So What Exactly Is The UKMLA?

So What Exactly Is The UKMLA?

Back in 2015, the General Medical Council (GMC) proposed a new assessment for all doctors who were looking to practise in the UK, called the United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA). The UKMLA is a 2-part assessment that almost every doctor will have to pass to keep practising in the UK. Curious about what the GMC have in store for us in the future? Well this article will answer the questions medical students across the UK have been asking.


  • If you’re a UK student, then this will definitely affect you. Don’t be too worried however, as the GMC are speaking with the medical schools, trying to integrate the UKMLA so that it meets our schools’ assessment requirements.
  • If you’re from a country that usually requires you to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test, then the UKMLA will essentially be replacing that.
  • Now, if you come from a non-UK country that is included in the EEA (except for Croatia) or from Switzerland, then you may not have to take the test to practice in the UK. There are current laws which state that anyone from those countries can enter and register freely based on what qualifications they own. This may however change in the future, as one of the aims of the UKMLA was to get everyone registering onto a level playing field.


The UKMLA will consist of two aspects: an applied knowledge test (AKT), and a clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA).

The AKT will be a computerised test, set and marked by the GMC, allowing for equal standardisation. What the CPSA will be testing is pretty much in the name: it’s an assessment of your clinical and professional skills. (Personally, I think the Exam of Structured Clinical And Professional Expertise sounds cooler.)

As mentioned earlier, the GMC are organising how this will take place with expert advisors and the medical schools, and more information will be given soon.


The location of where you take the test will vary depending on which country/medical school you attend. Just know that the GMC organises the AKT, meaning both UK and international students will be taking the same test, most likely at your medical school. If you’re a UK student then the CPSA will also be prepared by your medical school (and standardised by the GMC), otherwise you’ll have to take a GMC-run CPSA.


For UK students the UKMLA will be first implemented in 2022, whilst for international students the first tests will be starting in 2019. This means that if you’re currently a 2nd year medic in a 6-year course, or a 1st year medic in a 5-year course, then it’s likely that you’ll be the first cohort of UK students taking this exam. Note that those who are already on the GMC register by 2022 won’t have to take this exam.


The UKMLA has been proposed because the GMC want to make sure that doctors in the UK are safe to practise, as one of the GMC’s key aims is to protect the safety of patients. The UKMLA would be setting common baseline allowing for safe practice. This assures the GMC and wider community that doctors joining are meeting these thresholds.

Whilst things aren’t completely solidified, it seems like the UKMLA is here to stay, and I just want to remind everyone that things aren’t finalised. there will definitely be additions and changes over the coming years as the UKMLA becomes finalised, so I highly recommend that you stay subscribed to these forums and keep up to date.

Food for thought

What do you think of the UKMLA?

How will this affect you?

Do you see any advantages/issues that the UKMLA will bring?


About the author 

Hi, my name’s Chang, and I’m a medical student studying at Imperial College London! If I’m not writing blog posts for UKMLAforums, you’ll find me struggling to balance my academics with a decent social life and enough sleep. So, pretty much the average life of any student.

Follow me on social media Twitter: ChangKimperial: _changki_







Want to know more? 

Check out our post on frequently asked questions on the  UKMLA exam, or our informative posts on the the AKT and CPSAs which will both be a part of the UKMLA exam. 


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