GMC announces plan to develop UK Medical Licensing Exam for all doctors wishing to practise in the UK.

GMC announces plan to develop UK Medical Licensing Exam (UKMLA) for all doctors wishing to practise in the UK.


The GMC Council has approved a plan to develop a unified assessment (the UKMLA) for every doctor wishing to practise in the UK. This exam has been given the working title of the United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA). Please note this information is now outdated.

Visit our blog for the latest and greatest updates on the UKMLA! See the links below. 

Why is the UKMLA happening?  

Although UK medical schools’ curriculums must comply with the GMC’s Outcomes for graduates. The regulator says the new licensing exam will give greater reassurance to the public and create a “common threshold for safe practice”

The GMC carried out a public consultation from Jan 2017 to Apr 2017 and have visited all medical schools to get medical students’ views.

When will this happen?

Proposed for UKMLA
Proposed timeline for the UKMLA


What we know so far: 

  • It will replace the PLAB currently sat my International Medical Graduates
  • Anyone who wants to practise as a doctor in the UK from 2022 will have to pass it
  • It will be
    • a “test of applied knowledge”– in the form of a single best answer paper
    • a “test of clinical and professional skills” this is likely to be an OSCE
    • a “test of questions about healthcare and law in the UK” – this likely to be implemented in the single best answer paper
  • The paper will absorb the PSA but the SJT will remain a separate exam
  • It will follow the GMC Curriculum
  • It will be integrated into medical school finals rather than being a standalone exam – subject to change after public consultation

Questions unanswered …

  • How will the exam be assessed?
  • How will it integrate individual medical school curricula?
  • Will students be ranked based on results?
  • How will the UKMLA be used for FPAS?
  • Will it change the point of registration?

Stay tuned into UKMLA forums blog section for more updates regarding these unknowns

What the GMC say: 

Professor Terence Stephenson the Chair of the General Medical Council, said:

“Medicine is an increasingly mobile profession and we must have systems in place which not only make sure that UK-trained graduates meet the required standards but that all doctors practising here have been examined and evaluated to the same high level

‘We believe it would be fairer and more reassuring for the public for there to be a standard for entry to the register that everyone can rely on. Over time we are confident that the UKMLA will help to drive up standards and that it could become an international benchmark test for entry to medicine.

‘‘We do not want to create a one-size-fits-all system of undergraduate education – the diversity of our current medical schools can and should be cherished – but we do think all those becoming doctors in the UK should have demonstrated that they have the skills and competence to practise here and have all passed the same assessment before being admitted to the register with a licence to practise.

‘There is much to discuss and we are conscious that there is an enormous amount of detail still to be worked up. But we are determined to work with our partners to find a way forward that is both workable and puts patient confidence and safety first.

‘We will now begin a second phase of work, engaging extensively with partners and groups affected, and with a range of expert advisers to help us identify the format, timing and content of the UKMLA.’

Are you interested in learning more about the UKMLA – visit our blog

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