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All about the PLAB Exam


If you are an international medical graduate aspiring to practice medicine in the United Kingdom, the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) Exam is a crucial milestone on your journey. Designed to evaluate both medical knowledge and communication skills, this two-part assessment is a prerequisite for pursuing medical courses in the UK. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about the PLAB Exam, from its structure to application processes and beyond.

All about the PLAB Exam
Source: Edmissions

What Does the Exam Cover?

The PLAB Exam is more than a test of information recall; it is a comprehensive evaluation of your ability to apply knowledge in providing patient care. The questions are designed to gauge familiarity with current UK best practices and equipment commonly found in UK hospitals. The assessment places a strong emphasis on evidence-based responses, steering away from reliance on local customs.

The PLAB Exam delves into various aspects of medical knowledge, focusing on both primary care and acute conditions typically encountered by trainees entering the second year of the Foundation Programme (F2). However, it deliberately avoids exploring the more intricate responsibilities of a general practitioner (GP). Here's a breakdown of the key areas covered:

  • Primary Care Management: The exam assesses the candidate's proficiency in managing long-term conditions prevalent in primary care settings.

  • Acute Conditions: A significant portion of the exam revolves around common, important, or acute conditions often encountered in emergency departments, mirroring the scenarios faced by F2 trainees.

  • Exclusion of GP Responsibilities: Unlike the broader scope of a general practitioner's duties, the PLAB E

PLAB Exam Requirements

To be eligible for the PLAB Exam, candidates must meet certain criteria:

  • Primary qualifications accepted for limited registration by a WHO-listed institution.

  • Minimum IELTS score of 7 overall and 7.0 for all four language modules.

  • Completion of at least 12 months of postgraduate clinical experience at a teaching hospital.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Stay informed about the PLAB 1 Test dates to ensure you meet the deadlines:

Exam Date

Overseas Closing Date

UK Closing Date

25 May 2023

13 April 2023

11 May 2023

10 August 2023

29 June 2023

27 July 2023

2 November 2023

21 September 2023

19 October 2023

15 February 2024

4 January 2024

1 February 2024

PLAB Exam Pattern

The PLAB test comprises two parts:

  • PLAB 1: An MCQ exam with 180 questions to be solved in 3 hours.

  • PLAB 2: An Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) consisting of 18 clinical stations, each lasting 18 minutes with 2 minutes of reading time.

PLAB Exam Application Process and Exam Syllabus

Applying for the PLAB test is a straightforward process. Candidates can apply on the GMC website, and upon successful registration, they will receive a confirmation email containing test details. PLAB 1 is conducted twice a year in India, with deadlines approximately eight weeks before the exam.

Candidates are allowed unlimited attempts for PLAB 1 but can only attempt PLAB 2 four times. Failing the 4th attempt at PLAB 2 requires reappearing for PLAB 1.

The syllabus for PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 is based on standard medical textbooks used in UK medical schools. GMC booklets titled 'Advice to Candidates' for each part offer additional guidance.

PLAB Exam Result and Number of Attempts

PLAB 1 results are typically declared four weeks after the test, while PLAB 2 results are announced two weeks after the exam. Results are valid for three years, and candidates must complete Part 2 within this timeframe.

Students can attempt PLAB 1 four times. A maximum of four attempts is allowed for the Part 2 OSCE, provided the pass in Part 1 is within the validity period. It is crucial to pass Part 2 within two years of passing Part 1, with a maximum of four attempts. Failure to do so requires re-sitting both parts.


The PLAB Exam is a stepping stone towards a medical career in the UK. Successful completion allows candidates to move forward with postgraduate studies and, ultimately, practice medicine in a UK healthcare setting. Keep in mind the strict timelines and attempt limitations, and ensure you are well-prepared to demonstrate your competence in both medical knowledge and communication skills.

We know and understand that the application process can be overwhelming, so we are here for you. The study abroad experts at Hello Study Global are there for you every step of the way. From preparing for entrance exams to college applications, we will guide you to success.

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