My PLAB 1 Experience

Advice for PLAB 1

A lot of people seem to be asking questions about prep for PLAB. I’m no authority on the subject. A lot of others can guide you here on the forum better than I can. But I’ll share what I can.

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. Around 100-150 questions are repeated in the exam and there are around 50-100 new questions in the exam.

I know about the following three sources of questions and I covered all of them:

1. Swamy’s 1700 – random questions arranged from Swamy’s past mocks by a senior PLABBER on this forum.
2. Samson’s 7 mocks from June 2013 (1400 questions)
3. Samson’s online Q bank – questions are arranged according to units (2782 questions)

The first two sources are available for free and you can find them here on this forum. However, you’ll have to buy Samson’s questions from their official website (price varies between 15-30 pounds depending on how far the exam is). These three sources cover nearly 6000 questions and they are more than enough to pass PLAB 1.

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 Samson’s notes. These notes are exam-oriented, unlike OHCM and OHCS. Read each unit’s notes and then go through Samson’s questions for that unit from the online Q bank. After reading the notes, you’ll find it easier to answer questions. Samson’s Q bank has answers with explanations for most of the questions. So it’s helpful. Do not waste your time in studying OHCM and OHCS. Check OHCM and OHCS only for reference, no need to read them cover to cover. Also, check for reference, this should be your first source of information whenever there is any doubt about any answer.

I wasted a couple of months on reading Oxford. When I started solving the questions, I realized that reading Oxford was a waste of time. It did not help me in solving questions. I did not have time to go through the notes, so I just went through these 6000 questions twice or thrice. That helped me a lot. Since I had gone through a lot of questions, I was familiar with most of the questions that I saw today in the exam. Most of them had the exact same scenario and the exact same options. I did not take more than 15-20 seconds on these questions. So I would advise all of you to go through as many questions as you can.

How long will it take to prepare for PLAB? That depends on you. I took 8 months. Most people take 6 to 12 weeks.

There’s another source of questions at But the questions there are too hard. Questions in PLAB are usually a lot more easier so I would not recommend passmedicine to anyone for PLAB. Some people also subscribed to on-examination’s questions. I don’t know anything about that though.

I know people that have passed PLAB 1 just by doing 1700 Swamy questions and questions on Facebook. I also know people that passed just by doing Samson’s 7 mocks.

That 1700 file is very important. A lot of questions were repeated from there today. But that 1700 file alone is not everything. I’ll say it again, do as many questions as you can. You guys should try to solve questions (after reading notes if possible) and when you get stuck at a question, read about it from Oxford or or post it on Facebook and someone else will guide you about it. This is a really nice group and people are very helpful. Keep it nice like this, keep sharing knowledge and keep helping each other.

If you still have any questions, you can post them here and if I miss your post here, you can always inbox me on Facebook.

Best of luck!

Naseer Khan.

23rd Dec 2014


My PLAB 1 Experience

I realise now that my post has more advice and less of my experience. So I will try to share my experience of PLAB 1 preparation:


Real Prep was for 4 Months:

As you can see from My Timeline for PLAB 1 Preparation, I spread my PLAB 1 preparation over 10 months, which made the journey VERY easy for me. Even after wasting the first three months on irrelevant study material and the spending the next two months on IELTS, I still had enough time for PLAB 1 preparation.


Studied at Work:

I completed most of my PLAB 1 preparation at the hospital, during my internship. I had downloaded all the questions and the notes on my phone. So it was easy to access them.


Studied On The Go:

I used to set a daily target of 100 -200 questions. And this is how I went about them:

  • 2-5 questions before getting fresh in the morning.
  • 2-5 questions after getting fresh in the morning.
  • 2-5 questions during breakfast.
  • 2-5 questions before leaving home.
  • 10-20 questions on my way to work.
  • 2-5 questions at work before the consultants reached.
  • 2-5 questions at every opportunity at work.
  • 50-100 questions during the break.
  • 50-100 questions during seminars/lectures/teaching sessions.

So on most days, I had completed 100-200 questions by the time that I would get back home from work. If for any reason, I could not complete my target at work, I would spend an hour or half at home and complete my target easily.


Did Not Study Hard:

So I never studied past 8 PM for my PLAB 1. On most days, I did not study after 5 PM. I watched hours and hours of TV shows every single day. I studied in a very relaxed and tension-free mode. The secret to keeping my life easy was to start my preparation early during the year and early every day as well.


Average Student:

I was one of those students who failed more than half of my class tests at school. I never passed any mock exam in medical school. Not because I was poor at studying. I just did not feel like studying all the time. I always studied after my mocks and I always passed my finals by a small (but comfortable) margin.


Final Month:

A month before the exam, I was tired and bored of studying, since I was well aware of all the questions by now. So I stopped studying. But I did keep my eyes and ears open. Since a few of my friends were also studying for PLAB 1, I used to listen to their discussions. But I stopped studying myself.


Final Week:

A week before the exam, I took a leave’s absence from work. I was keen on making the most of this time and study hard. But I ended up watching 3 movies every day during this week. I did study on the final day for an hour. But I realised that I was well prepared, so I did not make any more effort.


