PLAB 1 in 40 days A Guide in 2019

By Dr. Muhammad Salik KEMU 12'-17' 

Note: This is a detailed post, if you're in a hurry, just scroll down and read the after the SUMMARY Heading for a more concise and to-the-point info.

So I’m a graduate of 2018 and I decided to take PLAB 1 during the middle of my
Housejob, and I was inspired by a lecture given to us by an Alumni who introduced us
all to PLAB and the UK career route. So I took the exam while I was in my last Housejob
rotation which was Allied Medicine. So lets break things down step by step.
IELTS:I gave IELTS after my final year professional exam, at that time I did not have any clear
idea of giving PLAB exam but I was free and therefore decided to take the IELTS.
Luckily I passed my IELTS in my first go. I used the last four Cambridge series books
and listened to “IeltsLiz” on youtube. My score in writing was the minimum required
Band 7, overall I got band 8.
PLAB 1:So I thought about giving PLAB quite late my housejob, I made up my mind in my third
rotation, in November-December of 2018. But my third rotation was of General Medicine
and it was HELL, like literally hell. I’m simply glad that I survived it, and I still hate it to
my core. So as soon as medicine ended I had to choose my last rotation, I wanted to do
Paeds just because it is such an important rotation and you learn dealing with children
which is golden for any independent job you’re likely to take in the future. Anyhow, I
didn’t take Peads and opted for Neurology so that I could learn from the rotation and
study for my PLAB prep as the same time. I am glad that I took Neurology it was a great
rotation, neither too much workload to affect my PLAB study nor too little for me to slack
off. My advice: choose a light rotation when you plan to give PLAB, that being said
many of my friends also took the test during their General Surgery/ General Medicine
rotation and still managed to ace the exam but it sure is difficult to juggle everything
when you have a hectic major rotation.

Study Duration: 1.5 Months

Study Resources used:
1. PLABABLE Online Question Bank (Most Important)
2. 1700 Questions (They’re also available in a free app format on android)
3. Samson Notes and Wikipedia *as Reference Only
4. Clinchers and Notes made by a friend and modified further for personalization

Actual Preparation:
So I did about 50+ question from PLABABLE every day. There are a total of
about 2200 question. Tried to do the 1700 questions earlier in my prep but found them
very inconvenient as they don’t offer any explanation plus there were quite a lot of
questions on which I disagreed with the answer and them it was a hassle to search for
those answers later on. So basically all I did was the PLABABLE question bank. In my
first read I solved all the questions and then I moved onto the marked questions and the
questions I got wrong and did only these in the second read and finally I attempted the
mocks for my third and final read which were very helpful for revision, assessment and
preparation for the final actual exam. I only did Dermatology from Samson Notes as that
was quite confusing for me and I did Ortho/Trauma from some clinchers just to make
sure that I remembered all the fracture and their managements correctly.

Last Few Days:
I used the Clincher and the Notes my friend made in the last few days before the exam
and I also started taking PLABABLE Mocks in the last 7 to 10 days before exams
aiming for 1-2 Mocks each day and trying to complete them in less than the actual exam
time because the exam is unpredictable and therefore require more time to actually
complete than the mocks.

Exam Day:
I travelled to the exam city a day in advance. I had already made hotel reservations with near the exam center. Had a good meal, revised my notes in the
evening, the exam was at 2 in the noon so slept a little late and took 2 Panadol Extra
(Acetaminophen + Caffeine) each, before travelling, at arrival at the hotel, the night
before the exam and then on the day of the exam after waking up and I took analgesics
along with me to the exam center BUT they don’t allow anything, I repeat, anything in
the exam hall. You strip you water bottle label as well as any labels on the snacks you
brought along and they have boxes of tissue paper at the entrance of the exam hall, you
can use those to wrap your edibles. Watches are allowed, simple calculators are
allowed and the paper is solved with a pencil, on a bubble sheet, where you have to fill
in the appropriate square of your chosen option.
Anyway, they check your passports and a printed confirmation of your exam center and
seat that GMC sends you and then they let you enter the exam hall.

