What to Do If You Fail the PLAB 1 Exam

PLAB 1 is an exam that must be taken before you can become a licensed doctor in the UK. So, it’s unsurprising that the exam is challenging, and sometimes people fail it. But just because you fail the exam doesn’t mean it’s over.

However, we know that experiencing failure, especially when it comes to an exam that is part of your goal and dream, can be really painful. You’ll probably hear comforting phrases like “You’ll be okay” or “Try hard next time” countless times. But it’s important to move beyond those words and explore your options after failing the PLAB exam.

That’s why in this article, we’ll delve into what you should do if you fail the PLAB Exam.

Allow yourself to grieve the failure

Give yourself a break and take a few days off to release the sadness. Engage in activities that bring you joy, whether binge-watching your favourite TV series, sleeping, travelling, playing games, or spending time with loved ones who genuinely care about you.

You should avoid comparing yourself to others, as everyone has unique battles and follows a different path in life. Comparisons will only increase your negative feelings and hinder your progress.

Sometimes, you may contemplate giving up on this journey entirely, but we urge you not to. You are so close to achieving your GMC registration. Remember the reasons that motivated you to embark on this journey in the first place.

Remember that help is always available to you. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for support when you need it. CanadaQBank has the right resources to help you pass that exam.

Once you’ve given yourself enough time to come to terms with the results, shift your focus toward the next steps.

Reassess your skills

Since you failed the exam, there’s probably something you didn’t do right. There’s no reason to feel bad about it; instead, try and find out why.

It’s possible that during your first attempt, you may have rushed into booking the exam without considering the amount of preparation time you would need. For your next attempt, it’s important to establish a structured and well-thought-out study plan that you can diligently follow. Give yourself ample time to study, and don’t underestimate the importance of thorough preparation.

Many people mistakenly believe that memorizing past questions alone will guarantee a passing score. However, smart studying goes beyond memorization. It’s crucial to not only understand the questions in the question banks but also comprehend the provided answers. Take the time to grasp why the correct answer is correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. This deeper understanding will greatly benefit you during the actual exam.

Also, effective time management is extremely vital. Practice under simulated exam conditions, using the resources on CanadaQBank, to create an ideal test environment. This will help you develop efficient work habits and ensure you can manage your time effectively during the exam.

Study and prepare better

Studying better means different things to different people. So, it’s best to find a study style that works well for you. This is because each person has their unique study method, so stick to the best approach for you. However, ensure you thoroughly understand the concepts and review your materials multiple times. Instead of relying on memorization, strive to comprehend the explanations and guidelines provided.

Practice solving multiple-choice questions (MCQs) on CanadaQBank to reinforce your understanding. As you practice and revise, pay attention to the topics where you feel less confident and create notes to improve your grasp on them.

Mock tests play a crucial role in your preparation. Once you have completed sufficient revisions and practiced MCQs, take timed mock tests. These tests will help you manage your time effectively, which is essential for the exam. Then print out OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheets and simulate the exam environment. While practicing, set a goal to read each question thoroughly, deduce your answer, and mark it within a minute. Remember that every second counts!

Effective time management is the key to succeeding in this exam. Since there is no negative marking, it is important to attempt all the questions within the given time frame. With 180 questions to answer in 180 minutes, the task can be challenging, especially when the questions are lengthy. Your practice with OMR sheets will prove beneficial in this regard. Exam centers are equipped with clocks to help you keep track of time, or you can request periodic updates from the examiners.

A week before the exam, you will receive the exact location of the exam center. You should plan your trip in advance, especially if you are unfamiliar with the city. Also, carefully read the instructions provided in the email and remember to bring HB pencils, an eraser, printouts of necessary documents, and your ID proof.

Finally, before the exam, ensure that you eat a nutritious meal, drink enough water and, most importantly, remain calm. If this is your second attempt, leave any lingering disappointment from your previous result. You must trust in yourself and your preparation, knowing that you have what it takes to excel in this attempt.

Take the exam again

Obviously, this should be your first line of thought when you fail the exam. You may not want to take it immediately, but once you see the failure, reassess what you must do to pass.

In the event of failing PLAB Part 1, you have the option to schedule a retake of the exam, as long as you still meet all the necessary requirements, such as having a valid IELTS score. Note that you are allowed a maximum of four attempts to pass the exam.

If you have already attempted the exam four times and were unsuccessful, there is still a final opportunity available. You can apply for one last attempt by providing evidence of additional learning over a period of 12 months and submitting an application to the General Medical Council (GMC).


Understand the questions and answers thoroughly, avoiding memorization. Create a timeline for daily question practice and allocate time for review. Use reference books for clarification. Prioritize time management and conduct mock exams in realistic settings. Stay focused and positive throughout your preparation.

To learn more about PLAB take a trip down to CanadaQBank.

At CanadaQBank there are several educational resources you can make use of to prepare for your PLAB Part 1. There are over 3,000 MCQs you can choose from. What’s even better is that these MCQs cover different parts of medicine like Pediatrics, Respiratory Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and General Surgery.