Guidance for Undergraduates

This post concerns medical students who have not yet graduated from medical school and wish to work in the UK in the future.

It is important to know that the GMC plans on replacing the PLAB exam by the UKMLA. Therefore, it’s best to take PLAB as early as possible. It is also important to keep an eye on the news to stay in touch with the recent developments relating to the UKMLA.


What to Do Before Graduation?

1. Improve your CV

The following things will help you in improving your CV:

  1. Audits.
  2. Research projects.
  3. Quality improvement projects.
  4. BSc or BA degree obtained during medical school.
  5. Journal publications.
  6. Poster presentations.
  7. Oral presentations.
  8. Teaching experience (formal or informal).
  9. Clinical attachments (in the UK).
  10. Courses.
  11. Workshops.
  12. Seminars.
  13. Voluntary work.
  14. Leadership and/or managerial roles (academic or non-academic).
  15. Any other extracurricular activities.
  16. Electives (abroad).
  17. Electives (in the home country).

Remember that it is necessary to have documentary evidence of the above-mentioned points. Otherwise, they will not count.

Even if you do not have any of the above-mentioned points, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Most people do not have any of the above and still get multiple job offers in the UK, due to the severe shortage of doctors in the UK.

All of the above will make a bigger difference when you apply for a training job. However, while applying for your first job, which is probably going to be a non-training job, your recent clinical experience will make more of a difference than any of the above. Which is why it is best to not skip your House Job and to continue working even after your House Job finishes.

Once you start working in the UK, it will be easier to add all of the above to your CV, as you will have more opportunities in the UK. Therefore, there is absolutely no need to worry if you do not have any of the above for now.

You can also check Dr. Omar Alam’s guidelines for improving your CV.

You can visit CT 1 Recruitment’s website to check their scoring system for training applications, which might help you in assessing what might help you in improving your CV.

2. Design Your Roadmap for PLAB

Before you design your personal roadmap for PLAB, it is important to know the general Roadmap for PLAB.

Road Map for PLAB


Personal Roadmap for PLAB

The following would be the ideal roadmap. But you can tailor it according to your circumstances.

1. Begin your homework for PLAB 2 visa 6 months before you graduate.

2. Start your ECFMG verification process as soon as you graduate.

3. Take IELTS soon after graduating.

4. Take PLAB 1 exam as soon as you pass IELTS. Do not worry about preparation. If you give yourself ten to twelve weeks, you can pass PLAB 1 very comfortably.

5. Apply for PLAB 2 visa during your House Job or immediately after your House Job depending on your homework for PLAB 2 visa.

6. Take PLAB 2 exam once you get your visa.

7. Get registered with the GMC.

8. Apply for jobs in the UK. Since there have been so many vacancies in the UK for the last few years, it will be very easy to find a job.

3. Visa Homework for PLAB 2

As discussed in my post Homework for PLAB 2 Visa you only need to be careful about the following things:

A) Employment
Make sure you are employed as soon as you graduate.

B) Salary
It is best if you are paid on time during your employment. It would also be ideal if you could save your salary once you start working.

C) Bank Balance & Transactions
Make no big transactions in or out of your account. You will have to explain these transactions later on. If you do make them, make sure you have explanations along with documentary evidence for them.

4. Study for IELTS


It’s best to study for IELTS just before or soon after graduating. This can depend on the roadmap you design for yourself.


You can not take PLAB 1 before graduating. You don’t even need to study for PLAB 1 before graduating. Preparation for PLAB 1 only takes 10 to 12 weeks. So you will have more than enough time to study for it after you graduate.

PLAB 1 only tests clinical subjects, not basic sciences. And there is no need to study any particular book for PLAB 1 preparation during medical school.

5. Stay Updated

It is very important to stay in touch with the news to remain aware of the following:

  1. UKMLA developments.
  2. Any other changes by the GMC.
  3. Latest study trends.
  4. Latest study material.
  5. Any other updates relating to your UK journey.

You can stay updated by following the following link and sources:

  1. GMC’s news centre.
  2. Facebook PLAB group.
  3. Naseer’s Journey.
  4. Omar’s Guidelines.
  5. Following other Facebook groups, blogs and links mentioned in the Useful Links section of my blog.

