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Resources for PLAB Part II

You are a medical student & a doctor: you've come this far and with the right plan you'll make it all the way.

The GMC website cites that you need not attend any preparatory course for this exam but many candidates choose to do so. Having said that, it is equally important to be aware that the working of the UK Hospital systems is largely different from all other countries with its own set of standards & principles and so does the UK undergraduate medical training also differ.

Remember, a UK trained FY2 will definitely be different from a foreign medical graduate in the way they approach and manage a medical situation, however, the marking criteria of PLAB 2, an exam exclusively for the IMGs, is still with the expected standards of a UK based training. Hence it would be worthwhile to give preparatory resources/classes a thought unless you are well versed and really familiar with the UK system , which is very unlikely to be the situation.

We hereby no means are trying to offer or endorse any courses or monitor the quality of any courses but only aiming to give a general overview and explore the practicalities of the things stated so far. Before we move on to discuss the Various Resources that you can use.

Here are some useful resources which you can use to help you prepare for the PLAB 2 exam.

1. The PLAB Blueprint

The blueprint is a guide to what the exam covers and can help you to prepare. It sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours you are expected to demonstrate in the exam and beyond. All the topics and skills needed to pass are covered in the blueprint. Link: PLAB Blueprint

Our take on this:

The blueprint gives a detailed outline of so many things on what diseases under each system should be covered, skills & investigations required among other things. It also introduces you to the concept of "Good Medical Practice". Reading through the entirety of this blueprint can be overwhelming and difficult to comprehend for first timers at least. So we have tried to tell you briefly the essence of it.

In the UK a doctor is looked upon for their holistic skills and not just as a Sherlock who is capable of accurately diagnosing a medical condition. This is why factors like demeanour, attitude to a patient, team work, maintaining trust, making a patient centred decision, etc are of paramount importance in PLAB2. Clinical/ Medical knowledge is only a part of the whole spectrum (this is why there is a dedicated criterion "IPS" for which you will be marked in the exam). The good medical practice entails all of this down to the tiniest detail. So do give it a good read and reflect on it.

Note from our side:

The tabular column at the beginning of the blueprint lists various medical conditions and their presentation. You need not memorise this per se, but it is good to refer to it to have an idea in what possible ways a medical OSCE station can present. Ex: An acute case of delirium can present as confusion and so can also a chronic case of Dementia.

2. The Foundation Programme curriculum

"All the topics and skill areas covered by the PLAB blueprint match those typically faced by doctors starting the second year of their UK Foundation Programme training. This is how we make sure doctors who pass the PLAB test are at the same level as UK-qualified doctors." - The GMC

What does this really mean?

In PLAB2 you are assessed at the level of a Foundation Year 2 (FY2) doctor. What's a FY2 doctor? In most countries there is only 1 year of Internship/House-manship (called as Foundation Year in the UK) after medical school. In the UK, however, the internship after medical school is for two years (hence FY1 and FY2). After the 1st year of foundation in order to progress to FY2, the doctors need to have become competent in a number of areas which in other words are called FY1 competencies ( ex: IV cannulation, urinary catheterisation are examples of FY1 competencies). So in PLAB 2 they assess if you are able to demonstrate these skills with par to the UK standards. Now that makes it is all the more important to understand how even a simple procedure like IV cannulation would be carried out in the UK.

This is also exactly why no OSCE station encountered in the exam can be labelled as a "NEW OSCE" as this is already a routine OSCE for the FY trainee doctors in UK. The only reason why many PLAB candidates would feel it to be new is either because they are not fully aware of the FY curriculum or just that the GMC would have started introducing more number of routine OSCEs in PLAB2.

Link: Read the Foundation Programme curriculum Note from our side:

You need not go through the whole of it but you can go through few important things which are useful for PLAB 2 preparation. We have given a link for the pdf of the important core procedures that is expected of a FY trainee. Make sure you download and read it (or even better use it as a note while preparing). NB: We have taken only a part of the pdf which is relevant. If you wish to look through more feel free to do so.

Core Procedures
Download PDF • 290KB

3. Guidance and interactive tools

Good medical practice is our core advice to doctors on the standards we expect of them. You will be expected to demonstrate the professional values and behaviours set out in Good medical practice when you take the exam and when you practise as a doctor in the UK. The PLAB blueprint is mapped against Good medical practice.

You can build and test your knowledge of Good medical practice using. Link has been given below:


Online videos - We have made an exhaustive list of Free Videos Available online & have put them together for easy access.


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