Sources Used:

1. Swamy’s 1700 – random questions arranged from Swamy’s past mocks by a senior PLABBER on this forum.
2. Samson’s 7 mocks from June 2013 (1400 questions)
3. Samson’s online Q bank – questions are arranged according to units (2782 questions)

So in total, I went through nearly 6,000 questions. I went through most of them thrice.

4. I did go through Samson’s notes as well, but very superficially. I did not try to memorise them.


The Exam:

It was the easiest exam of my life. It had 100-150 questions from 1700 and the 7 mocks. It was difficult to fail the exam, to be honest. I knew after the exam that I had passed.



The exam was very easy for me because I started my preparation very early and I went through nearly 6,000 questions twice or thrice.

(This post was originally published by me on 23rd Dec 2014 on the PLAB Facebook Group and later edited on 24th March 2017)

35 thoughts on “My PLAB 1 Experience

  1. while preparing the questions , should i read every detail connected to the question and options from references or mere understanding of the derivation to that answer is enough , as a senior plabber did u find the repeats in :the exam highly twisted in a way that i should be aware of each and every aspect of the question completely in order to get those right. for ex: A 74yo smoker presented to his GP with cough and SOB. Exam revealed pigmentation of the oral
    mucosa and also over the palms and soles. Tests show that he is diabetic and hypokalemic.
    What is the most probable dx?
    a. Pseudocushing syndrome
    b. Conns disease
    c. Ectopic ACTH
    d. Cushings disease
    e. Hypothyroidism
    Ans. The key is C. Ectopic ACTH. here should i know everything about ACTH and others or just the reason behind ACTH being the answer as given in dr. khalids is enough. thanks in advance

    1. When I went through 1700 questions, they did not even have any explanations. So I never went into details and I passed my exam comfortably. The repeats in my exam were 100% same from the questions that I had prepared for. Studying too much of theory is not too helpful for PLAB. Going through as many questions as you can is the key to passing the exam.

      1. Thank you for this helpful blog.
        Could you please help me getting Swamy’s1700 and Samson’s mock.
        I have no access to the Facebook PLAB group.

  2. Naseer Ive studied and passed my mrcp. But i want to keep my options of going to the UK open. Do youu think I can straight away go to the questions? Dont feel like studying anymore! Also whats the cost for Plab1. Their website is too confusing.

  3. Hey I wanted to ask that i graduated this year in march, so do I still have to give ielts? Or is that exempted after first year of graduation.

    I am from islamabad, pakistan
    Thank you

    1. I know that the GMC website states fresh graduates are exempted from IELTS. But this rule does not stand for Pakistan. There is a list of schools from where the GMC does not accept this exemption. Nearly all Pakistani medical schools are in that list. My school was not in that list, so I applied for exemption. As soon as I applied, my school was also added to that list.

      So I would strongly recommend focusing on IELTS and not on the exemption. Good luck! 🙂

  4. Hey Dr. Naseer, my university, in Lebanon, has a 7 year program to get you’re MD, ofcourse including the internship. Do I need to get my MD before I sit for my PLABs, or I can do them before Graduating?
    Thanks in advance.

  5. Hello. You said you studied samson’s 7 mock questions from 2013, is that still valid till now?

    1. You will have to subscribe them through his website. But the cost is too much in my opinion. Thus, other free questions banks are easier to get hold of.

  6. Hey
    I have done 1700 qusetin by dr. Khalid i want to go through samson mocks 2013 but i am so lost bcs there are so many files. And you now few days are left before exams.. i am not able to find them ..can you please suggest me any link to it

  7. hello, is there any difference between the Samson 2013 and 2017 mocks or is it fine to study either?

  8. Salam.
    Dr. Naseer I have few questions.
    actually I am an old graduate of 2006, did fcps part 2 residency in Pakistan in 2014.
    What would you suggest if I plan to give PLAB , would it be a wise decision?
    What would be the chances of getting job thereafter?
    I am married and have 2 kids, so would doctor get visa for his family immediately?
    How’s the life of junior doctor, if I m the only earner there? Is the salary enough to support family of 4?
    Would I be able to give my Mrcog during job as a junior doctor?
    Will be highly grateful for your help.

    1. 1. That’s your choice.
      2. Everyone finds a job in the UK. 🙂
      3. Yes.
      4. Yes.
      5. Yes.

      1. Dr I have another question how much a doctor get paid after completing plab(a junior doctor).?
        Is it enough amount to support a family?
        How many hours on an average a junior doctor has to work?
        Is it possible to give enough time to kids?

      2. All of this has been discussed on my website. Please check relevant links. Thank you! 🙂

  9. I am a Pakistani medical graduate , did my fcps part 2 residency in OBGYN there.
    Could you please guide me how to start OBGYN practice in UK after passing Ielts and PLAB ?
    I tried to ask this from Gmc and Rcog but they didn’t answer.
    Sorry if I I am bothering you by asking again and again. But for me this matters a lot.

  10. Ok.
    This is what I want to know how would I apply?
    Kindly if you could tell me from where I get all this info?
    Thanks for your help.

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