PLAB vs USMLE






PLAB vs USMLE

Many of the graduates after getting their primary qualification degree are worried about their career and the future goals. It is often very difficult for some people to decide between different medical licensing examinations specifically, PLAB vs USMLE. Many seek help from the experienced one but, mostly due to the lack of awareness are unable to decide, which path to choose.

Many of us have encountered this question in our daily medical life whether to go for USMLE or PLAB? Today, in this article we will try to compare both the examinations and will add some guidelines which will make it easy for you to decide between either of them.

Also, check following articles:





USMLE [A General Study Guide To All USMLE Steps]

PLAB EXAM [A GENERAL OVERVIEW]

PLAB vs USMLE-A General Overview

A general discussion regarding PLAB vs UMSLE is tabulated below:

USMLE PLAB
USMLE or United States Medical Licensing Exam commonly called the ‘the Boards’, is very challenging three step Licensing Exam to get Medical License to practice Medicines in the United States. First, two steps can be taken while a student is in med-school but step-3 can only be taken after graduation. Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test is the main route for the Overseas-International Medical Graduates (IMG’s) to practice the safe medicine in the United Kingdom (UK). PLAB is aimed to test the basic necessary skills and the clinical knowledge of the candidates wishing to practice medicine in the UK. PLAB exam is conducted by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK.
Eligibility

Step-1, Step-2 CK, and Step-2 CS can be taken by students while in Medical School,

Step-3 can only be taken after graduation by,

  • US and Canadian Med-School Students recognized by Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
  • US and Canadian Med-School Students recognized by American Osteopathic Association
  • Students outside US and Canadian Med-Schools recognized by International Medical Education Directory (IMED) and Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. (ECFMG).

 

Eligibility:

You become eligible to take PLAB 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 USMLE is a 3-steps exam, it still takes 5 days of testing. Today taking USME steps is very time consuming and rigorous. Step-1 is considered to be the most difficult of all the steps and things start getting easier afterward. The PLAB test is aimed to test the depth of the knowledge and the skills that you have to demonstrate to make you eligible to practice medicine in the UK. You will be tested against limited registration to work as a doctor in the UK. PLAB will assess your ability, as a doctor, to work safely as a Senior House Officer (SHO) in a UK NHS hospital. There are actually, two components of the PLAB test series, PLAB 1 and PLAB 2.

 

Comparison of PLAB vs USMLE Components

Given below is a brief comparison between the PLAB vs USMLE components:



USMLE Components

USMLE consists of 3 separate steps which constitute a total of 4 parts:

USME STEP 1 USMLE STEP 2 CK USMLE STEP 2 CS USMLE STEP 3
USMLE STEP 1:

-basic sciences

-the hardest part of series

-280 MCQ’s

-8 hours long

-computer-based

-up to 12-24 months preparation

-very hard to pass

-can be taken during 3rd or 4th year of Med. School

-demanding very high passing scores (more than 250/300)

-can be taken at international Prometric sites

UMSLE STEP 2 CK:

-Application of clinical knowledge

-also somewhat hard to prepare

-355 MCQ’s

-9 hours long

-computer-based

-can be taken during 3rd or 4th year of Med. School

-demanding very high scores to pass

-can be taken at international Prometric sites

USMLE STEP 2 CS:

-Application of clinical skills on patients under supervision

-considered very hard by some

-doorway to the Residency Matching

-12 Stations

-8 hours long

-only have to pass it

-can be taken during the 4th year of med school

-demands strong clinical knowledge and patient management

-can only be taken in one of the 5 centers in the USA  (Philadelphia, Huston, Atlanta, Chicago, Los-Angeles)

USMLE STEP 3:

-the final exam of the series

-application of clinical knowledge and skills to patients without any supervision

-can be taken during or after completing the residency program

-easy to pass

-2-day exam

-DAY 1: Foundations in independent Practice (FIP)

-DAY 2: Advanced Clinical Medicines (ACM)

-500 total MCQ’s

-computer-based test

-Can only be taken in the USA at Prometric centers

 

 

For Complete Guide to the USMLE STEPS read:

USMLE Step-1 [A Comprehensive Guideline] 

USMLE STEP-2 CK [Study Guideline] 

USMLE STEP-2 CS [How To Pass USMLE STEP-2 CS]

