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||Study Material||Free||Must cover these.|
|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
|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
|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:
|PLAB 1 Notes||Files section||Exam oriented. Divided according to units. Important. But not vital.|
|Patient.co.uk||Online||Only for references.|
|OHCM/OHCS||Hard Copy||Only for references. No need to study them cover to cover.|
|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.
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 patient.co.uk 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 patient.co.uk 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 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.
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.
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.
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.