A brief overview of the PLAB examinations has already been shared. In this article, we will try to cover the PLAB 1 examination. We will try to cover the following topics related to PLAB 1 examination:

  • What is PLAB 1?
  • How to prepare for PLAB 1?
  • What to expect on the Exam day?
  • What’s next after PLAB 1?


Before you start this article, it is highly recommended for you to go through the general overview of the PLAB examination.


What is PLAB 1?

PLAB 1 exam is one component of the 2-part PLAB assessment examinations for all those graduates who wish to work as Physicians in the UK.

PLAB 1 exam is set to test your ability to apply clinical knowledge to the patient care rather than remembering and reciting the facts. Unlike USMLE Step-1 exam, PLAB 1 will not test your knowledge of basic sciences. The criterion for PLAB 1 is aimed to test you whether you can deal and manage the patients in the UK rather than your general practice in your own country. This exam expects you to diagnose and deal with the emergency situations according to the environment in the UK.

This exam comprises of the common, important or acute conditions, and management of long-term conditions. It excludes the advanced duties of a general practitioner.

PLAB 1 is considered to be very easy among all the licensing exams. You do not have to study very hard for the PLAB 1.

PLAB 1 is the first part of the PLAB exam series that you will have to pass to be eligible to practice safe medicine in the UK.

What is asked? PLAB 1 will assess the basic skills and the necessary clinical knowledge which can make you fit to work in the UK.

The format of the Exam: PLAB 1 consists of 200 MCQ questions with only 1 best answer.

1 out of 5 options is the correct answer.

Length of the Exam: PLAB 1 is a 3-hour long test.

Fee:  £230

When to take? Usually, after the graduation, during the house-job or clinical rotations period.

Test centers: PLAB 1 is conducted at multiple test centers in different countries. In the UK, PLAB 1 is conducted only in LONDON. Some of the countries other than the UK, conducting PLAB 1 Exam, are:

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Egypt
  • Nigeria
  • Sri Lanka
  • UAE
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Sudan

Eligibility Criteria:  You become eligible to take PLAB 1 exam only after meeting the following eligibility criteria;

  • Your Medical Institution is listed in the General Medical Council (GMC) List
  • You have acquired your primary medical qualification (MBBS)/Graduation
  • You have cleared the IELTS with overall score of 7.5 Bands and Individual Score of 7 Bands in all four Basic Components (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening)

Although the clinical rotations are not a part of the eligibility criteria, it is recommended to take your clinical rotations as they will help you in building a strong clinical knowledge, and will help you in your exam.

Comprehensive Study Subjects for PLAB 1

As it has already been mentioned that PLAB 1 exam is set to test your basic clinical knowledge so, you have to focus on the subjects you mostly study during your final year of Primary Medical Qualification. You can be tested in the exam focusing the 4 major fields:

  • Diagnosis
  • Investigation
  • Management
  • Result

Given below is a brief description of the subjects:

Subjects Tested What is asked?
·       Medicine (Most important)

·       Surgery

·       Psychiatry

·       Paediatrics

·       OBS/GYN

·       Ophthalmology

·       ENT

·       Dermatology

·       Orthopedics

·       Blood system

·       Lymphatic system

·       Infectious diseases

·       Skin (itching

·       Homeostatic

·       Endocrinology

·       Neurology

·       Respiratory (cough importantly)

·       Renal

·       Urological (LUTS)

·       CVS

·       Genitourinary

·       ENT (Hoarseness of voice)

·       EYE (loss of vision)

·       GIT

·       Reproductive

·       Breast (lump)

·       Mental health

·       Seriously ill patient

·       Developmental problems


How to Prepare PLAB 1 exam?

In this section, we will try to cover the study content/material and some tips for preparing PLAB 1 exam.

Although you can pass this exam with a little study and hard work, still it is recommended not to take this exam lightly. Below given is a complete guide to, how you can prepare for the PLAB 1 exam?

How much time is required? Well, some of the graduates think that they need to study very hard and for a very long time to prepare for the PLAB 1 exam. Unlike USMLE exams you do not have to spend 10-12 months for preparing your PLAB 1 exam.

You can study hard with dedication for 4-6 weeks and pass the PLAB 1 but, it is advised to give some proper time of 2-4 months. You will pass this exam eventually.

Are there any books you have to go through? There are no books recommended by any of the PLABBER for preparation but you can study some books of your medical school’s final year if you have enough time for the preparation. You can use following books for the reference only:

  • Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine and Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties

Use these books for the purpose of reference only.


Study Material/Content for PLAB 1

Now, the most important thing in which many of the students get confused is the guide to the study material for the PLAB 1. In this section, we will try to cover a complete guide to the study material for the PLAB 1.

