Why Go for PLAB?

After you graduate from medical school, you have two options:

  1. To work locally.
  2. To work abroad.

I have discussed these options in detail in my post home vs abroad. If you choose to work abroad, this post might help you.


Prerequisites for PLAB

  1. Graduation from medical school.
  2. IELTS with at least 7.0 in each section and at least 7.5 overall.
    OET with at least a grade ‘B’ in each testing area.



PLAB is a licencing exam for International Medical Graduates wishing to practice in the UK. PLAB has two parts, PLAB 1 and PLAB 2. Once you’ve passed your PLAB 2, you can get GMC registration to become eligible to work in the UK as a doctor.


Why Go for PLAB

1. PLAB is Easy

PLAB is an easy exam. If you think I find PLAB easy because I’ve already passed it, let me tell you that when I wrote this post, I had not passed my PLAB 2 and I was waiting for my result. Compared to PLAB, other countries’ licencing exams are not this easy. The questions for the PLAB exam have a very low difficulty level, passing scores are very low and passing rates are very good. People who have taken PLAB, will confirm this for you.


2. Rewards

Once you’ve passed, you’re eligible to work in the UK.


3. Less Studying

You only have to study Clinical Science subjects and not your Basic Science subjects for PLAB.


4. Dedication

Unlike other countries’ exams, you do not need to quit your job to study for PLAB. You can easily continue working and study for your PLAB. In fact, it is recommended that you do not quit working, because your job will help you in your PLAB 2 visa application, by showing stronger ties with your home country and better financial stability.


5. Less Prep Time

PLAB 1 takes only 8 to 12 weeks of preparation. PLAB 2 takes 6 to 8 weeks of preparation. Compared to other countries’ exams, this is nothing.


6. Early Start

It usually takes people 12 to 18 months to go through all three exams and start working in the UK. Compared to other countries’ exams, this is a very early start.


7. Costs Less

Compared to other countries’ exams, the whole PLAB journey costs a lot less. It costs around £5,000 – £6,000 ($6,000 – $7,500). This includes your exam fee for IELTS, both parts of PLAB, your return ticket to the UK, your academy course fee,  your accommodation in the UK, your living expenses in the UK (including traveling and food) and your GMC registration fee.


8. Passing Scores are Low

Passing scores in PLAB 1 are only around 60-65%
Passing scores in PLAB 2 are only around 45-55%


9. Scores Don’t Matter

As long as you’ve passed the exam, scores don’t matter. So someone with 180 out of 190 and someone with 125 out of 180 are equally eligible to apply for the same job.


10. Passing Rate

According to GMC’s official website, 76% and 79% candidates who appear in PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 exams, respectively, pass the exam.


11. Multiple Shots

I’m sure most of you will pass your PLAB exams in your first attempt. However, even if you don’t, you’re allowed to appear in each PLAB exam four times.


12. Vacancies

According to the BBC’s report, 9.3% of doctor posts in the UK are vacant. This equals to 11,500 posts being vacant. So unlike other countries, where you’re not sure of getting a job, you can be one hundred per cent sure of getting a job in the UK after GMC registration.


13. Training Job

Depending on the specialty you choose, there are openings for training jobs as well. However, you need to meet certain criteria before they feel safe enough to let you enter the training. Therefore, finding a training job immediately after passing PLAB 2 can be challenging. Most people find non-surgical training jobs within the first year or two of passing PLAB 2.


14. Visa Policy

Having two visa rejections myself, I can say that as long as you fill your visa application correctly, you will get your visa. Of course, there are exceptions. Some of my friends had really good cases, but it took them a couple of attempts to get their visa. In general, if you play your cards right, you’ll get a visa. The UK needs doctors.


15. Helpful IMG Community

One of the best thing about your journey to the UK will be the friends that you will make. Some of them will end up feeling like your family. So it’s completely okay if you do not know anyone in the UK; soon you will know dozens of people in the UK. People who take PLAB are generally very nice, kind and helpful. They will go out of their way to help you. And once you become a part of this PLAB community, you will find yourself helping others as well.



In my opinion, if you want to move abroad, PLAB might be a good option.


117 thoughts on “Why Go for PLAB?

