Old Pattern vs New Pattern

The pattern of the PLAB 2 exam was changed in September 2016. Keeping this in mind, you should know a few things about the stations that appear in the exam. Like any other exam, stations in the PLAB 2 exam are repeated from time to time.


Old Pattern

Before September 2016, there were 14 stations in the exam. Each station was 5-minute long, with a minute to spend outside the cubicle.

Question Bank

There were around 500 stations, out of which 200-300 stations were more important. So people focused on these stations.


New Pattern

The pattern of the PLAB 2 exam changed in September 2016. Since then, there have been 18 stations in the exam. Each station is 8-minute long, with 2 minutes outside the cubicle.

How the New Pattern Scenarios Were Created

Since the pattern was changed, the GMC needed new scenarios. The new scenarios were not going to come from anywhere else, but the old pattern scenarios. They only changed these scenarios slightly, to model them for the new pattern.

 Question Bank

By now there are more than 160 new pattern stations. In most exams, the GMC introduces 2 to 3 new stations, from their question bank of the old pattern stations.

However, in December 2016 and January 2017, no new stations were introduced. And the exam came from a small bank of 74 stations.


Line of Action

When you are going to prepare for PLAB 2, you need to decide if you would just cover the new pattern stations or if you would actually dive into those 200-300 old pattern stations as well?

This is your own decision and you should listen to the advice given to you at the academy. I would, however, say this:

It’s best if you do go through old pattern stations at least once or twice, to gain enough understanding of those scenarios. There is no need to practice them whatsoever.

However, even if you do not have time to go through those old pattern stations, if you only have time to cover the new pattern stations, do not feel bad. As long as you do really well in 14-16 stations in your exam, you will pass your exam. No one is expected to ace all 18 stations. Everyone messes up at least one station, sometimes, more than one station. Despite that, most people still pass their exam, because of their performance in other stations. Remember that you only have to score 50% to pass the exam. So you are allowed to get half of the things wrong and still pass your exam.

8 thoughts on “Old Pattern vs New Pattern

  1. hi naseer. this is sandeep. i am giving my plab 2 in may. i haven’t joined any course. you said about common stations. do you have a soft copy of the same? if so could you please send me one in mobi format to my email id. it is drsandeepkini1983@gmail.com. it would be very helpful. thank you so much.

    1. Hello, I’m sorry, but I don’t have a soft copy of the notes. And even if you find any notes, they won’t help you much unless you take classes. I would strongly recommend you to take PLAB 2 classes.

  2. Hello
    I wanted to know about the academy u mentioned for taking classes.where r they?are there any such classes in pakistan or only conducted at UK?

    1. The three most well known academies are these:

      1. Common Stations – London.
      2. Swammy – Manchester.
      3. Samson – London.

      I am not aware of any PLAB 2 academies in Pakistan for now. But London Clinical Courses will begin PLAB 2 preparation classes in Karachi from January 2018.

  3. Hi Naseer,
    Its been 9 months since this post, can you tell me whether the exam still comes from the pool of 80 stations or has it changed now?

  4. Hello Doc Naseer Khan, please what materials can one use to study these stations before joining an academy? And where I find these materials?

    1. There is absolutely no need to study anything for PLAB 2 before your academy course begins. You will have enough time during and after the course to prepare for the exam. Until you actually know what the exam is about and what it is like, you wouldn’t be able to study for it.

      However, if your academy sends you any study material and/or recommends you to study before the course, then you must listen to their advice.


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