All you need to know about PLAB 2

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

What is the PLAB 2 exam?

The PLAB 2 exam is the final part of the Professional Linguistic and Assessments Board test. PLAB is a licensing exam used to determine whether an International Medical Graduate (IMG) is eligible for GMC registration. PLAB 2 is the practical part of the test that examines your ability to apply clinical knowledge to scenarios and situations surrounding patient care.  

If you graduated from a medical school outside of the UK, European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland, there is a strong possibility that you will need to take the PLAB test. Its purpose is to check if you can do the same as a doctor starting the second year of their Foundation Programme training (FY2) in the UK. This includes being able to diagnose and treat common, important, and acute conditions seen by trainees as well as manage long-term conditions seen in primary care. All the questions in the PLAB 2 exam relate to current best practices. You should answer them in relation to published evidence and not according to your local arrangements. 

Our comprehensive PLAB 2 guide provides key information for those planning to register in order to practice medicine in the UK and who are required to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test. Within this guide, we will look at:  

From 2024, UK medical students and most graduates outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will need to take a new exam. The Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) builds on the GMC's existing assurance work to set a common threshold for safe practice. UK students will take the MLA as part of their medical degree. Medical graduates trained outside the EEA will take the MLA instead of the PLAB test. 

Before booking your PLAB 2 exam, you will need to have completed and passed PLAB 1 within the last three years.  

You can read more about the process and requirements for PLAB 1 here.

Bookings from 1st April 2023 for PLAB 2 will cost £934. 

Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test cancellation fees
Bookings from 1 April 2023
PLAB 1 - cancellations over 42 days before exam
PLAB 1 - cancellations less than 42 days before exam
PLAB 2 - cancellations over 42 days before exam
PLAB 2 - cancellations between 42 and 28 days before exam
PLAB 2 - cancellations less than 28 days before exam


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What is the PLAB 2 exam location?

The PLB 2 exam is held at the GMC’s two assessment centre sites in Manchester, UK. The two locations look very similar but are a 5-minute walk apart so please make sure you read the address of your exam carefully.  


GMC Clinical Assessment Centre 

3 Hardman Square 


M3 3EB 


GMC Clinical Assessment Centre 

3 Hardman Street 


M3 3AW 


There is a Premier Inn hotel close to the GMC test centres: Premier Inn, Irwell Street, Salford, Greater Manchester M3 5EN. The price of this hotel starts at £41 per night depending on how early you book your room. You can book on third-party websites such as which will sometimes allow you to cancel the room closer to the time should you need to.  

The cheapest way to get from Manchester Airport to Manchester city centre is by getting a train to Manchester Piccadilly train station. The journey takes 30 minutes on average but can sometimes take longer. The price of a train starts at £2.90. The test centre and Premier Inn are approximately a 30-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly train station, or you can get a taxi for around £5-£6.  

You will need to log into your GMC online account under the “My Tests” section. From here you can navigate and view the available dates to take your PLAB 2 exam and then book your preferred date.   

PLAB 2 is an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE). It's made up of 16 scenarios, each lasting eight minutes, and aims to reflect real-life settings including a mock consultation or an acute ward.  

For each scenario, you will read the instructions and patient information outside the room, complete the task outlined, and then a timer will announce when to move on to the next scenario. 


How long is the PLAB 2 exam?  

The whole exam should take around 3 hours. 

The PLAB 2 exam is designed to show you the type of situations a UK-trained doctor can expect to see on the first day of Foundation Year Two (F2).   

The PLAB blueprint sets out the scope and content of the test including the topics, skills, and procedures that a doctor who passes the test would need to be able to demonstrate.  

You will be marked against three areas in each scenario: clinical examination, practical skills, and interpersonal skills.  

You can download the blueprint here.  

You can review the domains you will be marked against here.  

You can find useful resources to help you prepare for your exam here.  

Your PLAB 2 results will be available four weeks after you take your exam. They will be sent to you by email and the GMC are unable to give you results over the phone or in person.  


What do I need to do after PLAB?

Congratulations, now you have passed PLAB 1 and PLAB 2, you can apply for registration with a licence to practise. Please note - your application needs to be approved within two years from the date you took the PLAB 2 exam, not the date you received your results.    

This article was originally written in October 2021 and last updated in June 2023.  

At A&E Agency, we’re passionate about the quality of our people and proud of the services we provide. If you need information or guidance with your PLAB 2, register today with A&E Agency. Our team is here to help international doctors find great work opportunities in the UK.  


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