PLAB or UKMLA | Pathway to the UK

The International Medical Graduates (IMG) who wishes to practice medicine in the UK must pass the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) exam. It is a pathway for medical studies in the UK.

The UKMLA will test your ability to apply the knowledge towards patient care, rather than just implementing facts studied during your degree. Only doctors with degrees from other countries have been required to take the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board) exam in the past, which will be replaced by the UKMLA (United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment) in 2024. Regardless of the country you have received your medical degree including the UK; the UKMLA will be a mandatory exam to pursue further medical degree in the UK.

Why is the UKMLA being introduced?

UKMLA will be replaced by the now PLAB exam to ensure that physicians have the knowledge and abilities essential to practice properly. The UK still has a great need for healthcare professionals therefore; the UKMLA is getting introduced to improve the healthcare facilities.

Transition from PLAB to UKMLA

Structure of UKMLA




AKT (Applied Knowledge Test)


Objective (Computer-based)

CPSA (Clinical and Professional Skill Assessment)

Yet to confirm


Test Guidelines

If you have passed both PLAB 1 and 2, then there will be no change for you, and you can apply for the GMC registration for a license to practice.

  • If you have passed PLAB 1 but did not attempt PLAB 2, you may take the CPSA without taking the AKT within two years of passing PLAB 1, and you may apply for GMC registration within two years of passing the CPSA.
  • If you attempted but did not pass PLAB 1, you may take the AKT, and within two years of passing the AKT, you will sit for the CPSA.
  • If you have passed the PLAB 1 exam and attempted but did not pass the PLAB 2 exam, you will take the CPSA exam instead and apply for full registration and a license to practice medicine in the UK within two years. Similar to PLAB, the UKMLA has a pass/fail option; you must pass the first part to be eligible to take the second, and you must pass that exam as well to receive your license.

What would it cover?

The UKMLA will be based on three main components namely- safe medicine practice, managing uncertainties, and delivering person centered care. The three themes comprises 6 domains-

  • Different areas of clinical practice (Pediatrics, psychiatry and general practice)
  • Professional knowledge (Medical ethics, law and technology)
  • Professional and clinical skills (safeguarding patients and managing risks)
  • Practical skills and procedures (skills required to practice safely)
  • Patient presentations (related to signs, symptoms, and investigation in the first appointment with the patient)
  • Conditions (Asthma and eating disorders)

Why is it being implemented?

  • IMGs will also be required to pass the UKMLA in order to practice medicine in the UK, in an effort to make medical exams fairer.
  • Before the introduction of the UKMLA, IMGs who wished to practice medicine in the UK were required to complete Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) exams.
  • This modification has been implemented to allow for a fairer, more uniform system for medical graduates from the UK and other countries and to make sure that everyone has fulfilled the same requirements to serve as a doctor in the UK.
  • This indicates that in order to practice in the UK, all IMGs who graduate during or after the academic year 2024–2025 will have to take both parts of the UKMLA.


Who is meant to take the UKMLA?

Those who graduate from a UK medical university or outside the UK are required to take the exam starting 2024.

When will it be put into action?

For the UK graduates, it will be implemented in 2025, but for the overseas doctors, it will be implemented in 2024.

Is it a pass/fail exam?

Yes, UKMLA is going to be a pass-fail exam like the PLAB.

What would be the cost of the UKMLA?

Students would be required to pay approximately £1,000 (The cost is subject to change) to take the UKMLA, just as they would for the PLAB. 



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Hello , I'm a final year student in Malaysia. exit exams are in February. officially graduate in august 2024. how do I make my way for UKMLA ? :) a little lost here.. and thank you for your time

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