What is PLAB?

PLAB is the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board, this test is for international doctors who wish to practice medicine over in the UK. There is a purpose for PLAB and that is to test an IMG’s ability as a doctor to be able to work safely in our UK NHS hospitals and to ensure they possess the relevant skills and knowledge to practice.

PLAB is fundamental, so this would mean that if you hold an approved GMC postgraduate qualification or are an EU national and qualified in a European institution then you would automatically be able to apply for registration and therefore not required to sit the PLAB exam.

On the other hand, if your postgraduate qualification is not able to be approved and you are not an EU national who qualified in a European institution then you will be required to sit PLAB 1 and 2.

Entry requirements for PLAB are as follows

To take the PLAB exam you will need to have the following qualification and the following experience.

  • A primary medical qualification from an institution which will be listed in the World Health Organisation Directory of Medical Schools.
  • Have 12 Months of post graduate clinical experience at a teaching hospital
  • Also have either taken the ILETS and have received an overall score of 7.5 or have taken an OET with a minimum of grade B in each section of the test
How many parts to the PLAB test are there?

There is two parts to the PLAB test, so part 1 of the test is a three-hour exam which contains 180 multiple choice questions. The first part will test your ability to apply medical knowledge to the care of patients. The questions will regard the current best practice in the UK and all equipment which is then routinely available in the UK Hospitals. So therefor you will need to answer all questions in relation to published evidence and not according to your own local arrangements. The exam will cover common or acute conditions which are seen by trainees who are entering their second year of the foundation Programme which is FY2

The second part of the test for PLAB 2. This test is an 18-station objective structured clinical exam, and it usually lasts for around 3 hours. The test is held at the GMC’s clinical assessments center in Manchester. So, the second part of the PLAB exam comprises 18 different scenarios, each of these 18 scenarios last approximately 8 minutes each time. The exam will test you in various settings such as a mock consultation or an cute ward, this is like the first exam. PLAB 2 exam will test you on your ability to apply knowledge to the care of patients rather than hoe well a doctor can recite facts. For each of the scenarios which are given you will be marked against 3 different realms. The first will be gathering data, technical and assessment skills. Those realms cover taking physical examinations, practical procedures and investigations which will lead to a diagnosis. The second realm is clinical management skills, which will require you to formulate a diagnosis and provide an explanation to the patient. Lastly the last realm is international skills, they will test on how you approach each circumstance, they will have a range of open and closed questions whilst demonstrating your professionalism and understanding of ethical principles.

Please be aware you can sit PLAB 1 as many times as you need, but you do need to pass PLAB 2 within 3 years of taking PLAB 1, Also you are only able to take PLAB 2 exam 4 times if you fail PLAB 2 after the fourth attempt you would need to re-take PLAB 1 again.

Applying for a UK Visa

Once you have passed PLAB 1 and have been given a date to take your PLAB 2 in Manchester you will then have to apply for a UK Visa in order to enter the UK and sit the exam. Before you begin your Visa application, it would be useful to have the following documents available to support your application process.

  • Passport
  • Cover Letter
  • Bank statements
  • Letter of employment
  • PLAB 1 results
  • PLAB 2 booking confirmation
  • IELTS results
  • Primary medical qualification

Here you can find the information to apply for a UK Visa https://www.gov.uk/apply-to-come-to-the-uk

How long do PLAB results take?

PLAB 1 exam results are typically available 4 weeks after your have taken the test and PLAB 2 results are usually two weeks after taking the test. The GMC will post your results directly to the address you provided, also your results can be found on the GMC website the day after the results have been sent through the post. Please note that the GMC will not provide any results over the phone, email or fax.

If you are currently in the process of taking your PLAB exams and are interested in relocating to the UK then get in touch with our specialist Advisors and they can guide you through all the relevant exams which are required, GMC registration, and provide you with a tailored job search in order to help you move to the UK as soon as possible – [email protected]

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