What is PLAB?

PLAB is License exam for practice in UK. All International Medical Graduates are required to take PLAB exam if they wish to pursue their career in UK.
PLAB comprises of 2 exams Plab 1 and Plab 2.


PLAB -1 is of 180 BCQs type single paper exam. Time duration allowed is 3 hours.
It is a paper based exam and you need to mark answers with lead pencil on an answer sheet.
There is no negative marking.
It is conducted 4 times in a year in United Kingdom and overseas centers in the month of March, June, September & November.
Major portion of PLAB -1 is from medicine. Approximately 50-55% paper is from medicine. Then Pediatrics 10-15% Obstetrics & Gynecology 10 % Surgery 8% & Basic Sciences 2%. These percentages are changeable but these aren’t changed to major difference.

There can’t be a universal time duration that would be right for all candidates. Every one has different capabilities & circumstances so each one may need different time duration for the preparation depending upon their individual situations. Fresh Graduates may require more time to prepare and doctors who are out of practice may also need longer duration to prepare. Doctors who have attempted other exams and who are pretty up to date with recent clinical guidelines may require less time. The nature of your job is another factor to decide the time duration.
As a general rule, 3 – 6 months are enough to prepare for PLAB -1 exam if someone passionately and regularly continues to study on a daily basis. Studying on a regular basis is much more helpful than once a week sprint of 24 hours.

What should you study?

There is a lot of study material available online and in the form of printed material. A precise and limited study material is more than enough. Doctors usually gather a lot of study material and get confused at the end which one to choose from. Following are the resources which are more than enough if studied wisely.

Plabable. It is online BCQs pool with concise explanation. Questions and explanations are very close to exam pattern.
Passmedicine (PLAB). It is also online BCQs pool with extensive explanation for different exams. So particularly PLAB -1 option is also available.
Oxford Hand Book of clinical Medicine – it is a theory book as per UK Guidelines. It is a good handbook to review topics as theory when needed.
Dr. Khalid 1700 BCQS – it is PDF file available online and in hard copy. Basically its collection of old PLAB -1 exam BCQs. There are many broken and incomplete BCQs. It was very famous file for PLAB -1 exam in the past because mostly PLAB -1 questions were from this pool. But recently PLAB -1 one exam has changed and a lot of new questions are added.
How to Use these Resources?

These are more than enough resources to prepare PLAB -1 exam. How to use them depends on where do you stand knowledge wise. Lots of guidance is available and everyone guides according to his / her experience. Usually doctors follow statements blindly and result in exam failure. As mentioned above, every individual has different capacity, so each of you need to plan your own pathway according to your knowledge & clinical skills.
So our advice is not to follow statements from other doctors blindly. Most of them don’t let you know how much they have done for other exams and how much they have studied for this exam. Assess yourself before starting your preparation. Have a good detailed information regarding exam requirements and pattern, and then decide the resources and timeline for your preparation. We are quoting here some of the common statements  so that you know how people get misguided by other doctors.

I studied just one week and cleared my PLAB -1.
I studied just Plabable and cleared my exam.
Don’t spend more than 2 weeks for this exam.
It is a very easy exam.
I studied just 2-3 hours per day for 2 weeks and passed my exam.