medical schools council

Preparing for the MLA

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How to prepare

The MLA content map sets out the areas that could be tested in the MLA. Your degree course is the best preparation for sitting the MLA and you will not need to learn anything beyond what is covered in your medical school’s curriculum. The content map concentrates on the professional skills, knowledge and behaviours that are essential for safe practice and is based on existing guidance, including Achieving good medical practiceOutcomes for graduates and the Generic professional capabilities framework


It is important for students thinking about intercalation to note that because the MLA will be a university exam embedded in finals, the timing of its introduction will be without consequence to students. There will therefore be no need for students to consider not intercalating in order to avoid taking the MLA. Medical schools encourage intercalation and the broadened perspective it brings.

Pass marks

Medical schools agree that it is appropriate for there to be a consistent, common passing standard for all graduates of UK medical schools. Medical school staff have already started to work together to determine the appropriate pass marks in preparation for the MLA. The MLA is a pass-fail exam and will not be ranked.

Publishing results

You will receive your results for the applied knowledge test (AKT) directly from your medical school.

Medical schools are committed to sharing information to improve medical education and training. However, they will not release students' individual scores, or seek to rank students based on their results.

Resitting the MLA

The MLA will be part of the requirements for your degree. If you fail it, just as if you fail any other degree requirement, you will not graduate. In the same way, if you pass the MLA but do not meet the other requirements set by your medical school for your degree, you will not be able to graduate. A maximum number of permitted attempts and an appeals system for the AKT will be agreed before students take the MLA.

Mitigating circumstances, reasonable adjustments and appeals

Universities will retain responsibility for mitigation, reasonable adjustments and appeals, and are developing common policies around these issues in order to ensure fairness.

Piloting the MLA

A process of phased introduction is now beginning in 2021 with robust testing and piloting, before the assessment will be fully implemented for students graduating from UK medical schools from the academic year 2024/25. All medical schools will pilot the MLA, to help make sure the MLA is working properly for students. There will be opportunities for you to contribute and feedback information throughout this time.