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National Licensing Examination syllabus 2021









Section I



Section II

Format and structure for National Licensing Examination


•    Eligibility

•    Centres

•    Frequency

•    Number of attempts

•    Structure

•    Passing criteria

•    Validity


Section III

Applied Basic Sciences disciplines in National Licensing

Examination 2021


Section IV

Weightage of Basic Sciences disciplines in National

Licensing Examination 2021


Section V

Clinical Sciences disciplines in National Licensing

Examination 2021


Section VI

Weightage of Clinical Sciences disciplines in National

Licensing Examination 2021


Section VII

Clinical Skills Examination (CSE)

•    Distribution of disciplines

•    Mandatory stations


Appendix 1

Syllabus for Applied Basic Sciences component of

National Licensing Examination 2021


Appendix 2

Syllabus for Clinical Sciences component of National

Licensing Examination 2021


Appendix 3

Skills and competencies required of an MBBS graduate

and a house officer by the end of house job / internship /

foundation year


Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) will be conducting Pakistan’s first professional exit examination – National Licensing Examination (NLE) at a national level. This examination is being held based on section 20 of the Pakistan Medical Commission Act No XXXIII of 2020.
As per section 13 (d) of the PMC Act, the National Medical and Dental Academic Board has developed the structure and standards of the National Licensing Examination (NLE) 2021.


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 centres across Pakistan to facilitate the candidates. It is envisaged that NLE will be offered certain international centres as well.

Frequency & Number of Attempts

The NLE will be held at least twice a year where  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):

  1. 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 in which 70% will be from clinical sciences disciplines and 30% from basic sciences discipline NLE will be computer-based. Only candidates qualifying in the theory (MCQs) component of NLE will be eligible for the CSE.

  2. The Clinical Skills Examination (CSE) is meant to assess essential clinical skills required for practice by a general medical practitione The format of CSE will be similar to that of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).


Passing criteria:

Candidates will have to pass both the theory and the CSE components separately in order to be declared successful in NLE.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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