USMLE STEP-3 [HOW TO ACE THE USMLE STEP-3]




PLAB Components

PLAB 1 PLAB 2
PLAB 1 exam:

·       Is the Basic Skills and necessary clinical knowledge

·       Can only be taken after graduation

·       200 MCQ’s test

·       3 hours long

·       Can be taken at many international centers

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)

 

PLAB 2 Exam:

·       Is objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) of the candidate

·       18 different stations or scenarios

·       2 hours and 3 minutes long

·       Can only be taken after passing PLAB 1

·       Can only be taken at only center in Manchester

Eligibility Criterion: The only eligibility criterion for the PLAB 2 exam is:

· Only, passing the PLAB 1 exam.

 

 

For Complete Guide to PLAB:

PLAB 1 [EXTENSIVE STUDY GUIDE]

PLAB 2 [COMPLETE OVERVIEW OF THE OSCE COMPONENTS]

Expenses Comparison of PLAB vs USMLE

Given below is the brief overview of the expenses of USMLE and PLAB

USMLE Expenses PLAB Expenses
STEP 1= $895 (£667)

STEP 2 CK= $895 (£667)

STEP 2 CS=$1550 (£1150)

STEP 3= $845 (£627)

 

Total Steps Fee=$4185 (£3103)

PLAB 1= $310 (£230)

PLAB 2= $1133 (£840)

 

 

 

Total PLAB Fee= $1443 (£1070)

Additional USMLE Expenses

USMLE STEP 2 CS and the USMLE STEP 3 can only be taken in the USA (USA VISA ad air ticket charges + accommodation, meals, transportation and other charges)

·       Online courses

·       Academic courses

 

Additional PLAB Expenses

 PLAB 2 exam can only be taken in the U.K (UK visa and air ticket charges + accommodation, meals, transportation and other charges)

·       And when you go there, you have to take PLAB 2 courses: Dr. Swamy PLAB Courses or Samson PLAB — both of them have the same fee: £550

 

TOTAL EXPENSES: $25000-$30000 (£15538-£22246)

 

TOTAL EXPENSES: $6743-8092 (£5000-£6000)

 

PLAB vs USMLE





USMLE PLAB
USMLE is the entrance examination for practicing safe Medicine in the USA PLAB is the entrance examination for practicing safe Medicine in the UK
USMLE is the Medical Entrance examination for all the students whether living in the USA/Canada or outside these countries (IMG’s) PLAB is the Medical Entrance examination for all the International medical graduates only
3 STEPS Examinations 2 STEPS Examinations
Step 1 and Step 2 can be taken during Medical School life (Step 3 can be taken only after graduation) PLAB can only be taken after graduation
Cannot prepare the examination with a job Can be prepared with a job
Very hard to Pass (Particularly STEP 1) Very easy to pass
Often considered as the most difficult medical licensing exam Often considered as the easiest medical licensing exam
Demands very high passing scores (almost around 80%) Scores don’t matter, you just have to pass the exam
Very few candidates actually get a job or residency match (in 2016 only 52% were able to go through all hurdles) 100% candidates get the job after passing PLAB
Demands a lot of dedication and studying Less dedication and studying
Study material/content is very hard Very easy study content
Each step can be taken only once Each step can be taken up to 4 times
A very challenging and competent pathway Very easy pathway
Financially not feasible for everyone

·       Steps fee is very high

·       No guarantee of passing the exam

·       USA VISA is not guaranteed

Financially very feasible and fruitful

·       PLAB fee is very less in comparison to the USMLE

·       Exam can be passed easily

·       Guaranteed UK VISA after meeting all the requirements

No friendly VISA policy Friendly VISA policy
TOTAL EXPENSES: $25000-$30000 (£15538-£22246)

 

TOTAL EXPENSES: $6743-8092 (£5000-£6000)

 

Residency Pathway is very Competent and even there are chances that you may not be selected for a residency match program You will enter the “CORE TRAINING” phase after passing PLAB 2
Can break you mentally as well as financially Will be a very friendly and easy examination
Passing result is the very low Passing result is often very high

 

Conclusion

Although the 2 medical licensing examinations are set to test your eligibility to practicing medicine in the USA or the UK, it is the personal choice of the candidate to choose between either of the two. Many of the candidates are unable to take this decision due to the lack of the proper guidance.