6. Plan for House Job

It is difficult to enter the UK’s training system through FY1 as explained here. Therefore, it is best to make plans for your House Job in your home country as explained here.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I take IELTS before graduating from medical school?

Yes, you can.

2. Is it ideal to take IELTS before graduating?

It is best to take IELTS before graduating, to save time after graduation. Since the PLAB exam will be replaced by the UKMLA soon, it is best to take PLAB as early as possible.

3. If I take IELTS 6 months before graduating, will it not expire before I take PLAB 2?

Ideally, you will complete your GMC registration within two years of your IELTS. Even if you do not complete your GMC registration within two years, remember that you do not need IELTS to appear in PLAB 2; you only need IELTS for GMC registration. Most candidates whose IELTS expire, go to the UK for PLAB 2 without a valid IELTS. On their PLAB 2 trip, their exposure to English increases and their English improves significantly. They take IELTS right after PLAB 2 with no or minimal preparation and get more than the required score very comfortably.

4. Can I take PLAB 1 before graduating from medical school?

You need to graduate from medical school and achieve the required score in IELTS before you can register yourself for PLAB 1.

5. What is the required score of IELTS for PLAB 1?

You need IELTS Academic or IELTS UKVI Academic, from British Council or Australian Education Office, with 7.0 in each of the four areas and an overall score of 7.5.

6. What is meant by informal teaching experience?

This includes any teaching experience that you might have without having a formal teaching contract. For example, if you ever taught anything to your colleagues, your juniors or even your patients, can count as your informal teaching experience.

7. How can I provide evidence for informal teaching experience?

You can provide evidence for this by asking people who attended your teaching session to fill JRCPTB’s evaluation form. You can download the form by clicking here.

8. Which books should I use during medical school to better prepare myself for PLAB?

It makes absolutely no difference as to which books you use during medical school. PLAB 1’s preparation is based on clinical knowledge and reflexes, not on any theoretical knowledge. You should not start preparing for PLAB 1 before graduating.


Useful Links

57 thoughts on “Guidance for Undergraduates

  1. Can you please guide me with Visa Homework? Like, how should i get it done?

  2. Hi Dr im graduating on jun 2018 n im planning to complete plab1 before end of 2018 since its better to complete it before UKMLA takes place…my doubt is,i can only complete plab 1 by tat time but nt plab 2…so if I wanted to take plab 2 on beginnig of 2019,how if they changed it to ukmla that time

    1. You will not be alone in this. A lot of people might go through this. The GMC will design a clear strategy for this, which is not known yet. So my advise to you would be to follow the news and stay updated.

      And there’s a good chance that UKMLA might not start before 2022.

  3. Hi dr Naseer,
    I have a question that there are thousands of students that are stuck in Pakistan after graduating from countries like China and Russia. They try exam for getting RMP but unfortunately that exam is not fair enough.What my question is what If one should go for Plab after graduation having one year of internship thats of last year of medical studies but no house job. What are the chances of getting job in that case after passing plab?

    1. In that case, you can only get provisional registration. This will only allow you to take FY1 jobs. And it’s not easy to find FY1 jobs.

    2. Hi, I am in the same scenario as you. I graduated from China, and I did my internship in my final year. Not sure if that is considered as the Internship that GMC requires, I tried emailing them, but they said they will only look further into considering the internship after completing PLAB 2.

      1. It would be best to post this query on Facebook to ask others who have gone through the same. Because the GMC website says that they do accept pre-graduate internships as well. Good luck! 🙂

  4. Hi there
    Thank you for your precious post. I have a question related to improving the CV, should I provide a certificate for every course, seminar or voluntary work I did? I attended many of them, however I didn’t pay much attention for certificates.

    Similarly, how would I prove my leadership roles or other extracurriculam activities ? After all, would they ever ask me to show an evidence?

    1. Hello,

      I am sorry but if you do not have certificates or letters of recognition or any other documentary evidence of attending those courses, seminars or voluntary works, then you should not mention them.

