ensure that medical doctors who wish to practice medicine in the UK have the necessary knowledge and skills to do so safely and effectively. It is an important part of the process of regulating the medical profession in the UK and helping to ensure the quality of medical care in the country.

What is UKMLA

UKMLA stands for “United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment“, The MLA will assess the fundamental knowledge, abilities, and behaviours of doctors starting to medical practise in the United Kingdom. It will increase patients’ trust in physicians commencing employment in the UK, regardless of where they were schooled or trained.

Is UKMLA confirmed, will it be replacing PLAB

Yes, the UKMLA exam is confirmed. For international medical graduates the exam will start from 2024 and will replace plab for UK/EU candidates the UKMLA will start from 2024/2025, as per GMC.

How is UKMLA assessment done

The MLA consists of two parts, assessment that gauges the knowledge as well as the clinical skills required as per the curriculum.

  1. Applied knowledge test (AKT) : The format of AKT will be multiple choice questions conducted on computer, for those familiar to plab, it will be similar to the current PLAB 1 exam. This exam assesses the candidates’ ability to apply their knowledge in different scenarios. 
  2. Clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA):  This will be a systematic objective clinical test (OSCE). It will include situations resembling real-life settings, such as a simulated consultation or an acute ward. The CPSA will resemble the present PLAB 2 test.

When ukmla will start

For international medical graduates, the UKMLA exam will start from 2024 and will replace the PLAB.
For local UK graduates and those from EU the proposed date is 2024/2025, exact date will be declared by GMC.

Will UKMLA be harder to pass than PLAB

This is a myth that has been circulating since the time UKMLA was announced, as per GMC, for the UKMLA exam, no further exam preparation or syllabi is required to be covered apart from what is already included in the current medical school curricula, the physical skills’ assessment is also part of the training schedules in medical schools.
As per our initial impression, the UKMLA exam difficulty will be comparable to the current PLAB.

How many times will be UKMLA be conducted

The UKMLA exam will be conducted 4 times each year, the exact schedule for MCQs and OSCE exam for the local graduates are being worked out, for International graduates, the MCQ exam will be conducted in several international centers similar to the PLAB 1 and the OSCE exam for IMGS will be conducted in Manchester UK.

Is UKMLA pass or fail exam

The exact marking schemes are yet to be released, however the UKMLA will be a pass/fail exam and candidates will need to pass the first part i.e. AKT in order to proceed to the second part i.e. CPSA.

Will EU graduates sit in UKMLA

The UKMLA exam is for all medical graduates whether from UK or outside who intend to enter the medical register gmc UK, irrespective of their medical schools. EU graduates will also be required to appear in UKMLA exam, the details for EU graduates are currently being worked out considering, trade and work related treaties post-brexit.

What are the fees for UKMLA exam

For local UK graduates there will be no extra fee for the UKMLA exam, it will be covered by the universities.
For international graduates, a UKMLA fee will be charged similar to the current one for PLAB.

UKMLA Preparation resources

Follow back to get UKMLA preparation resources book, MCQs and videos soon.

Scroll to Top