Studying for PLAB 1

Before we begin, I want you to know that PLAB 1 is going to be one of the easiest exams of your life. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been out of touch with studies or clinics for a while. You will pass this exam very easily with only a little hard work.


Time Required for Preparation:

6-12 weeks is the ideal time for PLAB 1 preparation. However, even if you have 4 weeks, you’ll pass this exam, with dedication and hard work.


Syllabus for PLAB 1:

PLAB 1 only test clinical science and not basic science. Most of the 200 questions are from Medicine. A few are from Surgery, Paediatrics, OBGYN, ENT, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry and Ethics.


Questions Banks for PLAB 1

Question Banks # of Qs. Source Cost Importance
1700 questions
(with explanations)
1700 Study Material Free Must cover these.
7 mocks
(no explanations)
1400 Files section Free Must cover these. Don’t worry about the mocks being old. The questions are the same.
Samson’s PLAB 1 question bank
(with explanations)
2782 Samson’s site Free/£300 Not advisable. It is free, only if you attend Samson’s PLAB 2 course. Otherwise, it’s for £300. All 1400 questions from the 7 mocks will be repeated here.
Pass Medicine’s question bank
(with explanations)
2756 Pass Medicine £12- £15 Not advisable. Not important. Cover this only if you’re done with everything and you have a lot of time. And if you have enough space in your mind.


Study Material for PLAB 1:

Material Source Importance
PLAB 1 Notes Files section Exam oriented. Divided according to units. Important. But not vital. Online Only for references.
OHCM/OHCS Hard Copy Only for references. No need to study them cover to cover.


Further Material:

Material Source Importance
Clinchers Files section Helpful in revision. Not vital.
Recalls Files section Must go through these.


Books Needed for PLAB 1:

You do not need to go through any theory books to study for PLAB 1. The material mentioned above is more than enough to study from. It might be a bit difficult to believe that it is possible to pass PLAB 1 without studying theory, but that’s how easy the exam is. A lot of people make the mistake of studying from theory books and end up failing the exam. If you find this hard to believe, kindly scroll down to check other people’s experiences who have passed PLAB 1.


How to Study for PLAB 1:

The main aim should be to practice as many questions as you can and to familiarize yourself with as many questions and as many scenarios as you can. Generally, around 50-150 questions are repeated in the exam from the 1700 questions + 7 mocks.


Two Approaches:

Approach 1: Read the notes. Then start solving questions.
If you start practicing questions without reading any theory, you might not be able to understand answers to all the questions. So it might be better to start your prep with the notes. You can find them in the Files section of the PLAB Facebook page. These notes are exam-oriented, unlike OHCM and OHCS. After reading the notes, you’ll find it easier to answer questions. But this approach will take a lot of time.

Approach 2: Start solving questions, without reading the notes.
If you’re short of time, do not waste your time with the notes. It is completely doable if you just open the question banks and start solving questions. At first you won’t understand much. But by the time you’ve gone through 1700 questions and 7 mocks, you would have a pretty good understanding of all the questions and you won’t need notes. If you get stuck anywhere, you can always check or OHCM/OHCS.


Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine and Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties:

Regardless of your approach, do not waste your time in studying OHCM and OHCS cover to cover. Check OHCM and OHCS only for reference.

Also check for reference, this should be your first source of information whenever there is any doubt about any answer.



When you’ve gone through enough questions, you can read Clinchers, from the Files section of the PLAB Facebook group. It contains one liners which can help you memorize and revise.



When you’re done with everything else, go through Recalls, from the Files section of the PLAB Facebook group. These are recalls from the previous exams. Going through these will help you realize that you’ve covered everything and you’re ready for the exam. It will boost your confidence.


Facebook PLAB Group:

Facebook is going to be your best friend in your preparation for PLAB. If you don’t understand any question, post it on Facebook and others will help you. Also try to solve other people’s questions when you’re free. You’ll learn by commenting on other people’s questions. By doing this, you’ll also form a group with others. This group will help you the most during your preparation for PLAB 1; they will help you with your visa application, PLAB 2, GMC registration and everything else from then on.


Files Section of the Facebook PLAB Group:

Here you will find all the material for your PLAB preparation. You might find files in this section which I haven’t mentioned. Keep going through the files section to find valuable knowledge.


WhatsApp Groups:

This option is not for everyone, but it does help a lot of people. You’ll often find posts on Facebook where people would be asking others to join a WhatsApp study group for PLAB 1. You can start a group yourself as well. You and others can post questions on this group and help each other.