      Leadership roles or extra-curricular activities can also be backed up by documentary evidence. For example, if you were the captain of your school’s volleyball team, your school can issue a certificate stating that.

      No matter what you do, kindly take certificates or letters of recognition for your efforts.

  5. Hello dr.naseer.I’m currently in 1st year medical school,studying from Karachi Pakistan.I know it’s too early but I’d like to ask you what can I do in my first year ?
    Also do your semester exams matter ??

    1. Hello,

      I am also from Karachi. 🙂 First of all, no, it is not too early. You should begin collecting information as early as you can. I hope my website has helped you.

      Secondly, just follow the ideas I have suggested to improve your CV.

      Lastly, university exams or scores do not matter AT ALL in the UK.

      1. Also is it necessary to give the housejob from your home Country or you can do it from anywhere?
        Do you mind telling which uni you graduated from ?

      2. You can do your House Job from any institute which is recognized by that country’s local council and by the GMC.

        I graduated from Baqai University.

  6. hi
    I am an Iranian medical student and I will graduate in 2020. Is there any chance for participating in PLAB exam ? are there so many differences between UKMLA and PLAB?

  7. Dr Nasser I must say thank you for this blog. Its content rich and adequate. Funny enough I have gained more from this blog than GMC website on working as a doctor in the UK

  8. Hello Dr. Naseer,
    I am 1st Year M.B.B.S. Student from Dow Medical College. I have taken your Workshop and it was so helpful and encouraging. I want some guidelines regarding getting another degree while doing my course. I am interested in doing Bachelors in Psychology from Karachi University,admissions are starting this month and exams will be during my Medical School’s vacation in December which will not effect my M.B.B.S. course. I want to know Can I do this? Am I allowed? Do I need permission from PMDC? And Should I be going for B.A or B.S? As you said this would be helpful for C.V. and I am really interestef in studing this.Your words will be very helpful. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello, I’m happy to see your message. I’m not sure if this is allowed or not by PMDC. But I do have received messages from people who took an additional degree during their MBBS in Pakistan. If you are unsure, you can write to the PMDC or call them to confirm this.

      Any additional degree has 10 extra points for CMT application. You can check this link for more details.

  9. Hello dr nasser. Thank you for the guidance and information. Do you know how long will it take for student to start for plab after her internship…

  10. salam Dr, I am a 4th year student. I am in a relationship with a batch mate and we are looking fwd to going to UK together for training after getting married here, and hopefully settle there. My question is what are the chances of us getting jobs at the same hospital (both training and non training) and what do you think, Is it a good decision? I am a little worried about her.

    1. I am honestly not sure about this. It would be best to post this query on Facebook groups to see how others respond, because I am sure a lot of doctors go through this.

    2. Hi Neck,
      I am a fresh graduate who gonna take PLAB soon. This is the answer I got for your question from my a colleague lives in UK:
      “There are regions with lots of hospitals within an hour drive from each other. For example, Birmingham has 3 hospitals and 3 other around, so you can live in one city and work in different hospitals. This easy for non training jobs.
      Training jobs if you want to get a GP you can choose whatever deanery you want”.

      This me again 😀
      To be realistic, it might be quite difficult but remember nothing is impossible. As long as you decided to go through this way together, you have to do some sacrifices at the beginning of your life, but I am sure later on changes could happen and both of you may get together in one hospital.

      I wish all the best for you and for your future wife 😊

  11. Assalam.
    I am a Third Year student, trying to gether as much information as I can about post-graduation. My question is, do you know which non-surgical specialties are possible to get training jobs in, in the UK? I have no interest in Psychology or Derma, but what about the other specialties?

  12. Hey i am a final year student and going to give my proff in a month. I have passed my ielts and i wanted to book my plab exam dates right now. Can i do it before i graduate? I wanted to take march exam and if it’s going to be the last one i am pretty sure the seats would fill up soon so i wanted to book asap.
    My proff result would come in december and graduation is on the 30th december , i feel like i will be wasting a lot of time if i wait till january and might end up not getting a spot.Please guide me.

