More than 90 per cent of overseas-trained doctors - mostly mainlanders - have failed new licensing exams. Doctors from Britain, Australia and other Commonwealth countries applying to practise in the territory were required to sit the exams for the first time in more than 150 years. Under changes to the Medical Registration Ordinance, they are required to pass the Medical Council's licensing exam and practical training period. But only seven per cent of candidates who sat the exam in professional knowledge were up to scratch. And just more than half the number who sat the test in medical English proficiency last month received a pass mark. The exams were in danger of making Hong Kong a 'laughing stock', Medical Council member Dr David Anderson said. However, the number of multiple-choice questions in the exam had doubled, making it slightly harder, he said. Hong Kong's final-year medical students, now exempt from the tests, should be required to sit the same exam, he added. Only 11 of the 154 candidates proved their professional knowledge. The two 31/2-hour papers test knowledge of basic sciences, medical ethics, community medicine, psychiatry, paediatrics and surgery. Of 135 candidates that sat the proficiency test in medical English, 88 passed. The Chinese University Dean of Medicine, Professor Joseph Lee Chuen-kwun, said the reason for the pass rate was the 'different types of schooling' the doctors received. 'Some of them may have been working in a different environment for 20 years,' he added. The Medical Council's licentiate committee secretary, Nora Cheung Chiu-yee, said most of the doctors that sat the exam were from China. Some were from the United States and Canada, although she was unable to give an exact breakdown of nationalities.