  1. I want to appear in plab exams,but dont know that how should i apply to this,n how should i prepare this exam,kindly help me to pass this exam,n plz tell me the method n date for apply

    1. Check my post Studying for PLAB 1 to know how to prepare for the exam. To apply for PLAB 1, you will need to visit GMC’s website and register yourself and then pay for the exam.

  2. Thank you for your valuable advice . I would ask you about if I am specialist in my country and have about 5 years experience in surgery if I applied for the PLAP can I continue in my career or I had to change the speciality and take another surgical branch cause I found that MRCS can take much more time than PLAB

    1. I am honestly not sure about that and I would not want to misguide you. You can email GMC to ask about this. You can also post on the PLAB Facebook group. I’m sure someone will answer your query.

  3. thank you very much…. if you can please post sites and links needed for registeration for PLAB

  4. Hi. I’m interested in PLAB and USMLE. I’m last year medical student in Ukraine. And I would like to get residency abroad. So, do I need to pass PLAB 1 and 2 to get residency in UK? Is it paid?

    1. Yes, you need to pass your PLAB to start working in the U.K. You can get a training job in the U.K. as well. And yes, training is paid. All jobs doctors in the U.K. are paid jobs.

      You can also pass your MRCP to work in the U.K. But it’s a longer and more difficult route. So PLAB is easier and better.

  5. Can I still be able to become a resident in the UK? or it just helps me to become a general practioner?

  6. dear sir, i am currently a 4th year medical student and i wish to take my PLAB1 at the end o the year. Am i eligible or i need to graduate first?

    1. Unfortunately you cannot take PLAB before you graduate.

      My advise to you would be to keep a close eye on the news, to find out when the PLAB exam is being replaced by the UKMLA.

      In case you do go for PLAB, make sure you’ve cleared your IELTS before you graduate.

      Best of luck! 🙂

  7. sir i hve recently completed my graduation 16feb 2017 and i want to give plab exam is there need of house job r not please guide me

    1. As I have explained here, House Job is not a prerequisite at any stage of your journey to the UK. But it’s best to not skip your house job for the following two reasons.

      1. It will give you an employment or employment history, which is very important for your PLAB 2 visa.
      2. If you have not done your House Job, then you can only enter through the Foundation Year 1 route. And it’s not impossible, but very difficult to enter through this route.

  8. i live at SA but i want to take my plab 1 at uk next june to shorten the duration.is it possible? when should i register for the exam ?and what is the percentage of getting a job at uk after finishing my plab exams?

    1. 1. If you get your visa, taking the exam in June is totally possible.

      2. PLAB 1 slots usually open a few months before the exam. The UK slots remain open a week before the exam and overseas slots remain open 4 weeks before the exam. Register for it whenever you’re ready.

      3. 100% people get jobs after PLAB 2.

  9. Sir, I heard news about cutting down no.of job oppurtunities in the UK after Brexit deal. Would it affect the non- EU IMGs trying to settle there(to get citizenship) ? What about changes in job oppurtunities in specialities like cardiology, surgery ? Thank u!

    1. It’s unclear how Brexit would affect job opportunities for non-EU IMGs. But it might take them some time to come up with a post-Brexit plan. At the moment, the chances for IMGs to move to the U.K. are brighter than ever. Never before has the PLAB exam been easier and never before have there been this many job vacancies.

    1. Dear Sir,

      I need your advice. Due to some health issue in my family i couldn’t continue and take my USMLE exam. That time is wasted i feel as i din’t do any job either.. it’s been more than a year after the completion of house job. if i do job from now and complete my Plab journey this year. Will this background of mine affect my journey to UK in any manner? and how can i repair the damage if that’s an obstacle. I am a graduate of 2015, and this is 2018 now.
      Graduated from Sindh medical college, karachi. Did my proper house job from JPMC, Karschi.

      looking forward for your priceless help. Need your honest review on my current state.

  10. Pls sir am planning to write the plab 1 in june this year.
    Is it possible to get visa to write the exam in uk because am in Nigeria at the moment .
    Also I would like to know if the samsons notes and the 1700 questions ate all I need to prepare


  11. Salam. Thank you so much of this informative blog. I am in 4th year of med school. Is there any way I can start prepraring for PLAB ? I’ve read in one of your articles that PLAB will be replaced by UKMLA in near future. What exactly is UKMLA ? And are there enough chances of getting a job after doing UKMLA.