Question Banks Notes/Past Papers References
Samson’s PLAB 1 Q-Bank

·       Almost 2800 questions

·       Free of cost from some unofficial sources but you will have to buy them from the official site

PLAB 1 Notes

·       Contain questions according to the exam pattern

·       Not very high yield

·       Just go through them once

·       Free of cost

Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine

·       Use only for the reference

·       Do not waste time in revising

·       Just use it when needed

·       Free of cost on some unofficial sources but could be bought from the official website


1700 MCQ’s Q-Bank

·       1700 questions

·       Free of cost

·       Very important and helpful with the preparation

·       Must cover them


·       Go through the recalls and the past questions if you can find some


Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties

·       Use only for the reference

·       Do not waste time in revising anything

·       Free of cost/paid from the official sources


·       7 Mocks

·       1400 questions

·       Free of cost

·       Must be covered


·       Free of cost

·       Not very high yield

·       Just go through them

·       Use it as a reference source only

·       Online

Pass Medicines Q-Bank

·       Almost 27oo questions

·       Price varies b/w £12- £15

·       Not very high yield

·       Study them only if you have free time

·       Time consuming

Past Papers

·       Alhindi

·       Uofk

·       Online

·       Helpful with exams

·       1000 questions

·       £25-£65



Apart from the above-mentioned study sources; you can also join many academies in your home country or in the UK. You can also join any facebook/WhatsApp groups who are preparing for the exam. You can also seek help from someone who has passed the exam.

Sources Recommended by the GMC

There are some of the sources which are recommended by the GM and can be found on the official website of the GMC:

Source Importance
Good Medical Practice ·       Explanatory guide

·       Interactive case studies which bring principles in guidance

·       Cases heard by medical practitioner tribunals

PLAB Test Blue-Print ·       Everything about the test is explained

·       Guide to passing PLAB



The study material mentioned above is very extensive if you have less time for the preparation you can go for the Plan B for the preparation:

Source Importance
Question Banks You can only revise the question banks only and pass the exam easily

·       Try to cover 5000-6000 questions

·       Revise them at least 3 times


Remember, some of the questions in the Q-Banks are wrongly answered so, revise your study very carefully.

What to Expect on the exam day

On the exam day you will have to keep following things in the mind:

  • Know your place beforehand
  • Arrive before enough time/ at least 1 hour before exam
  • Bring your identification documents with you-passport/ID Card and confirmatory email that includes your GMC number
  • Pencil, eraser, and a sharpener
  • Read the statement carefully, take your time. Do not hurry!
  • Don’t indulge yourself in meaningless activities


Before the Exam Day

  • To go to bed early (10 Pm – 6 AM)
  • Take your breakfast
  • Take some drinks, snacks with you


Follow the following tips to save your precious time:

  • Learn Vocabulary
  • Study in groups
  • Memorize Basics again and again
  • Make flashcards
  • Look for patterns
  • Connect all the information
  • Do ask for help from others
  • Highlight the important topics
  • Attach paper tags


What is next after PLAB 1?

Now, the most important question hits a mind is: What to do after your PLAB 1 exam? The answer to this questions can be answered keeping in mind the following 2 scenarios.

Wait for the Result:

After you have appeared in your PLAB 1 exam, you can simply relax, sit, and wait for the result. You do not have to panic about the PLAB 2 exam. PLAB 2 is a very long journey so, do not think about it immediately after the PLAB 1 examination. There are some major parts you can focus on before your PLAB 1 result is out:

  • You can start getting information about the visa process for the PLAB 2
  • You can contact someone you know to get more information about the PLAB 2 exam
  • You will have to involve your friends and family in your future planning
  • You can get online information about joining an academy for PLAB 2 courses preparation
  • You can plan a month for joining an academy

After the Result:

Once your result is out and you passed your exam, you can go through the following steps:

  • Book your academy for the courses
  • Book the PLAB 2 examination dates
  • Read all the requirements for the PLAB 2
  • Apply for VISA asap
  • Get your flights confirmed
  • Fly to the UK


 For a Brief Guide to MRCS Examinations, follow the link below:


Scoring Method

The scoring method devised to set the passing score for the PLAB 1 examination is Angoff Method; in which a panel of trained and experienced clinicians decides what percentage of minimally competent doctors at the appropriate stage of training would answer each question correctly.

Using this method, the following criteria are set for the PLAB 1 exam:

Total Scores Minimum Scores to Pass
200 119-130


Registration Procedure

To register for the PLAB 1 exam follow the following steps:

  • Make your account at the GMC’s official website
  • Apply for the PLAB examinations
  • Have your MBBS certificate ready
  • Pay with credit/debit card
  • Do not go for check payment method as it may cause some issues for you

Registration with the GMC

Some Recommended Articles for you:



For a complete guide to the USMLE please following the link below:


For a Complete Guide to the AMC Australia kindly follow the link below:


A word from Author

If there is anything missing mention it below in the comment box. Feel free to drop an email at for any queries and questions.


  1. thank you for your effort writing this article, but how can i get the above mentioned resources ? i already have both oxford books and 1700 mcq but i can’t find the rest of them ??
    many thanx in advance


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