In response to queries from World Surgery Forum, Dr. Abhineet Singh responds to various questions regarding his PLAB Preparation journey. We congratulate Dr. Abhineet Singh for succeeding in his PLAB preparation journey with flying colors.
Dr. Abhineet Singh
-Senior Clinical Fellow at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
-Former Senior Medical Officer at Medanta The Medicity
-Studied MBBS. at Dr. Sampurnanand Medical College
What is PLAB exam and why do you need to clear it to practice in the UK?
The full form of PLAB is the Professional & Linguistic Assessment Board test. It is a licensing exam to practice medicine in the UK. It’s as is USMLE for the USA & AMC for Australia. After clearing PLAB 1 & 2 with OET/IELTS you can get a GMC registration to practice, which is not only valid in the UK but many parts of the Middle East, few European Countries, Australia & New Zealand (Conditions apply in few countries).
How to start preparation of PLAB exams? What are PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 exams?
Before starting your PLAB journey, you need to clear an English assessment exam ( OET or IELTS) to be eligible for the PLAB1 exam. PLAB 1 is a theory exam with MCQ’s mostly from Clinical subjects. PLAB 2 is an OSCE ( exam, similar to Practical exams conducted in the final years of MBBS. Currently, Plab 1 is conducted all over the world but Plab 2 is held only in the UK.
How difficult is the PLAB exam?
It’s like any other exam but is very doable. Good planning & perseverance should help with the same.
How to prepare for PLAB 1 and What books did you study?
The mainstay preparation for PLAB 1 is the question banks, the most useful of them is the Plabable. There are few others as well, depending on the basic knowledge & content you need. There are few Oxford handbooks you can use for PLAB preparation as well (Oxford Handbooks – Clinical Medicine, Clinical Specialties and Emergency Medicine) that can help with the preparation (OHCM/OHCS). Less but concentrated effort gives a good outcome in this exam.
How to prepare for PLAB 2 and What books did you study?
As Plab 2 is a clinical exam based on the Good Medical Practice Guidelines by GMC & tests what is expected from an average British medical graduate. The best way to ace this exam is to join an academy. The classes run for around 2 weeks & ideally you should have a 4 weeks gap for the exams to complete the preparation.
What coaching did you do for preparation of PLAB exam?
Plab 1 is doable by self-study, but Plab 2 needs an academy to prepare for the scenarios. There are classes available for Plab 1 as well (both online & offline), but it all depends on the individual preferences.
How long do you need to study per day to clear the PLAB exam?
I would say few hours of regular study should help in clearing the exams, especially Plab1. Plab 2 is a bit intensive with 12-14 hour classes in the academy & then hours of daily practice.
How many months of preparation is enough?
Ideally, I would say Plab 1 needs 3 months of dedicated preparation, and Plab 2 needs around 2 months. This exam gives good flexibility but day by day it’s becoming more competitive than before, so the best-prepared wins.
Anything else you would like to share regarding PLAB exam preparation with readers of the World Surgery Forum.
PLAB is licensing pathway to the UK, applicable for both UG’s & PG’s. You can work at Junior Doctor level as well as Middle Grade/Senior level with appropriate work experience & education. Overall, UK gives a good work-life balance & NHS has got great respect amongst the local community. And lastly, you would never be away from home with Doctors from every country working together under the ambit of National Health Services.