National Licensing Examination (NLE)

In a press conference held on 04th June 2021, the Pakistan Medical Commission officials stated that the Written Exam (Part-I) of Medical NLE-2021 is going to be conducted from 20th August to 27th August 2021. This August attempt will be for foreign graduates, and the passing marks will be 70%. It will be an online test that will be administered both nationally and internationally. The syllabus of NLE has been uploaded on PMC Official Website. Dental NLE will be announced soon. NLE for local graduates will be announced later this year.


The National Licensing Examination (NLE) 2021 has been designed under PMC ACT Section 20. It has been developed and will be administered to gauge the ability of MBBS graduates competence to practice independently. Passing the NLE (both the theory and clinical skills examination components) is mandatory for obtaining a full license to practice as General Practitioner.


Candidates who have successfully graduated from PMC approved Pakistani medical colleges with an MBBS degree are eligible to sit for NLE 2021. Foreign medical graduates will be required to follow the regulations as given in the licensing pathways available on the PMC website.


NLE 2021 will be conducted at multiple centers across Pakistan to facilitate the candidates. It is envisaged that NLE will be offered to certain international centers as well.

Frequency & No. of Attempts

The NLE will be held at least twice a year. There is no bar on the number of times a candidate can attempt the complete NLE.


The NLE will consist of (i) a theory component and (ii) a skill-based, clinical component –Clinical Skills Examination (CSE):

  • The theory component will consist of MCQs targeting higher cognition and will check a candidate’s ability to apply knowledge. The theory component will have 200 MCQs of which 70% will be from clinical sciences disciplines and 30% from basic sciences disciplines. NLE will be computer-based. Only candidates qualifying in the theory (MCQs) component of NLE will be eligible for the CSE.
  • The Clinical Skills Examination (CSE) is meant to assess essential clinical skills required for practice by a general medical practitioner. The format of CSE will be similar to that of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

Passing Criteria

  1. Candidates will have to pass both the theory and the CSE components separately in order to be declared successful in NLE.
  2. The minimum pass percentage in the theory (MCQs) component is 70% and the minimum pass percentage in the CSE is 70%. There will be three mandatory stations in the CSE. Candidates must clear all three mandatory stations in order to be declared as pass in the CSE. There will be no negative marking in both components of the NLE.
  3. If a candidate obtains an aggregate of 70% or above in the CSE yet fails even one mandatory station, s/he will be declared as fail in the entire CSE.
  4. Candidates who pass the theory (MCQs) component but fail the CSE will have to re-appear in the CSE component only. Such candidates will re-register for the CSE only.
  5. If a candidate fails in three consecutive attempts of the CSE, s/he will have to appear in both the theory (MCQs) and CSE components on the fourth attempt. That is, after every three failed attempts at the CSE, candidates will have to sit the entire NLE.


The passing of the theory (MCQs) component of NLE will remain valid for five (5) years from the date of passing the theory (MCQs) component. CSE component must be passed within five (5) years of passing the theory (MCQs) component of NLE. If a candidate fails the CSE in three consecutive attempts, s/he will have to reappear in both the theory and CSE components of the NLE. That is, after every three failed attempts at the CSE, candidates will have to retake the entire NLE.



August 2021 Exam

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