What is the IMGMLA?
IMGMLA stands for International Medical Graduate (IMG) Medical Licensing Assessment. It is an examination conducted by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the United Kingdom.
International doctors who want to practise in the UK and who currently take PLAB will need to take the MLA from 2024.
The MLA will give patients and employers greater confidence in doctors new to working in the UK, wherever they were educated or trained.
International medical graduates’ guide to the MLA
The MLA will test the core knowledge, skills and behaviours of doctors new to medical practice in the UK. It will give patients greater confidence in doctors starting work in the UK, wherever they were educated or trained.
During 2024, international medical graduates who want to practise in the UK and who currently take PLAB will start to take the MLA instead. GMC will announce the exact date this change will happen in due course.
Taking the MLA
International medical graduates who would have sat our Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test will start to take the MLA when it is introduced in 2024, if they’re applying for registration with a licence to practise in the UK.
Decisions about whether EEA graduates will need to sit the MLA when it is introduced will be informed by government-led agreements and trade deals. GMC will update these webpages as soon as we know more about future arrangements.
What the UKMLA assessment involves?
The MLA is a two-part assessment made up of an applied knowledge test and a clinical and professional skills assessment.
The applied knowledge test (AKT)
This will be a multiple choice exam. It will test your ability to apply medical knowledge to different scenarios. The AKT will be similar to the current PLAB 1 exam.
GMC will set the AKT for international medical graduates. We expect that the test will run four times a year for international candidates, at a number of locations worldwide, as it currently does for PLAB 1.
You’ll need to pass the AKT before you can take the clinical and professional skills assessment.
In the future, GMC will provide sample questions for the AKT so that you can understand the format of the test.
The clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA)
This will be an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE). It will involve scenarios that reflect real life settings, including a mock consultation or an acute ward.
GMC will run a CPSA for international medical graduates at their clinical assessment centre in Manchester. The CPSA will be similar to the current PLAB 2 exam.
All content in the MLA will derive from the MLA content map.
During 2023, as part of GMC preparation to move from PLAB to the MLA, GMC will replace the PLAB blueprint with the MLA content map. GMC will provide further information about when this change will happen in due course. However, GMC won’t change the questions or stations currently used to test PLAB candidates, nor the standard of the PLAB test. The experience for candidates on the test day itself will remain the same, and this change shouldn’t impact any preparation you have done for the test.
As for the current PLAB test, you’ll need to pay a fee to take the MLA as an international medical graduate. GMC will regularly review the fees, so the exact cost may change in the future.
Resitting the MLA
You’ll need to pass the MLA before you can apply for registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK.
You can resit the MLA, though we expect to set a maximum number of resits. GMC is considering the exact number and will make sure there is a fair and robust appeals system in place.
English language requirements
The MLA won’t change GMC’s English language requirements for registration. You’ll still need to prove that you have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely in the UK.
When will the UKMLA exams start?
Until GMC introduces the MLA in 2024, international medical graduates can still apply for the PLAB test if they want registration with a licence to practise in the UK.
The information below explains what will happen if you have sat one or both parts of the PLAB test when GMC introduces the MLA.
|Passed both parts of the PLAB test||This won’t change: the same as now, you’ll need to have your application for registration with a licence to practise in the UK to be approved within two years of passing PLAB 2.|
|Passed PLAB 1 but not attempted PLAB 2||If you have passed PLAB 1, instead of taking PLAB 2 you’ll take the CPSA. You’ll need to pass this within your PLAB 1 validity period, which is currently three years.|
|When you pass the CPSA, you’ll be able to apply for registration with a licence to practise. You’ll need your application to be approved within two years of passing the CPSA.|
|Attempted PLAB 1 but not passed it||You’ll be able to sit the AKT. There will be a maximum number of attempts and any previous attempts at PLAB 1 will count towards the maximum number. GMC is finalising that maximum number and will let you know as soon as we can.|
|When you pass the AKT, you will need to take the CPSA within the AKT validity period.|
|Passed PLAB 1 and attempted PLAB 2, but not passed||You won’t need to take the AKT if your PLAB 1 pass is still valid. Currently, a PLAB 1 pass is valid for 3 years.|
|You’ll be able to take the CPSA. There will be a maximum number of attempts and any previous attempts at PLAB 2 will count towards the maximum number. GMC is finalising that maximum number and will let you know as soon as we can.|
|When you pass the CPSA, you’ll be able to apply for registration with a licence to practise. You’ll need to do so within two years of passing the CPSA.|
GMC believes that the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are critical to us being an effective regulator. These principles are at the heart of the work we’re doing to design and introduce this assessment.
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