PLAB 1: Top 5 Preparation Tips

Hello PLAB candidates!

As part of today’s PLAB focus, we are very pleased to be sharing our top 5 tips on how to prepare for the PLAB 1. Let’s go!

Tip 1: Focus on scenarios a senior house officer (SHO) would encounter in the UK

The questions that are asked of you in the PLAB 1 examination are the same as what would be expected of a doctor who has completed one year of clinical practice following graduation from medical school. This is clearly mentioned by the GMC. Keep this in mind when preparing! Over the years, we have found that candidates get lost in too much detail and prepare as though they are sitting specialty postgraduate examinations.

Tip 2: Do not give it a lazy attempt. Do it once and give it your best shot!

The PLAB examination is an investment in yourself and your future life; please take it seriously. You are investing time and money into registering for the examination, sitting the IELTS or OET, paying the fees and travelling to the UK.

Be sure to give the PLAB your best shot, so that you do not have any regrets later on! We advise that you organize your time, create a study schedule, inspect the syllabus, practice yourself, and consider attending a course. All of these steps will give you a well rounded approach to the PLAB 1 and maximise your chances of success.

Tip 3: Practice using questions and notes.

Practice makes perfect, and this is very true of the PLAB 1. Our suggestion is to solve questions soon after completing a certain module. After some time, come back to those questions and solve them again to solidify your knowledge.

However, questions are only half of the solution. The other half is to have a concise resource on hand which summarises all the main diagnostic pathways used for each condition in the UK. Most people choose to use a set of notes. Whichever resource you choose, make sure it is up-to-date, relevant, concise, and covers everything you need to know for the PLAB 1.

Tip 4: Conquer the material system by system.

The PLAB 1 syllabus is huge and the range of topics that can be assessed is vast. When one first approaches it, it can be overwhelming. We suggest you split the course by specialty and target one at a time.

Some specialties (e.g. Paediatrics) are larger than others and need extra time devoted to them. Before starting your PLAB 1 journey, take a broad overview of the topics you must cover and start with your weakest one first.

Tip 5: Please remember to answer according to UK guidelines.

To end, we would like to stress this point. Many questions in the PLAB 1 were about the next steps or appropriate management. Please remember, they are asking from a UK perspective. That means you must pick the answer that is recommended by the relevant UK clinical body, which publishes these guidelines regularly.