    1. 1. Check what I have written on the Home page about the UKMLA. And keep an eye on the news from here: http://www.gmc-uk.org/news/

      2. You can’t begin your prep for PLAB until you graduate. All you can do before graduating is pass your IELTS.

      3. Read my Guidance for Employment section to know more about job prospects.

  12. Hello..
    Thank you for posting with such dedication.. I would like to know, since plab pattern is being changed and I guess it will be implemented from September 2017.. what would you suggest regarding exam prep for plab 1?

    Thanks in anticipation

      1. Thank you for your kind gesture. I am not talking about ukmle. I am asking about more number of questions in plab 1 plus ethics added too.. change of marking pattern.. Swanson, ohcm, mocks will cover this or should I go for some other books too??

      2. Oh! I am sorry for misunderstanding your question. I apologize!

        Well, the PLAB 1 pattern changed in Sep 2016, when Ethics section was added to the exam. In reality, all that has changed is, they include 2 or 3 questions from Ethics in the exam now. So there were no significant changes introduced. This is nothing to worry about! 🙂

      3. It’s really okay.. 😊
        Thanks a lot.. stay blessed 😊

  13. Aside the 1700 questions do i still have to read other books? And if so which books do u recommend. Do u have any idea if UK doctors are better paid than those in the US? Thanks

  14. Thanks for the write-up.
    What is the maximum duration allowed between PLAB1 and PLAB2?

      1. AOA sir ????
        If someone wants to do specialization in surgery ( Neuro , cardiac or orthopedic) can he do PLAB ??? Mean can he easily get induction???
        Or he should do FCPS ???
        I am from Pakistan

      2. It would be best to join the Facebook group IMGs aiming for Surgical Training in the UK and post this question there, as I don’t have enough knowledge to answer this question as best as it should be. 🙂

      3. And sir please one thing more. Please tell me about more groups or such pages which can help me in preparing for PLAB or UKMLA.
        As I am 3rd year MBBS student.

  15. thank you naseer..but i would like to ask about something after plab as many of us don’t only want to be a GP after successful passing of both PLAB what are the opportunities for masters study and practice?

  16. Hi Sir,
    I have finished my MBBS course in June’2015. I want to pursue a career in surgery(probably orthopaedics). I wanted to know if I have to sit for PLAB if i pass MRCS exam; And would you happen to know how to start studying for MRCS?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Dr. Haque, if you join the Facebook group IMGs aiming for Surgical Training in the UK, you can find guidelines for MRCS preparation and answers to your other surgical questions as well. 🙂

  17. Dr Naseer I want to ask you If I pass plab1 in 2021 will this be useless if 2022 come without passing PLAB 2
    and I must go with UKMLE???, or people who do plab 1 can continue in the same traditional way and go for plab 2 ?

  18. Thank u so much sir for making an effort to give information about PLAB. Sir am planning to give plab1 this November. Currently am not working. But do u suggest me to work and study? Incase if I don’t have work experience will it be a problem later?

    1. Yes, it can cause a slight delay in you being able to find your first job. You can easily study for PLAB while working.

  19. thank you so much for this blog .
    i just want to know if taking plab will promote me getting residency program in dubai as usmle may boost or raise the chance to get residency program ?

  20. I have one question regarding the GMC registration.
    1. Is it mandatory to apply for job after GMC registration?
    2. Can hold the registration with us without working in the UK?
    3. How much we have to pay to retain our registration with GMC?

  21. I want to go UK for my masters in dermatology in a university. Is it possible to seat for PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 during my masters? please let me know.

    1. The GMC has no restriction on this. I’m not sure about any restrictions from the university conducting masters program, though.

  22. Aoa. Sir it was great . I just want to ask am graduated from mefical schoole 23 years ago and practising medicen privatly.i could not follow my dreams due to bsd condation of my family n my country.now i decided to cleare ielts n go to plab exams..sir just abt the age and abt the year of graduation hv quistion..does it matter or not . My birth date 1970 n gradution year is 1992…plz guide mr

  23. naseer bhai ,i graduated in 2013 and since i was doing my steps i didnt do my housejob. Unfortunately i didnot match and so i decided to do my housejob in 2017. How would i explain my gap, and would gmc not register me?

