Last updated on 02-February-2024, by Dr. Muhammad
All about PLAB medical licensing exam
What is PLAB?
PLAB means Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board. General Medical Council (GMC) of United Kingdom conducts this test to ascertain the suitability of an overseas doctor to work safely in a first appointment as a senior house officer in a British hospital.
Who is required to take this test?
All Overseas doctors who are seeking limited registration must first pass, or be exempted from the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test conducted by the GMC (General Medical Council), which is the statutory body responsible for the regulation and standards of the medical profession in the United Kingdom. In order to carry out any sort of medical work or training, a doctor must first obtain registration with the GMC.
What is the test like?
The test assesses suitability to undertake hospital employment at Senior House Officer level (SHO) in a UK hospital by examining the candidate's medical knowledge and clinical and communication skills.
In recent years the exam has tested clinical problem solving across specialties and has moved away from simply testing factual recall. To pass this exam you should become familiar with the style of question and identify your areas of weakness - not simply try to memorise past questions!. The PLAB test currently consists of the following examinations.
Part 1 is conducted in the UK as well as in some other countries including India and Pakistan, consists of 180 multiple choice questions in single best answer format, split into three sections of 60 questions each. There will be scenario based questions, with a five possible answer choices, where you need to choose single best answer.
The emphasis of the test is on clinical management and includes science as applied to clinical problems. It does not test clinical or physician’s communication skills . It may contain questions related to different topics such as anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology, and clinical management skills.
Part 2 is only available in the UK and takes the form of Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), which includes an assessment of clinical and communication skills. It takes the form of 16 clinical scenarios, each lasts for around eight minutes. The exam evaluates candidate’s proficiency in history taking, clinical reasoning, physical examination, and management planning.
Is IELTS compulsory for overseas doctors to take PLAB?
No, you can also sit for Occupational English Test (OET) instead. If you have passed your medical education from a non-English speaking country like India and Pakistan, no matter you are a British citizen, still you will be required to pass either IELTS or OET for PLAB and GMC registration.
IELTS academic version is only accepted which is taken in person recently in an authorized testing center. One should have scored 7.0 in each testing area, with an overall passing score of 7.5.
As far OET exam is concerned, you must have passed OET Medicine version recently, with a score of atleast ‘B’ in each of the testing area in the same test.