    1. You can only take PLAB 1 once you graduate.

      UKMLA is not expected to begin before 2022. So you’ll be okay.

      Please check my post about the UKMLA.

      1. Thank you so much for replying. So by graduation you mean when the result comes out or convocation ? The result date or the degree date or convocation date is the one that matters? Because I have all three on different days. Which date will make me eligible to apply for plab?

    2. Hey There
      Even I happen to have same doubt. The term “graduation” is a bit confusing. My result would be there by the end of December but i will receive my degree after my internship. I was wondering if i can appear for PLAB 1 after my result, during my Internship (before me receiving my degree which they give after completion of internship).
      Thank you

  13. Assalamualaikum sir!
    I have just passed my final/fourth year MBBs exams. In India we are given the title and a provisional registration after we pass our final year exams.
    But our degree and permanent registration in India is conferred only after we complete a one year Compulsory Rotating Housemanship.
    I will be starting that next month In a Sha Allah.
    Will it be possible for me to write IELTS and PLAB 1 in the coming year while I’m doing my internship?
    JazakaAllah Khair to you and everyone who is helping through this blog. It is very helpful.

    1. You can definitely take IELTS any time you want.

      I’m not sure about PLAB 1 in your situation since you wouldn’t have the degree.

      You can email the GMC to confirm this and you can also ask others from India about this.

      Good luck! 🙂

      1. I’m sorry sir I didn’t notice this had been posted already thank you ; I was wondering if you could please let me know whether we’re supposed to pay tuition fee for FY2/ CMT ?

      2. We work full time in FY2/CT1 posts. We are not students. Thus, there is no fee. We get paid for working in the UK.

  14. Hello Dr.Naseer thank you for your help! I just have a few questions that I needed to make clear in my mind. I’m currently giving my fourth year professional exam ( UHS mbbs exam). I wanted to start my prep for plab exam and my family wants me to give it as soon as possible after I graduate. My questions are
    1) can I give part 2 without House job ?
    2) are there any good academies in Pakistan or in England that I can join to help in my prep ?
    3)how soon is it recommend to give part 2 following part 1 ? Can I give it in the same year ?
    Your help will be highly appreciated.

  15. I completed my graduation and house job and now want to do MRCS exam. Also done my IELTS. Should i need to register to gmc before MRCS (like PLAB than MRCS) and kindly do inform about MRCS journey in detail. Thanks

  16. Hi!

    Is CRship (class representative) considered as a leadership role on CV? If yes I’ve been that for past 4years so shall i obtain a certificate for it?

    Please answer.

  17. Hi Dr. Naseer I’m a medical student and I want to apply for PLAB but I did fail my finals three different subject one time each. Will it make a difference for acceptance in UK? Please help.

    1. As long as you complete your MBBS on time, it will not make a difference. All the best! 🙂

  18. Will it be difficult for me to get in ? Or will it be the same as other students or there’s no point in applying if I don’t finish it on time as they won’t select me at all?

  19. Will we have to pay tuition fees after clearing PLAB and getting a job? Or will we just be recieving a salary?

  20. Asa…i m final yr medical student(under uhs)..don’t wanna ask any questions
    bcz there have been already many asked and cleared many queries in my mind!!!….Just wanted to appreciate your work firstly for making such a great blog and secondly for replying ppl queries so timely and nicely😊…MashAllah!!…May Allah make ease for u in every matter as u r making for others(ameen🌸)…keep it up👍

    1. Walekum Salam! Thank you for your kind words! And thank you for visiting the blog! 🙂

  21. Dear Dr. Naseer, what kind of a route can i take in UK if i do an Msc in clinical and health psychology which is recognized by the British pschology society(BCS), offered by UWL. My plab 1 is in November this year and i am planning on starting the Msc in Jan next year. planning on doing plab 2 after completion of Msc as i am not eligible to do the registration exam in my country(Sri lanka) as i have graduated from China, therefor i have no internship after graduation (only during final year). Planned on doing an Msc to improve my chances of maybe getting into psychiatry or something.
    Any insight on the psychology pathway? If we need Plab ? Or am i taking a wrong decision.

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