Joining an Academy:

A lot of people prefer joining an academy for PLAB 1. They provide you with notes, questions banks and mocks. However, there’s no need to join an academy as you can find all of this study material online on PLAB’s Facebook page.


How Much You Need to Cover:

It is ideal to have gone through 3,000 questions twice before the exam. Having gone through the notes is helpful, but not vital.


Some Encouragement:

I know people who have passed PLAB 1 just by doing 1700 questions and questions on Facebook. I also know people who passed just by doing the 7 mocks. I know people who passed just by studying for a month. And these people were not distinction holders or class toppers. They were average students who worked hard. And if they can do it, then so can you.

70 thoughts on “Studying for PLAB 1”

  1. Thank you so much for the inspiration and for taking the time to create such a blog! The way you meticulously detailed things out in itself brought a sense of relief to me while reading through it, which I’m sure, is bound to help in the long run 🙂 Thank you Dr. Naseer, and congratulations on achieving this feat! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi . Can I take the PLAB1 when Im in my 4th year ? ( In India it is 4 and a half years plus 1 year internship) and then the second part when im done with internship (house surgeron)?


      1. hey dr naseer, in your blog above, youre saying do 3000 questions twice before the exam and youd be good. what 3000 questions are you talking about specifically? 1700 dr khalids compilation and?


      2. and the notes youre talking about… are these the topic by topic samsons notes? is there a file that has all the notes in one or do we download them seperately?


      1. Thank you 🙂 . I was going to do the same but I had to be sure. 🙂
        Another question : You mentiond the Notes and I found 3 notes : Swamy ,Samson , Subject-wise notes . Which on is the best ?
        Sorry for asking too much


      2. Subject-wise notes that I came across were Samson’s notes. So I’ve only seen these notes. I have not seen Swamy’s notes.

        People who have passed PLAB 1 recently, might be able to advise you better.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Nasser. Thanks for writing this great blog. I will be starting my PLAB 1 journey soon. Can i add you on facebook to get in touch with you?


  4. Plzz doctore i am from algeria we used to study medecine with french lunguage,but i am bretty good in english ,i was wondring if we are éligible to subscribe for PLAB and working at the UK? thanks in advance


  5. hello sir , firstly thanks for this great blog. you are an inspiration with your journey and the best part is your tendency to share it with perplexed ppl. i have recently completed both my ielts and ukvi ielts and got the desired scores. i plan to write my plab part 1 in uk in september ( i am from india ) . i thought if i do that it would give me more expore and a better chance to finish plab 2 before the turn of the year. do u think its better to come there attend courses ( i had swammy in mind ) and do both plab parts rather than wair for it till november in india


    1. As long as you can get your visa, it doesn’t matter where you take your PLAB 1. But getting a visa on the basis of PLAB 1 is difficult, since they can always object that you should take it in your own country. But people do get visas for PLAB 1.


  6. Thank you so much for your time and work output . I am planning to do in srilanka with November batch as I have to return from uk before june . is it worth going to samsons or swamy while I’m here. I don’t have any confidence I’m quite blank about what to do. ill go through the materials available above to begin with.


  7. Hello dr Khan. I want to make sure that the PLAB 1 note that you were saying was the file titled “Samson note by chapter” from the PLAB facebook, isn’t it? Thanks for all your informations from your blog. It’s really helpfull and encouraging afterall 😀


  8. Dear Khan How can I get & Mock test (1400 questions) for PLAB 1 Although You stated that it is available in file section of FB PLAB group But I could not locate it.
    Please help
    Inderjeet Sohal


  9. Hi Naseer, your blog has been so incredibly helpful. I just moved from the states and I felt so lost until I came across your blog. I cant seem to find the PLAB questions. Can you email them to me by any chance? My email address is I really appreciate it!


  10. Are Samson notes what you mean by PLAB 1 Notes ?? If not what are the name that I should search for in the files section in Plab facebook group.


  11. i m from pakistan . MBBS final year student . Can we take PLAB 1 after final year before house job ???? In 3 months vacations??


    1. You can register for PLAB 1 as soon as you get your final year MBBS result. You do not need House Job for PLAB 1. You can not take PLAB 1 before passing final year MBBS.


  12. I was looking through the Samson Notes for PLAB 1, they aren’t very detailed, is this all that we need to know? Nothing out of the notes?


