What is the PLAB exam all about?

If you studied outside the United Kingdom or European Economic Area (EEA) and are looking for a way to practice medicine in the United Kingdom, this article is for you. We are here to give you all the details about PLAB, what it is, what it entails, and the requirements.

PLAB: Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board

Firstly, PLAB stands for Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board. PLAB ensures that you have at least the same level of knowledge and ability as a UK doctor in their second-year foundational program. This exam is for anyone who did not get their medical degree in the UK, EEA, or Switzerland. You will have to pass the exam before you can practice medicine in the UK, regardless of whether you are a UK citizen or not. However, if you have a postgraduate degree that the General Medical Council approved, you can be exempted from the PLABs.

Requirements for the exam

So, now that you have a general overview of what the PLAB entails, it is essential to know the requirements that candidates will need before writing the exams.

  1. A medical qualification/degree from your country
  2. An IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of at least 7.5 or grade B in the OET (Occupational English Test). The test is to check your level of understanding of English.

Where Can the Exam Be Taken

You can take the PLAB in many locations overseas and in the United Kingdom. These locations include Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Sudan, Australia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Canada, and Egypt.

What Does the PLAB Exam Entail? 

The exam has two parts – PLAB 1 and PLAB 2. Both facets of the exam are not just dependent on your ability to remember medical facts; instead, the questions will come from your understanding of the current UK medical practice.

Part 1

This part of the test contains 180 multiple-choice questions. These questions will focus on the current best practices in the UK regarding their provision of service and available equipment in the hospitals. The questions will also cover all the cases that a second-year medical trainee of the Foundational Program should know and have experienced. You will be given one mark for any answer you get correctly and zero for each incorrect one. There is no fixed pass mark, but it is usually from 120-126 and varies year to year.

One of the best ways to make sure that you ace this part is to go through the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines. These guidelines give you the best possible evidence-based recommendation for health care in England. Thus, it would be best if you had them at your fingertips.

You can take this part of the exam in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Sri Lanka.

Part 2

This part is a three-hour test divided into at least ten stations, and each of these stations carries simulated patients and scenarios. You would be expected to apply your real-life knowledge of care and clinical judgments in these stations. It is an objective structured examination used to access clinical skills, such as communication, evaluation, and interpretation of results. All the stations will be at least 8 minutes long, and just like part 1, the test will be structured at the level of a second-year medical trainee in the Foundational Programme. You have to make sure that you pass at least ten stations to complete this part successfully.

It is essential to note that unlike Part 1, which can be done in several countries, Part 2 can only be done in Manchester, United Kingdom.

How to Schedule Your Exam

Before you can book a PLAB exam, you must have a relevant overseas medical qualification. Also, you should have an IELTS score of at least 7.5 or a grade B for the OET (this can be done in the My Tests sections of your GMC (General Medical Council) online account).

To schedule your exam, you must have a  GMC account. When you get it, go to your GMC account and check all the available dates to write the exam to book a date. Booking Part 1 costs £240. After booking, you will get a verification email. Exam dates and venues are in high demand and limited, so be sure to follow instructions carefully to avoid anything falling through the tracks.

If you are outside the UK, there are several oversea locations where you can write Part 1 of PLAB, such as Egypt, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka, Canada, Sudan, Ghana, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa. After you have booked online, contact the British Council in the area that you choose to receive more details about the venue.

After you have passed PLAB 1, you will be eligible for PLAB 2, held in Manchester in the UK. Just like Part 1, you will have to book online, and then you will receive a confirmation that shows you the exact place you will be accessed.

Note that the cost of both parts of the test is around £1114.

Preparing For the PLAB

It is advisable to prepare for about 4-8 months before the date you are scheduled to write the exam. This is where CanadaQBank question bank for the PLAB 1 comes in.

The CanadaQBank has over 3400 of some of the best MCQs you would need to prepare for the exam. Each of these MCQs would cover a different part of a Part 1 topic from the tested areas and provide detailed explanations for each of the topics. What is best about this is that it is accessible 24/7. The subjects covered range from Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Dermatology, Oncology, General Surgery, Infectious Disease, and a host of others.

It is an efficient and affordable way to practice the questions easily under simulated exam conditions. There are different subscription prices tailored to whatever your need is. The prices are:

  • $95 – 1 month
  • $135 – 2 months
  • $ 175 – 3 months
  • $250 – 6 months
  • $335 – 9 months
  • $395 – 12 months

Do not be left behind; take advantage of the services of CanadaQBank.

What Is the Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board?

QBank for the Plab Part 1

The Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board, also known as the PLAB, is an examination in the United Kingdom that is used to measure foreign medical students’ competency and knowledge before providing them with licensure to practice medicine in the UK. Learning more about the PLAB can help students feel more at ease before testing.

Sign up to our PLAB Part 1 Question Bank

Who Needs to Take the PLAB?

If you are a medical school graduate, but you graduated from a school that is outside of the UK, EEA (European Economic Area), or Switzerland, you will need to sit for the PLAB in order to prove that you have the right level of education and knowledge to practice medicine according to UK laws and standards. You will need to pass both parts of this examination before you can register with your license to practice medicine.

Scheduling Your PLAB

To schedule your PLAB examination, you will need to visit the General Medical Council’s licensing and registration section that is dedicated to this exam. Here, you can gain some vital information about how the exam is set up, create your online account through the GMC, and book your test in any number of countries. Beforehand, you should consider downloading the PLAB blueprint which is offered directly through the GMC to help you better understand the knowledge and skills you should possess in order to pass.

A Two-Part Test

The PLAB is administered in two separate parts.

  • PLAB Part 1This part of the exam consists of 180 multiple choice questions that you must answer within a total of three hours. In each question, you are given a scenario to analyze, and you must select the best possible answer to fit that scenario out of a total of five. You can take the first part of the PLAB in various countries worldwide, including the UK.
  • PLAB Part 2 This part of the exam takes place in a clinical setting. You will be given 18 different mock scenarios to analyze, and you will have eight minutes per scenario to provide the required information. These scenarios are just like consultations or acute wards that doctors in the UK must perform each day, and these only take place at the Clinical Assessment Centre located in Manchester, England in the UK.

After Passing the PLAB

Once you have successfully passed both parts of the PLAB examination, you can apply for your license to practice medicine in the United Kingdom. It is important that you submit your application within a reasonable timeframe because you will only have two years after taking the PLAB Part 2 to obtain licensure approval. After your application is approved and you have been registered, you can rightfully and legally work as a doctor in the UK.

Simply put, the PLAB exam is much like an equivalency examination that ensures you have the expected level of knowledge and education to work as a physician in the UK while upholding that country’s medical standards. It is a requirement among students in Canada and the United States, among other countries, who wish to work as doctors in the United Kingdom.