PLAB 1 – Preparation, Resources & Courses
Overseas doctors often have questions about the best ways to prepare for PLAB, particularly with so many online resources available with varying reviews and price points.
So, what study preparation, materials, courses and support are available for international doctors? We have compiled some of the best resources and courses to help you in your preparation for the PLAB 1 exam.
The topics we will cover are as follows:
For an overview of the entire examination series, have a look at our article in the IMG Resources library here.
A Recap of PLAB 1
Let’s begin with a quick recap of the first exam in the PLAB examination suite.
PLAB 1 covers the common, important and acute conditions (those common in emergency departments) seen by trainees entering the second year of the Foundation Programme (FY2), and the management of long-term conditions seen in primary care.
Questions relate to current best practice in the UK, and equipment routinely used in UK hospitals. You’ll need to answer the questions in relation to published evidence and not according to practices within your local arrangements. Remember, this is an exam for entry into the UK healthcare system.
For full guidance on the structure of the exam, see our detailed blog on the PLAB 1 exam here.
You can book your PLAB 1 examination using your GMC Online account where you can view available dates and book under the My Tests section.
Before you book a PLAB exam you must have:
- an acceptable overseas primary medical qualification.
- a GMC Online account to book or cancel the exam.
- evidence of English competency – before you can book a test you will need to provide your English language test scores.
On Saturday 10 December 2022 at 10am (GMT) the GMC will release PLAB 1 places here for the following dates across all locations:
- 10 August 2023
- 2 November 2023
There are many resources to choose from online in starting your preparation for PLAB 1, however we recommend the following GMC guides to help you start your preparation.
The PLAB Blueprint: this is a helpful guide to what will be included in the exam. Our IMGs advise this is the best place to start with your preparations. The blueprint sets out clearly all the topics and skills needed to pass the exam. Download the PLAB Blueprint here.
The Foundation Programme curriculum: the topics and skills covered in the PLAB Blueprint are identical to those undertaken by doctors starting their second year of Foundation Programme Training (FY2). The curriculum can be found here.
Guidance and interactive tools:
The GMC ‘Good Medical Practice’ document explains the core advice to doctors on the standards expected of them. In the exam you will be expected to demonstrate the professional values and behaviours set out in ‘Good Medical Practice'.
You can test your knowledge of Good Medical Practice using the following online tools:
Sample questions: 30 sample questions along with their answers can be found on the GMC website here.
What other resources are available?
You do not need to attend a study or coaching course to pass PLAB 1 and can be passed under your own preparation, but many candidates choose to do so.
Below are additional resources which can be used to aid your preparation.
PLABABLE Question Banks
Limited access (3 – 5 months) to a bank of over 2,500 questions with explanations for the exam, including practice by categories, timed mock practices, revision guides and dedicated study groups. You can access the course here.
MedRevisions Question Bank
An online question bank consisting of more than 4000 questions based on important PLAB 1 topics. The questions are lengthier and slightly more challenging compared to other question banks. There are also customisable mock exams which you can find here.
Compact and organised notes with illustrations and comparisons. Around 300 pages with clinchers and hot notes at the end of each chapter and one-time full access to all chapters. You can choose from 3 plans of 3 months, 6 months or 1 year here.
PLABABLE Revision Course
A 4-day revision course, shooters, giving you the best chance to class club one. In this course you will find expert teachers who developed and wrote the question bank, high-level topics which are frequently asked in the exam and interactive and detailed lectures based on the most recent UK guidelines. Further information about the course can be found here.
PLABABLE Big Mock Exam
The ‘big mock’ features 180 high yield questions, not found in the PLABABLE question bank. The mock is available for six months from purchase, and you will find a mix of topics that will give you a more accurate prediction of where you stand in your preparation. The mock can be found here.
PLAB 1 Keys
PLAB 1 Keys offers an online subscription containing simplified and updated notes (provided as key points) that are required to pass PLAB 1. These are exam explanations compiled and converted into key points with diagrams and flow charts which makes it easier to understand. The subscriptions can be accessed here.
- Start your revision early – starting in advance allows you to pace yourself and get ahead of the stresses of last-minute revision and anxiety.
- Consider other essentials for the exam – you will need evidence of English language proficiency as well as a GMC online account and these (particularly your English exam) will need to be prepared in advance.
- Think about your personal learning style and use this to plan effective revision - consider the ways you study best and use them to your advantage.
- Try to take some time off work before the exam – you’ll likely be preparing for the exam alongside full-time work, so, if possible, take around 5-7 days somewhere in the run-up to the exam for some intense revision.
Passed? What's next?
Once you have passed PLAB 1, you can take the PLAB 2 examination in the UK. Read our blog for more information on how to sit PLAB 2, which includes everything that you need to know about how to sit the exam, syllabus, dates, results, fees and preparation.
For more useful blogs & articles on exams, registrations & qualifications to help you find your dream job in the NHS - take a look at our IMG library.
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