PLAB stands for the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board, and it is a test administered by the General Medical Council (GMC) of Great Britain to determine if you have the clinical knowledge and skills to treat and communicate with their citizens.
The PLAB can be a strenuous exam, but it has its perks, and people who pass it are well on their way to being granted a medical license. A big advantage of passing your PLAB is that it is also accepted in other countries, especially those that are part of the Commonwealth.
So, in this article, we’ll look at the different stages of PLAB in some of these countries and how you can use your PLAB results to immigrate, as well as some of the processes to do so.
PLAB is a two-step exam separated into PLAB 1 and PLAB 2.
PLAB 1 consists of 180 multiple-choice questions where you have to select the best answer under a time limit of 3 hours. PLAB 1 tests your ability to apply clinical knowledge based on proper patient care. A clinical scenario is described briefly before the question is given. The topics covered in the multiple-choice questions include basic medical sciences, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology, and general clinical medicine. The pass mark for PLAB 1 varies but lies in the range of 120-126.
PLAB 2 is an objective structured clinical examination that lasts for about three hours. The exam will have you moving around 18 stations, spending 8 minutes at each unit. The goal is to test your information-gathering skills, how you interpret the information and draw differential diagnoses; PLAB 2 also tests your interpersonal skills.
To learn more about PLAB, take a trip down to CanadaQBank.
Countries Accepting PLAB
According to the GMC, here are some of the countries that accept PLAB:
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka
In addition to having your PLAB result, New Zealand requires you to pass their English Language requirements, hold a primary medical qualification from a school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools, and your PLAB result must not be older than five years. Finally, you must also write and pass the New Zealand Registration Exam (NZREX) clinical. It is an exam similar to PLAB 2, which assesses history taking, clinical examination, investigation, management, and clinical research.
Passing the NZREX clinical allows you to be registered by the Medical Council of New Zealand, which is required for every doctor who wants to practice in Aotearoa, New Zealand. You should also have at least one year of postgraduate experience, as it will help you with the exam. If you don’t do it before the exam, you must undergo one year of clinical supervision.
The Pre-registration examination system(PRES) is Ireland’s test to see if Immigrant Medical Graduates(IMG) can practice medicine there. People with a pass result for PLAB 1 dated within three years of applying can submit their result as an alternative to the PRES level 2 exam, which assesses a doctor’s clinical knowledge. They will be eligible to advance to the PRES level 3 exam, which evaluates communication, interpretation, and clinical skills through an Objective Structured Clinical Examination.
Australia has a Competent Authority Pathway that allows immigrating doctors provisional registration with the Medical Board of Australia. This means that there are some foreign authorities that the Board trusts to assess the clinical skill and knowledge of IMGs, so if you have a primary medical qualification awarded by a university recognized by both the World Directory of Medical Schools and the Australian Medical Board and have completed a minimum of 12 months of post-training experience either in Australia or in a country with a trusted system.
Other countries that accept PLAB include:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom
Working Abroad After Acing PLAB
Here’s a deep dive into the processes of getting work in different countries after passing your PLAB.
- United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia: For the dazzling realms of UAE and Saudi Arabia, having passed the PLAB exam, obtaining GMC registration, and practicing medicine in the UK for a year or more opens doors to potential practice in these nations.
- United Kingdom (UK): After passing the PLAB exam, your journey continues with a two-year Foundation Programme, followed by specialized training. Upon completing your training, you become eligible to apply for a medical license to practice in the UK.
- Canada: The Great White North allures medical practitioners with PLAB success, GMC registration, completion of General Practitioner training, and 3-5 years of relevant UK experience. Meeting these prerequisites might grant you eligibility for licensure through the Medical Council of Canada (MCC). However, like other destinations, additional criteria such as the MCC Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) or an approved residency program may apply.
- Australia: Aiming to practice medicine in Australia? Having passed the PLAB exam and obtained GMC registration while gaining a year’s experience in the UK, you may qualify for registration with the Medical Board of Australia. Nonetheless, keep in mind that additional criteria, such as the Australian Medical Council (AMC) examination or an approved internship, might also be necessary.
- New Zealand: If New Zealand beckons, having passed the PLAB exam, obtained GMC registration, and garnered over three years of experience in the UK opens up the possibility to apply for medical practice in this stunning country. Interestingly, if you’ve only tackled PLAB 1 and are eyeing New Zealand, you can skip part 1 of their qualifying exam and directly proceed to part 2. Success in part 2 leads to a year of supervised practice, allowing you to register as a practitioner in New Zealand.
As you set your sights on global horizons, remember that each country’s medical licensing process is different, with each presenting unique opportunities and challenges. So, to ensure a smooth journey, you need to do meticulous research and understand the specific requirements set by your destination country. That’s why we’re here at CanadaQBank.
At CanadaQBank, there are numerous educational resources you can use 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, Emergency Medical, Respiratory Medicine, and General Surgery.
So, seize the chance to spread your wings and let your medical knowledge shine on the international stage. The world awaits your healing hands!