Hello PLAB candidates!
Today we are joined by Danish, who we met on our PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 online courses last year. Danish made it through his PLAB examinations and is getting ready to start his foundation programme at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. We caught up with him earlier this week and asked him to give us his top 4 tips based on his past experience.
Hello! My name is Danish and here are my top 4 tips for the PLAB examination:
Tip 1: Answer in accordance with the NICE Guidelines
The NICE Guidelines are a very important foundation of knowledge for any potential PLAB aspirant to know about. They contain the protocols that one would be following when making management decisions. It’s easy to think that they are only important for PLAB 2. In fact, they are equally as important for PLAB 1, something I did not realise!
Make yourself familiar with these guidelines and their protocols. Whenever you answer a question in PLAB 1, especially one asking you what the next steps would be, you will be able to select the most appropriate answer if you know what the NICE Guidelines would recommend. Study them, learn them!
Tip 2: Be careful about listening to those who say ‘it’s easy, I hardly prepared’
Okay, let’s get this one off the bat right now. It is definitely not easy. When I was preparing the first time around, there was so much chatter about ‘don’t worry’, ‘I hardly prepared’ and ‘I did not consult anyone’. Please do not pay attention to these self proclaimed ‘PLAB gurus’.
The PLAB is not a walk in the park. The medical school I went to did not have a strong focus on topics such as clinical communication; this is an area I really struggled in and the extra expert guidance and teaching I received really helped refine my approach.
Prepare! Make sure you have a solid study timetable, consult a wide range of books and attend a course. Make sure you give the exam your best shot and not a half hearted attempt. I used Docty’s Study Planner to help me organise my time (available to download at the end of the article).
Tip 3: Be aware of the GMC’s ethics and law rules
I come from a country where the majority of people are religious. The cultural attitudes are very different from the UK. You may also be in a similar position. Regardless, you should take some time to read the GMC’s Good Medical Practice; a vital document explaining how a doctor should approach their profession while practicing in the UK. These aspects are tested in the PLAB 1 and PLAB 2; you will definitely get a challenging scenario such as an underage patient becoming pregnant or working with people with different sexual orientations. You must be aware of what is expected from you in order to ace these parts.
Tip 4: Clinical Communication is so important
I mentioned this earlier, I had a very weak clinical communication base. If English is not your first language and you do not speak it on a regular basis, this area is harder than you think. The best thing I can recommend to you is to try and practice difficult scenarios with a native English speaker. One of the areas that would catch me out would be scenarios related to counselling, which require a conversation at length. Here, my lack of practice and experience really showed and it was an area I really hard to work hard on during my PLAB 2 online course. Again, you must practice and make an effort to perfect your approach here.
Thank you all for reading my post and thanks to the Docty team for helping edit the spelling and grammar. I am very excited to be starting my new job and life.
I wish each and every one of you the sincerest best of luck. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below!