The PLAB 2 is the second part of the PLAB exam for international medical graduates who wish to practice medicine in the UK. Therefore, we understand how devastating it can be to fail it. You might believe that you’ve let down those who believed in you and feel a sense of shame. It’s completely normal to feel this way when faced with failure, but it’s important to remember that failing an exam doesn’t make you a failure as a person. Remember that it’s not the end of the world.
So, here’s what to do if you fail PLAB 2.
- Take a Break: Allow yourself some time to heal and recover from the disappointment. Engage in activities you enjoy, whether it’s binge-watching your favourite TV shows, travelling, or simply spending quality time with your loved ones. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you and can offer support during this tough time.
- Avoid Comparison: It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others who may have passed the exam. Remember, everyone has their journey, and comparing yourself to others will only make you feel worse. Focus on your path and progress.
- Don’t Give Up: Understandably, you might feel like abandoning your dream altogether. However, remind yourself of the reasons why you embarked on this journey in the first place. You’re so close to achieving your GMC registration, and with perseverance, you can reach your goal.
- Stay Positive: It’s crucial not to lose faith in yourself and your abilities. Failing an exam does not define your worth as a doctor. Sometimes, circumstances play a role in the outcome, but it’s important to keep believing in yourself.
- Seek Support: Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Reach out to others for help and guidance. Whether it’s seeking advice from mentors, connecting with fellow medical students, or reaching out to support organizations like CanadaQBank, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance.
At this point, you have to start thinking of the next steps.
Considering a Recheck or Remark
If you narrowly missed passing the exam, you might consider requesting a recheck of your results. However, it’s essential to note that the General Medical Council (GMC) may only agree to this if you can provide evidence of an issue with the exam stations. It’s generally advised to retake the exam rather than opting for a recheck.
Failing an exam like PLAB 2 does not make you a bad clinician, nor does it diminish your prospects when applying for future job opportunities. You still have the option to work in your home country, reapply for a visa, and retake the exam. Although it may entail additional time and financial investment, remember that this setback does not define your capabilities. Stay focused on your initial motivations for embarking on this journey and persevere.
Bouncing Back Stronger
Once you’ve processed your emotions, take the time to analyze the feedback provided by the GMC. Identify areas where you scored poorly and try to understand why. Learn from your previous attempt and seek guidance from someone who can provide insights and help rebuild your confidence.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, PLAB 2 waiting times have increased significantly, meaning you may have to wait several months before retaking the exam. However, view this as an opportunity to dedicate more time to your preparation and return stronger than ever.
If your visa, IELTS/OET, or PLAB 1 is expiring, it’s worth discussing priority exam dates with the GMC. They might be able to accommodate you for an earlier slot, but keep in mind that this is solely at their discretion.
Remember, failing PLAB 2 is not the end of your journey. Stay resilient, stay focused, and with perseverance, you will achieve your goal of becoming a licensed medical professional.
Taking the PLAB 2 Again
Retaking the PLAB 2 exam won’t have any negative impact on your career because no one will know how many attempts you’ve made. It’s important to remember that the PLAB exam is a registration exam, not a degree. Once you pass, you’ll be registered, and that’s the end of the story, regardless of whether you pass with a score of 180+ or just barely above the passing mark.
To improve your performance in the retake, you should analyze your previous PLAB 2 results to identify your weak areas. The quantitative and qualitative feedback provided in your results will give you an idea of where you need improvement. Each station in the exam is assessed based on three domains: data gathering, clinical management skills, and interpersonal skills. You can focus on the specific domain in which you fell short in your previous attempt.
Here are a few personal pointers for your preparation:
- Maintain a proper format of history taking and avoid asking a memorized list of questions. Use your logic and understanding to gather data and assess the patient. Remember, you’re a doctor!
- Management skills involve more than just prescribing medications and doses. As a junior doctor in most stations, your role is to manage the patient. Take the patient’s ideas, concerns, and expectations into account. Treat the patient, not just the disease.
- Interpersonal skills are often an area where international medical graduates struggle. Patients in the UK may have different expectations compared to those in your home country. Practice expressing empathy and understanding with colleagues or even in front of a mirror. Adapt to the communication style expected in the UK.
Whether you decide to retake your PLAB 2 course is up to you. Both options of continuing with the same academy or switching to a different one have proven successful for many people. Ultimately, it depends on your hard work and understanding of the PLAB 2 exam. That’s what CanadaQBank is here for. To guide you and provide you with all the necessary resources to pass.
If you do choose to redo a course, make sure you allocate enough time for practicing again and plan your preparation accordingly.
Do I need to retake PLAB 1 if I failed PLAB 2?
If you have failed PLAB 2, you don’t technically need to retake PLAB 1 as long as your PLAB 1 remains valid (validity lasts for two years from the date you appeared for the PLAB 1 exam). So, if you are retaking PLAB 2 and your PLAB 1 is still within its validity period, you don’t have to take PLAB 1 again.
Remember, it’s your preparation, hard work, and understanding that will make the difference in your results.
If you fail, you can try again. So dust yourself up, pick up those books, find out why you failed, work towards fixing it, and start your journey again. CanadaQBank is always here to make it easier.