    1. Since you have a four-year break between your graduation and House Job, it is difficult to say if the GMC will accept your House Job or not. It can be useful to post this query on Facebook groups. And it would be best to be honest with the GMC about this.

      1. Thanks for the reply nasser bro. Well gmc website says that if a programme is completed after two years it would be referred to the assistant registrar. Also i wrote it on the forum and i got no reply.

      2. I have a friend who recently got her House Job accepted by the GMC and she was awarded full GMC registration. She had a little over two years of a gap after her graduation and before her House Job.

  24. Hi, Dr Naseer. kindly guide me in my case. i have my final year mbbs exam in dec-jan and i want to appear in the following March attemp of Plab 1. To register for this exam, can i use my final year result card rather than medical degree certificate which we get on convocation. i want to get done with plab 1 as soon as possible as i have already taken my ielts exam. Regards

    1. You do not need to provide any documents to be able to take PLAB 1. You only need to pass your final year MBBS and you can appear in the exam on your word that you have passed. Your documents will be checked after your pass PLAB 2.

  25. First of all, thank you so much Dr Naseer for doing such a great and noble work of guiding others by giving every thought an expression which may arise in anyone’s mind.
    However my question is, if the exams are so easy to pass unlike MLE or NEET(India) doesn’t it have an effect on the quality of uptake of residents. ??
    If they are so easy anyone can clear it, ryt ! Hence the majority of the residents won’t be competent enough

    Do you feel on similar lines ?
    Is it possible for this thing to happen?
    Secondly, how is the quality of residency training ?
    Could you just shed some more light on it

    Thanks in advance.

  26. sir, one question
    After the GMC registrations are over,is there any validity time before that we could find the job in UK or we can be relaxed and stay tuned for taking job ?

    1. Once we get registered with the GMC, we must submit yearly appraisals to remain registered with the GMC. For appraisals, it’s important to have a job. Please read about appraisals.

      To keep it simple, it is best to get a job within a few months of getting GMC registration.

      1. Most people who have recent clinical experience without any gaps, find jobs within days or weeks. I found a job in 3 weeks.

        People with gaps can take the same amount of time or at times months before they find a job.

  27. Salams Dr.Naseer. jzk for the detailed explanation. great job mate! 🙂 So to say about myself i’m a Sri Lankan foreign medical graduate & i’ll be graduating by may 2018 in sha allah. and my questions are :

    1.is it compulsory to do an internship in my home country in order to apply for a job in the UK. because usually in sri lanka it takes around a year to prepare and sit for the exam and then only we get an internship seat.but still we can do a voluntary pre-intern house officer post(unpaid) in one of the hospitals in sl. so my question is if they are asking for a year work experience would that unpaid pre-intern post be sufficient along with IELTS and PLAB1 results in order to apply for a job?

    2.can i do the plab 1 exam in the uk in june 2018 ? since i want to make this journey as fast & short as possible. 🙂

    1. 1. Completing your Internship in the home country is highly recommended because finding Internship in the UK is very unlikely. It does not matter if it was paid or unpaid, as long as it was recognized by the local medical council and fulfills GMC’s criteria.


      2. You can, but I would not recommend it because:
      a) Getting the visa will not be easy since the exam is held elsewhere.
      b) You will need a separate visa for PLAB 2 anyway since the visa is only for 6 months and PLAB 2 is being booked 6 months in advance.

  28. 1.just for the clarification brother, since the Final year of my degree program is an internship, will that be acceptable since its not in my home country? additionally, in sha allah as soon as i graduate i’m planning to work as a Pre-intern house officer in SL while i write my local exams.And I would just get a certificate saying that I’ve worked in that specific hospital but i don’t think this Pre-intern post is recognized by the local medical council since we have to do the local exam in order to get a proper internship post in a government hospital provided my the medical council.

    So my question is will these two (degree intern +pre-intern locally) work experiences be enough or i should do the “proper internship” locally in order to get a job in Uk?

    2. And the other thing is,the reason i want to take plab asap is because of the new exam(UKMLE) that is going to take over in an year or two.so do you think i should do plab exams asap?

    1. 1A. It does not matter in which country it is, as long as it’s recognized by the local council and the GMC.

      1B. If it’s not recognized by the local council, it’s unlikely that the GMC will accept it.