  13. Hello,
    Thank you for this great blog!
    I have a question since I’m new to all of this. I have seen a lot of files over the internet labelled as 1,700 questions. Some say “explained by Dr Khaled”, others say “unexplained” and so forth. Which ones are the ones to study from? And when you say 3,000 questions you mean the 1,700 plus what exactly?
    Also, when you say 7 mocks, you mean a particular group of 7 mocks or just any total of 7 mock-exams?

    Thank you!
    جزاك الله خيرآ


    1. They are the same 1700 questions with no explanations or explanations by different people. I used the ones without explanations, as the same questions are repeated in the exams. If you do go for explanations, Dr. Khalid’s explanations are short and enough in my opinion.

      The 7 mocks are by Samson. Each mock has 200 questions. So 7 mocks have 1400 questions.

      1400 plus 1700 make 3100 questions.

      Practice any mocks. Practice as many questions as you can, as many times as you can.


  14. Assalamu Aaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

    Dear Dr Naseer Khan

    Its great to have your experience shared among the people. Based on your professional experience you have, i have a personal question and wonder if it would be possible to answer to me, and the question is:

    I got graduated January 2017 from china , i was mostly travelling for the last 9 months and i would like to take PLAB 1 exam in 2nd November, i was wondering if the coaching service in Birmingham and manchester is any good for preparing for the PLAB1 Exam or we can it on our own and can longer gaps be any problem in the future?. Is ther any way i can contact you so that i can further seek your help.


    1. PLAB 1 does not require coaching. The guidance on my blog should help you with PLAB 1. 🙂

      The gaps will cause trouble. As long as you can explain what you did on each day of these gaps, your GMC registration application will be accepted. To find a job in the UK, I would strongly advise you to find a job at your country of current residence and start working.

      If you have more questions in the future, you can post them here or on the Facebook groups. If no one answers on the groups, you can send me inbox messages via my page.

      Good luck! 🙂


  15. Assalam’alaykum.
    Thank you for such a detailed explanation. May God bless you with all the best in this world & the next ^^
    I wanted to ask, so if I start with subject-wise samson notes, lets say cardiology & then attempt the cardiology MCQs from the 1700 Qs by Dr. Khalid, and do this for all other chapters. Is this a good plan? Then, after completing this, start the mock & recalls.
    What do you think?
    Thank you for your time sir.


    1. If you have enough time, this is a fine plan. Otherwise, even if you just start solving questions without going through the notes, you will be fine. Remember that the goal is to solve as many questions as you can, as many times as you can. Because the same questions appear in the exam (with the same four options in the same order).


      1. Thank you ^^
        I was meaning to ask, really sorry to disturb you with this matter, I noticed some sections of Samson notes 2016 are missing, should I go with the 2014 one instead?


  16. I’ve been on a break from studying for quite some time. Reading this really helped me. I have a few questions to ask, please answer these!
    Here goes:
    1. Is it possible to take Plab 1 on a dependant/visit/tourist visa?
    2. Is Plab 1 conducted in Holland?
    3. If I’m in England on a visit/dependant visa and want to take Plab 1 in Holland, would that be possible?
    4. Is it possible to take ielts in England on a visit/dependant visa?


  17. Hi Naseer
    Thank you for your information and time.
    I graduated medical school in June 2016 and I would like to take my PLAB 1 on the 2nd of November. I recently completed my USMLE Step 1. The problem is I have spend this long time between my graduation and now preparing for USMLE and PLAB, also my son was i was waiting for my son who was born in October, and have not done an internship or other clinical work. Will I have any problems with this in the future? Do you advise me to enroll in an internship program immediately or what steps should take?


    1. I would strongly advise you to start your internship as soon as possible. The longer the gap between internship and graduation, the more problems it causes. You will have to give an account of what you did during this gap and each day will have to be explained.


      1. Thank you for the response. I will start processing my internship enrollment immediately. In terms of explaining the gap that I already have, will I have to provide a written statement or oral explaination? And this will be of every single day between graduation and internship? If so I think I will have to start preparing it now..


      2. You will have to explain each day during the last five years in writing. This may include your medical school days too. It’s just important to remember the dates of finishing your school, receiving your degree, taking exams after that, starting your job after that. There should be no gaps.


  18. Hi Dr Naseer! Thank You for the inspiration you hav given to many of us through your blog!
    I would like to know what would be the possibilities in UK after doin post graduation in General surgery in India


  19. Thank you Dr Khan! Stumbling upon your blog has probably been the best thing that ever happened. You cleared so many of my doubts. I feel quite confident already. God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

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