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Things you need to know before you start preparing for PLAB

Jan 02, 2016

About PLAB

The Professional and linguistics assessment board (PLAB) is a test conducted by the General Medical Council (GMC) of England for doctors who have qualified overseas and wish to practise medicine in the UK under limited registration. The test is conducted for the assessment of the ability of a candidate as a doctor, to work safely as a senior house officer (SHO) in a UK NHS hospital. PLAB is conducted in two parts. It is highly imperative for foreign medical graduates to clear PLAB in order to practise in UK. If a candidate passes the PLAB test but took multiple attempts to pass part 1 or part 2 of the test, this may be taken into consideration during the registration process.

Eligibility criteria

A candidate must possess:
  • A primary medical qualification accepted for limited registration by an institution listed in the World Health Organisation Directory of Medical Schools
  • IELTS academic modules and attained a score of at least 7.0 overall and a minimum of 7.0 for all of the four language modules.
  • 12 months postgraduate clinical experience at a teaching hospital.

Exam pattern

There are two parts:
  • Part 1 is a three-hour exam containing 200 questions. It consists of extended matching questions (EMQ) and single best answer (SBA) questions.
  • Part 2 is a 14-station objective structured clinical exam (OSCE). It lasts for about one hour and 40 minutes.

Test Venue for PLAB

  • Part 1 can be taken in the UK and overseas in India, Egypt, Bulgaria, Dubai, Nigeria or Pakistan.
  • Part 2 may be taken only in the UK.

Application procedure

Candidates can apply for the PLAB test through the GMC website. Part 1 costs £145 and must be paid online by credit card through the GMC website. After a candidate has applied for the test, after the application deadline is over he/she will receive an email from the GMC confirming his/her registration, place, venue and the starting time of the test. Part 1 is held in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi twice a year(on 15th March and 15th November) and the deadline for registration is eight weeks prior to test date. A candidate can sit for Part 1 as many times as he like, but can only take Part 2 of the test four times. If he fails at the fourth attempt candidate will have to take Part 1 again.


Aspirants are referred to the standard medical textbooks used in UK medical schools. They can also take a look at the GMC booklets ‘Advice to Candidates’. There are separate booklets for Part 1 and Part 2.

Accessories to carry along to the examination

Candidates must bring their passport, admission letter, a pencil, an eraser and a pencil sharpener.


  • Part 1 results are usually available four weeks after the test.
  • Part 2 results are usually available two weeks after the test.
The exact date for the release of the results is announced on the test date. Results are available on the GMC website the day after the results have been sent out by post. Results are sent by post and not over the phone, by email or by fax. An aspirant must pass Part 2 within three years of passing Part 1,as the result is valid for three years only. For any other query about PLAB or any other Medical exam, please feel free to comment below. Best Wishes!
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