      2. UKMLA is not expected to begin before 2022. So you have time.

      Good luck! 🙂

  29. Jzk Dr.Naseer.. you are doing a great job in helping juniors to get into UK .May Allah bless you in everything you do. would love to meet you one day in sha allah. keep me in your duas. 🙂

    1. This was very kind of you. Thank you for your kind words! And thank you for visiting the blog!

      Sure it would be nice to see you at one of the IMG meetings in the future.

      Best of luck! 🙂

  30. Hi naseer… Ur blog is really helpful.. I’m an Indian mbbs graduate planning to write plab 1 soon.. I wanted to know tht after clearing both d steps will there b any fees for d University whr v do our fy1 nd fy2… Bcz after usmle during residency there is no tuition fees.. Is it the same in uk? If not wat is d approx tuition fees?

  31. Naseer sir salam,
    I have graduated in 2007 and tried for the USMLE. However it did not materialise and have been working here in India at a government hospital since 2014. How bad will the seven year gap affect my chances of getting into the uk ?

  32. Hi Dr nasser , i am a doctor with a master in public health but due to shortage of jobs for public health doctors i couldn’t find a job and now i have almost a 10 years gap , can i still go for plab and find a job and start a new life? .

    looking forward for your reply

  33. Thank you sir.
    Just want to let you know that you are doing a wonderful job. May Allah shine your path for all your future plans.
    One thing more, I was talking about the period from 2007 to 2014….. ?
    The period I was not working.
    Please advice about that sir .

  34. Naseer sir do we have to provide complete documentary proof of our entire employment history from the date of our graduation ?
    If yes when and where ?
    If no then experience does not count ?
    Please throw some light on the subject.
    Thank you .

    1. Experience does count. When applying for the GMC registration, the GMC does not ask for proofs, unless there are career breaks or any reason which might make the GMC suspicious about anything.

      The employers never ask for proofs. Word of mouth is trusted and taken seriously.

      The GMC does ask for internship certificates.

  35. salam naseer i have recently passed my MRCOG part1 and want to work as a trainee in uk.so i will have to do PLAB i have gone through your study file but still want to know how to study and these is enough material to go through or need another material also?and what should be study hours and does the recalls come ?

    1. Everything I know about studying for PLAB is documented in this website. Kindly go through the relevant posts to find more. Yes, questions are repeated in the exam.

  36. U are well appreciated for this job.
    Pls,is it true that the longer one is from graduation before going for plan the more difficult it is to get job in the UK?

  37. Hello Naseer …. Iam intending to give PLAB this year but due to some personal issues I have a huge gap of 11 years between my graduation and internship …would it cause a problem in getting full registeration through gmc and getting job in Uk..thanks please reply as I posted in Facebook group as well but didn’t get any reply ..I guess Iam the only one on earth who been through this strange scenario ..

    1. You might. They usually do accept gaps this long as well. But no one can guarantee it.

  38. Hi sir!! You have been very helpful in understanding the concepts of PLAB and would like you to help me understand some more!!!

    I’m watching many videos and reading news about NHS crisis that around 53000 junior doctors had gone on strike so that Jeremy Hunt changes new banding system.
    Junior doctors are now supposed to work for 70 hrs a week and that the prohibition of a doctor working more than 72 hrs a week has been removed, so they may even be working for 100 hrs a week if they are asked to do.
    Many of the doctors have already emigrated to Australia or New Zealand and many more are thinking of doing so.
    Salary has been marginally raised but the pay for non social hours has been cut tremendously so even if it does look like its raised it’s actually cut by 30-40% and doctors are really very suffering.

    So What is the reality?
    Could you shed some light on this?
    I am really confused and concerned about what should I do further?
    Because if this situation is true then I am afraid that I might regret my decision in future and I really don’t want to regret.
    Need your guidance😓😓😓

    Thank you 😇😇😇

  39. Hello sir. I’m in my final year and wish to study for plab later. What is the current situation of IMGs there? Have things changed recently?

  40. Thanks a lot. This is very informative

    I have 1 query, I registered yesterday for plab1 but did not receive any confirmation letter from GMC neither the exam appeared in my GMC online account although the money was deducted from my bank account.

    What will happen next?
    Can GMC fix this and make booking for me from their side ?
    If the test booking is not successful do they refund the fees?


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