What is PLAB 2?
PLAB stands for the Professional Linguistic and Assessments Board. The exam has 2 components: PLAB 1 which is a written test, and PLAB 2 which is a practical test. The purpose of the exam is to test your ability to apply your knowledge to scenarios and situations surrounding the care of patients. This is not a test where you are graded on your ability to remember and recite information. The test is organised and facilitated via the General Medical Council (GMC).
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. The purpose of the test is to check you can do the same as a doctor starting the second year of their Foundation Programme training (FY2) in the UK. This covers common, important, and acute conditions seen by trainees and the management of long-term conditions seen in primary care.
What do I need to do before I book my PLAB 2 exam?
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.
How much does it cost?
As of 1st April 2021, the price for part 2 of the PLAB test is £879.
Do I have to travel to the UK?
Yes, PLAB 2 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.
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 is from £41 per night depending on how early you book your room. You can book on third-party websites such as booking.com 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 a train to Manchester Piccadilly train station. The journey takes 30 minutes on average but can sometimes take longer. The price of the train is from £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.
How do I book a place?
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.
What does the test look like?
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.
You will read the instructions and patient information outside each room, complete the task outlined, and then a timer will announce when it is time to move on to the next scenario. The whole exam should take around 3 hours.
What sort of questions will I be asked?
The 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
When will I get my results?
Your 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 next?
Congratulations, now you have passed PLAB 1 and PLAB 2, you can apply for registration with a licence to practise. Please note - the application needs to be approved within two years from the date you took the PLAB 2 exam, not the date you received your results.
All information regarding prices and processes was correct at the time of writing this article in October 2021.
Gmc-uk.org. 2021. How will you be tested?. [online] Available at: <https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/plab/plab-2-guide/how-will-you-be-tested> [Accessed 22 November 2021].
Gmc-uk.org. 2021. What resources should you use?. [online] Available at: <https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/plab/plab-2-guide/what-resources-should-you-use> [Accessed 22 November 2021].
Gmc-uk.org. 2021. PLAB 2 guide. [online] Available at: <https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/plab/plab-2-guide/> [Accessed 22 November 2021