Since PLAB 2 is held only in Manchester, you might need a visa before you appear in the PLAB 2 exam. Therefore, unlike PLAB 1, your preparation for PLAB 2 might require more than just studying. If you need a visa, you’ll have to do a little homework for that.
If you refer to my post Road Map for PLAB, I asked you to begin preparation for your visa even before you take IELTS. I explained this in detail in my post Homework for PLAB 2 Visa. This included four things.
A) Being employed
B) Getting your bank balance in a proper order.
C) Saving your salary.
D) Avoiding big transactions.
If you’ve done all of the above, you’re ready to begin your process for PLAB 2.
This was my line of action and I would advise the same to others:
1. Choose a rough date for exam:
At this point, you just need to decide in which month you want to take the exam, you can finalize this date later on.
2. Visa application:
Start filling your visa application as soon as possible.
3. Cover Letter:
You might write and rewrite a lot of information. So starting early is important. Just prepare a rough skeleton. You can edit the finer details as time goes on.
4. Choose an academy:
The three most well known options are Dr. Hamed’s Common Stations, Dr. Samson’s Academy and Dr. Swammy’s Academy.
5. Choose a definite exam date:
Make sure your exam date is 90 days from the date on which you submit your visa application. So you have a good amount of time on your hands.
6. Choose the academy course date:
It’s ideal to have 4-5 weeks of practice after your course ends.
I’ve seen people take their exam a day after the course and pass. But for decent practice at 6-8 hours per day, 4 weeks is ideal. If you can study 12-15 hours per day, even two weeks will be enough.
7. Get in touch with the academy:
Email the academy, asking for a place in the course. Tell them that you would confirm your booking only after your leave has been approved and you’ve booked the exam. Give them a rough estimate of when you would confirm your booking.
8. Ask the academy in advance about a refund:
Ask your academy in writing if they would return your money if you do not get your visa. Dr. Hamed’s Common Stations do offer a complete refund in case of visa rejections. Dr. Samson’s academy also offers complete or partial refund.
9. Discuss all dates with seniors, friends and family to see if it works for you:
It’s always better to take other people’s perspective, specially if they’ve gone through the same road.
10. Book your accommodation:
Make a booking for your accommodation for your visa application. This will be provisional and you will not pay anything for it. You can make this booking via http://www.booking.com. The earlier you book, the cheaper this will be. It is important to get a cheaper booking, to keep the total cost of your trip as low as possible.
11. Another accommodation booking:
Most probably, you will get your visa for 6 months. If that happens, you might be staying the UK for more than what you specified in your visa application. So make a second accommodation booking. This will also be provisional. You’ll only pay for it once you get your visa clearance.
12. Take an unpaid leave of absence from work:
Do not book your exam before this. Because if you do not get a leave, your plan might not work.
13. Book your exam as soon as your leave is approved:
If you plan things well ahead of time, like I’m suggesting, your exam date should be available by this time. But get it booked ASAP because sometimes dates get booked really early and really quickly.
14. Book your academy course:
Book your course only after you’ve paid for the exam.
15. Airline booking:
Make an airline ticket reservation, matching the dates you specified in your visa application. Make sure you reserve a return ticket, to show your intention of leaving the UK. You do not need to pay anything for this. You can get this reservation from http://www.emirates.com
16. Assemble all your documents:
This might take time. Go through the list of documents that I attached along with my visa application, to have a better idea of this.
17. Submit your visa application online:
Submit your application only after you’re 100% sure about your plan.
18. Submit your visa application, along with all documents at the visa office:
Be prepared for a surprise interview when you go to the visa office.
Here’s a flow chart of the above mentioned steps.