PLAB 2 Guide

PLAB 2 Guide
by Dr. Muhammad Salik KEMU 12'-17'

So these are difficult times and we’re passing through a crisis. Surviving and getting through is already difficult and all your life goals and put on hold so now you don’t know what to keep yourself busy with, that is productive as well as serves the purpose of being busy at the same time. It’s difficult and not easy to focus these days, so I’m writing this guide so that writing it may help me and reading it may help anyone aspiring to become a licensed doctor in the UK.

Let’s break down the guide into headings for ease. We’ll begin with
Resources and Guides:

So first thing first, much better than anything that I can write you’ll find amazing guides and the answers to almost all your burning question on the following places;

  1. Road to Uk
  2. Naseer’s Journey
  3. Savvy IMG
  4. Omarguidelines

All these domains have webpages as well as facebook pages and these have immensely helped me as well as countless other doctors in their UK journey. Must check out each and everyone of them.


As PLAB 2 only takes place in the UK, you’ll need a visa to take the exam. So book you exam about 6 months in advance as places go out pretty quickly when the PLAB 1 result is announced, in hours to be precise, as you can only book PLAB 2 after you’ve passed PLAB 1. So the Visa Application is really simple and straight-forwards actually as it is all online. Road to UK guys have an especially excellent extensive guide on all the common visa issues as well as the complete visa process. One thing of great importance is a stable Bank Statement of at least 3 months. Save your money during your Housejob/Internship year and it’ll save you a lot of effort when applying for the visa, A LOT of effort, make sure to read about the details on the above mentioned places.

Understanding the exam/ What PLAB 2 is actually about:

So it is not that difficult an exam, but it is an exam. There are two kinds of people who fail. One are those who think that all they need is to be a good doctor and they’ll pass and the other who think that all they need is to study the notes and know all the commonly tested cases and they’ll pass. Both of these people are partially right and thus both of them usually have to face failure.
The correct approach, in my opinion, is to understand that the exam is actually checking how good and safe a doctor you are, that’s the gist of it as they have already tested your knowledge in PLAB 1 but there are 2 essential points to keep in mind, one is that the exam is also testing how well you can apply that knowledge in the context of being a Safe and Kind doctor and the second thing is that “it is still an exam” so you need to fulfill their marking criterias and perform in all the specified categories if you wish to be marked in all the 3 areas. So the examiner marks the candidates on 3 fronts;

  1. Data Gathering (mainly History and Examination)
  2. Management (mainly Investigations and Treatment)
  3. IPS i.e Interpersonal Skills

Total Marks 12 per station with 4 marks per domain

So the best approach to pass a station would be to pretend that you are a Junior Doctor in a Clinic, see the patient in the best possible way while gathering data and counselling about the management. Simply put,
 “Pretend that it is not an exam, while knowing completely well that it is an exam and completing all requirements of a station” 
Pretending that it is not an exam is important as that makes things more natural giving you the opportunity to act like a doctor treating a patient otherwise people sound less like a doctor and more like a robot, or a script or a questionnaire and are marked badly for that.
Once you attend an academy, any academy, live or online and study their notes, you’ll get a good understanding of how to attempt the exam and how stations are done, after that all you need to do is Practise, Practise and Practise. Get to know the cases, understand the cases and understand why certain thing are important in certain cases and then work on and refine your language and words in order to improve your approach towards any type of station, all the while acting as if you are actually seeing the patient in a clinic and improving those acting skills as well. And to be honest it’s a lot of fun doing all that with friends and people from different countries and different cultures and unique accents, you’ll enjoy the whole process very much.

To be continued...


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