Medical Licensing Exams – What After MBBS Abroad?

Opportunities After Studying MBBS Abroad

With the finely woven intricacies of the medical curriculum in some of the popular and well sought universities abroad, studying MBBS abroad provides several great opportunities to its students. However, every country in the world has its own set of criteria to scrutinize and control the quality of its health care services including doctors. Therefore, in order to pursue further medical education or career in it, many a times the medical graduates, specially those who have completed their studies from ‘abroad’.

Medical Licensing Examinations

The medical licensing examinations are inducted with the purpose of providing licensure to the young medical graduates for practicing or pursuing higher education in a country. This goes to countries like the USA, Canada, and even India. The general objective of such examinations is to evaluate and assess the learning and skills of the medical graduates and their compatibility with the country’s existing health infrastructure.

Here are some of the top medical licensing exams in the world that promise abundant scope and opportunities.

United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

The United States follows a federal government structure. Therefore, the rules of the governance vary as per the states of the country. Health is one such aspect that is overlooked  in the purview of the state legislature. Because of this, each state has its own set of rules for accreditation of doctors. Therefore, each medical licensing authority has established its own rules and regulations and requires passing an examination demonstrating qualification for licensure for all the medical graduates. 

Since 1992, the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) has become a common practice as an evaluation system for those who aspire to get an initial license for practicing medicine in the country. 

This licensing exam is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Board (FSMB) of the United States and the National Boards (FSMB) of the United States and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). The final USMLE results are reported to the licensing authorities and are used for granting the initial license to practice medicine to a doctor.

Eligibility Criteria of USMLE

  • Step-1 & Step-2
    • Students/Graduates of a US or Canadian medical school program which is accredited by the Liaison committee on Medical education (LCME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). 
  • Medical students or graduates of a medical school outside the United States & Canada and eligible for examination by the ECFMG ( Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates)
  • Step-3

All the students who have qualified the above to steps (Step-1 & Step-2). ECFMG certified graduates or medical students outside the United States & Canada.

USMLE also known as US residency exam consists of three steps:

  1. Step-1: Basic Sciences
  1. Step-2:  Clinical CK  and CS  
  1. Step-3 : Patients managements skills 

Australia – AMC -MCQ Exam 

All the students who want to practice in Australia should first apply to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) to arrange an appropriate assessment pathway. The standard pathway involves the students to sit through a series of assessments, such as AMC MCQ Exam and AMC clinical Exam.  

To appear for the AMC- MCQ and AMC Clinical exam, the students must have graduated from any institution recognised by AMC itself.

The AMC MCQ Exam generally consists of 150 MCQs organized through a computer adaptive scoring system.

To qualify the AMC clinical exam, a candidate must pass at least 12 out of 16 cases including one compulsory case in each of Gynae and pediatrics.

The candidates who have qualified all the necessary exams and obtain AMC certification can then proceed to apply to Australian Specialty Training Positions.

Australia is establishing a national registration process for all the doctors under the Medical Board of Australia. 

Medical Council of Canada (MCC) –  LMCC QE Exam

Medical Council of Canada (MCC) is an organization that is charged with assessing medical candidates, evaluation of physicians through exams and granting a qualification called Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) to those who wish to practice medicine in Canada.

The MCCQE Part I is a summative examination that assesses the critical medical knowledge and clinical decision-making ability of a candidate at a level expected of a medical student who is completing their medical degree in Canada. The examination is based on the MCC Objectives, which are organized under the CanMEDS roles. Candidates graduating and completing the MCCQE Part I typically enter supervised practice. 

The MCCQE Part I is a one-day, computer-based test. You are allowed up to four hours in the morning session to complete 210 Multiple-Choice Questions. You are allowed up to three and a half hours in the afternoon session for the Clinical Decision-Making component, which consists of 38 cases with short-menu and short-answer write-in questions.

The exam is based on a Blueprint that assesses your performance across two broad categories:

  • Dimensions of care, covering the spectrum of medical care;
  • Physician activities, reflecting a physician’s scope of practice and behaviors.

India- FMGE/ National Exit Test (NExT)

The medical graduates who wish to pursue their career in India are required to qualify the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE). The exam is conducted twice a year by the National Board of Examination (NBE) in the months of June and December.

The result of the exam and the further procedure are administered by the National Medical Commission (NMC) formerly Medical Council of India (MCI). The exam is based on objective analysis of the students’ learning. It is mandatory and exclusive strictly for all the students who have pursued their MBBS outside India

It has been notified that the FMGE exam would soon be replaced by the National Exit Test (NExT) from 2023. The NExT would still be a licensing exam with revised exam pattern and schedules and would be mandatory for all the medical  graduates of India, despite studying in India or abroad. 

To appear for FMGE/NExT, the student must have completed their graduation from a university recognised by NMC/MCI. The students can find the list of documents required for the application on the official website of Rus Education.

United Kingdom- GMC PLAB EXAM

The General Medical Council of UK ( GMC ) is the regulatory body for doctor’s licensing in the UK. Currently, there are two types of basic registration: “provisional registration” and “full registration”, and two types of specialty registration: “specialist registration” and “GP registration”. In November 2009, the GMC introduced the “license to practise”, and it is required by law that to practise medicine in the UK, all doctors need to be registered and hold a license to practise. 

Passing the PLAB test is one of the ways in which an individual can satisfy the General Medical Council (GMC) that they have the knowledge and skills which are necessary to practice medicine in the UK. 

PLAB implies for Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board Test .

The PLAB test is relevant for international medical graduates aspiring to study or practice in the United Kingdom. PLAB test is designed to test one’s ability to work safely in a first appointment as a senior house officer in a UK hospital in the National Health Service (NHS).

Eligibility For PLAB

  • A primary medical qualification (PMQ) for limited registration.
  • Universities must be listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools published by the World Health Organization. 
  • A minimum of 7 as an overall score and in the speaking section, and 6 in each of the other sections in the IELTS test (academic module).