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?
You can do the following before graduating:
- Improve your CV.
- Design your roadmap for PLAB.
- Begin your visa homework.
- Study for IELTS.
- Stay updated with the latest updates.
- Plan for your House Job in your Home Country.
Let’s discuss all of these in detail.
1. Improving your CV
The following things will help you in improving your CV:
- Research projects.
- Quality improvement projects.
- BSc or BA degree obtained during medical school.
- Journal publications.
- Poster presentations.
- Oral presentations.
- Teaching experience (formal or informal).
- Clinical attachments (in the UK).
- Voluntary work.
- Leadership and/or managerial roles (academic or non-academic).
- Any other extracurricular activities.
- Electives (abroad).
- 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 don’t 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 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. Designing Your Roadmap for PLAB
Before you design your personal roadmap for PLAB, it is important to know the general Roadmap 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. Take IELTS roughly 6 months before graduating as well.
3. Take PLAB 1 exam as soon as you graduate. Don’t worry about preparation. There are numerous examples of people passing PLAB 1 with only two weeks of preparation. But if you give yourself six to twelve weeks, you can pass PLAB 1 very comfortably.
4. Apply for PLAB 2 visa during your House Job or immediately after your House Job depending on your homework for PLAB 2 visa. Also keep in mind that if the PLAB exam is about to be replaced by the UKMLA, you might need to speed up your journey.
5. Take PLAB 2 exam once you get your visa.
6. Get registered with the GMC.
7. 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 four things:
B) Bank balance.
D) Bank Transactions.
4. Studying for IELTS
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 6 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. Staying Updated
It is very important to stay in touch with the news to remain aware of the following:
- UKMLA developments.
- Any other changes by the GMC.
- Latest study trends.
- Latest study material.
- Any other updates relating to your UK journey.
You can stay updated by following the following link and sources:
- GMC’s news centre.
- Facebook PLAB group.
- Naseer’s Journey.
- Omar’s Guidelines.
- Following other Facebook groups, blogs and links mentioned in the Useful Links section of my blog.
6. House Job
It is difficult to enter the UK’s training system through FY1. Therefore, it is best to complete your House Job in your home country. So it is best to make plans for your House Job (internship) in your home country.
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 preparation for PLAB 1 before graduating.