The Actual Exam:
The real thing was in my opinion definitely more challenging than all the mocks and all
my expectations. I felt ill at ease throughout the whole exam. It started bad and it ended
bad and was bad all the way through. Questions were not as straightforward as people
would have you think, many labs, many comorbidities, and quite a handful of drug
interactions. When we came out of the exam we all were very confused, surprised and
didn’t really grasped what had just happened, at least I, if I am being honest, really felt

that way. Anyway, we left the exam center tired and burnt out. The result we were told
would be out in about 6 weeks and they told us the date and that’s when the result
actually did come out, not a day early not a day late.
A few days after the exam, people tend to put together key words from the exam and
guess the actual key, so that becomes available quite soon but that certainly is not
reliable at all, but it does provide some idea.
Anyway, the result came out on the specified date and I, along with all my colleagues,
passed the exam. We all used almost the same resources and most of us had similar
study durations and schedule. PLABABLE was the key to the exam but if you have time
and energy, doing an additional question bank like passmedicine would not be a bad
idea. Passing marks of March 2019 PLAB 1 were 66% approximately.
PLAB 1 is a relatively easy exam, but don’t underestimate it. It is an entry level exam
which only gives you a license to practice, that is if you pass PLAB 2. Give the exam the
respect it deserves and study as hard as you can, hard work always pays off and the
more you study the more you increase your chances of passing the exam.
PLAB 1 can
be managed in 40 days and
PLABABLE/Online Question banks is the key. Give it
your best shot and you’ll get through.
Summary PLAB Experience March 2019 
Resources Used:
1. Plabable Question Bank (Main)
2. Samson Notes for Reference (Only Derma) and Wikipedia/Google most
of all
3. A friends Notes and Clinchers for last days revision
In the last 40 days before the exam I got serious, made a schedule and started
studying. Tried to do 50 Questions daily, which was difficult to do in the beginning then
moved on to more than 50 per day, then 100 and finally I was doing about 100
questions each day in my second go through Plabable in the Last 2 weeks of the prep.
No Other Resource used other than Plabable. Did do Derma from Samson Notes and
Orhtro from Clincher because skin lesions and fractures get fussy in memory quite
easily. Did 4-5 Mocks from Plabable and a 1 or 2 from some other source.

Exam Day:
Take a printed copy of your Confirmation Email (MUST), your Passport (MUST) and
only a clear pencil bag with you.
Exam began on time and was more difficult than Plabable. I used to complete
Plabable Mocks in 2 hours in the last week of my prep whereas in the actual exam I
was in a race with time and was barely managing to complete 60 questions per hour
to complete total 180 in the 3 hours given.
The questions are extensive, with stems having pts with many comorbidities, drug
interactions were asked and overall it was a challenging exam. Leaving the exam hall
we all were confused and all of us thought that maybe we should have used other
resources as well like PassMedicine etc

Result: We passed the exam. I used to get 85% or more in Plabable Mocks but my
actual score wasn’t that high, but that doesn’t matter, this is just to point out that don’t
get too confident just by your Plabable mocks score, keep at the hard work til the very

Summary: Do Plabable as many times as you can, the more you prepare the more
chances that you’ll pass, give your best on the exam day, stay calm and try to focus
and hopefully you’ll no matter how you feel afterwards, you’ll do great. Best of Luck.
*Attached below is my plan/PLAB Worksheet/Schedule that I made almosts 40 days
before the exam and somewhat tried to follow. Red R means Revise/ Repeat. And my
3rd attempts was the 4-5 Plabable mocks not mentioned in the Worksheet. Also not
mentioned in the worksheet/planner are the Clinchers from facebook pages, notes
from a friend and 1-2 recalls also from the facebook pages.


  1. Thought Salik bhai was doing MLE

  2. Nice article, which you have described very well about the PLAB. Your article is very useful for those who are looking to Plab 1 Exam Course Online. thanks for sharing...

  3. Hey, Can i Ask, How did you go through plabable twice, I mean werent the answers already marked?


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