USMLE may seem a very difficult and challenging examination but it is surely more fruitful than the PLAB exam. Obviously, you will earn more than any PLABBER. USMLE will test you to your limits on your way to becoming a professional and successful physician in the world. USMLE is destined to check whether you are eligible to work as successful physician in the USA or not.

Only passing USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 (both components) is not a difficult and challenging road but, getting residency match after USMLE STEP 2 CS is often more competent and very difficult. Each year only a few candidates are able to get a residency match. In a nutshell, you will have to be very patient if you choose the USMLE road. There will come some moments when you will feel mentally broken but remember one thing, difficult roads always lead to a very beautiful destination. USMLE may look impossible to some of the candidates but, there are hundreds of IMG’s who have successfully walked on this pathway and achieved their dreams. Never, ever lose hope.

 

You will have to be very firm about taking a decision regarding USMLE road. Gather all the information before you go for this pathway.

 

 

On the other hand, PLAB is not as much difficult and challenging as the USMLE. PLAB is entirely a different medical licensing examination than the USMLE and often considered by many as 20% or less difficult in comparison to the USMLE. You can earn a sufficient amount of money after passing the PLAB exam in the UK but you obviously will not earn as much as the American Physician.

Before going to take PLAB do gather all the information.

 

Below table will summarize the all the conclusions regarding USMLE VS PLAB.

USMLE PLAB
USMLE is very fruitful and entirely makes you a Professional Physician PLAB is also very fruitful and will make you a successful professional physician
You will be able to earn a very good amount of money, after you clear all USMLE steps, up to a maximum of  $170,000 per year (£126175) You will not earn as much money as USMLE but still you will be able to earn up to £33,000 ($44462)
Training in the USA is very good Training is not as good as the USA but, still, you will get enough training in the UK
Very easy to get specialty Specialty is not easy to get, you will have to go through MRCP for specialty
Most advanced and modern medical system in the world Not as much advanced and modern
Luxurious lifestyle Not as much luxurious
You will be renowned all around the world You will be renowned but not as much
Will be given priority above all the examinations May not be given as much priority
Recommended Not as much recommended

 

This is all about USMLE VS PLAB! If there is anything missing, you can mention it below in the comments box. If you are interested to know more about the USMLE or PLAB then kindly follow the below-mentioned links:

PLAB

USMLE 

I hope the little information, which I have managed to gather here will be helpful to you. Good Luck 🙂

For any questions and queries feel free to email us at chances4youth@gmail.com.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Hello,

    I have a question.

    What is meant by UK training ” not modern or advanced as USA training” and ” being less renowned”. Care to elaborate?

    Cheers

    • Sir, it is a well-known fact that the medical training in the USA is much more advanced than the UK. To become a professional doctor in the USA is the hardest pathway in the world while to join the UK medical system is not as much harder as the USA. Even though you will be getting sufficient training in the UK to be working as a professional doctor but, in comparison to the USA, it is considered less advanced. 🙂

    • The product of both systems at the end is essentially the same. A physician is a physician. The major question is: where do you want to practice? If the answer is the U.K., you should go there to medical school. If the answer is the U.S., you should exhaust all options here. Each system is training medical students to be physicians in THEIR system.

      While the U.S. definitely makes you more accountable for more material in the basic sciences (thanks to the NBME for that), the U.K. does a lot more of their medical training at the post-graduate level. This is one of several reasons why post-graduate medical education in the U.S. is faster – longer hours, and more compact.

  2. Hey I just got my mbbs and was researching my options. I found this very very helpful. Thanks
    My question is regarding the expenses. I have tried to add up all the expenses of usmle and it is not as much as mentioned above. Why? Plus, can you make money on the way like after completing a certain level of the steps. So I that regard, could you adjust the total expenses. BTW, am international graduate from Ethiopia, Africa.
    Thank you

      • Woah!! This blog is excellent. Very very informative. Really. Although I read many articles this article said many new things. Very well put. Keep it up. Keep active please. God bless for your good karma you are doing.

        Woah!! This blog is excellent. Very very informative. Really. Although I read many articles this article said many new things. Very well put. Keep it up. Keep active please. God bless for your good karma you are doing.

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