PLAB vs USMLE – Video

I was asked to compare the USMLE with PLAB.

I spoke to students and young doctors at an event organized by the International Federation of Medical Students Association – Pakistan (IFMSA Pakistan) at Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Lahore on Thursday, 13 July 2017 via a recorded video.



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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I go for PLAB or the USMLE?

This is a personal choice based on individual circumstances. However, the above-mentioned information might help you in making your decision.

2. If PLAB is so easy, then why do most doctors choose the USMLE over PLAB?

Choosing which exam you want to take is a personal decision. However, most people choose the USMLE over PLAB for the following reasons:

  • Lack of awareness about the UK pathway
  • Peer-following
  • The USA looks more attractive
  • Better pay for consultants in the USA
  • Arguably better training in the USA
  • Direct entry into training in the USA
  • Shorter training duration in the USA

3. Where can I get more information from about PLAB?

Kindly scroll down and you will find all the information that you need.

4. What is the difference between the pay scales in the UK and the USA?

Starting salary in the UK and the USA is almost the same for junior doctors.

  • The UK: £2,700 ($3,500)
  • The USA: $3,200 (£2,500)

(this is the take-home pay, after tax-deduction).

5. How much pay is enough in the UK?

It depends on your lifestyle, location, number of dependents and a few other factors. But the following might give you a general idea:

£1,900/month can be more than enough for a single person and just enough for a couple.

£2,700/month can be more than enough for a couple.

6. Would I be able to save money in the UK?

Again, it depends on the factors mentioned above. So savings can be different for every individual.

I have seen people save £1,000/month for a whole year and I have seen people not save anything even after a couple of years. So it depends on each individual and how they live.

7. How much tax would I have to pay in the UK?

The numbers mentioned in this article are exclusive of tax. These are the take-home salaries, after tax deduction. However, to learn more about pay scales and taxation in the UK, you can click here.

8. What is the difference between a training and a non-training job?

A training job is one in which there is career progression. In a non-training job, there is no career progression. Our internship (also known as House Job in Pakistan) and specialty training jobs (also knows as Residency in Pakistan) are training jobs.

27 thoughts on “PLAB vs USMLE – Video

    1. Old graduates have the same opportunities in the UK as fresh graduates. Year of graduation does not matter. Old graduates have experience under their belt. So that’s helpful for them.

  1. Hi,
    I have been reading your posts. They are very much informative. But I have been having some difficulties in applying for PLABs.
    On the gmc-uk website, it states that you will have to apply and book a test date for plab 1 via a gmc online account. But when I try to set one up, it keeps asking for a gmc reference number.
    Being an IMG, I do not have a reference number. So how do I apply for one?
    I have been literally going in circles in the website. And there are no content anywhere on the internet explaining the process.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. Great information. I have a question. U mentioned that one has to do housejob with 3 months medicine and 3 months surgery without any gaps and even after housejob one has to start MO job so that there arent any gaps. If a person dits for usmle prep and he takes break from housejob or if one sits for usmle after housejob mot doing any MO job, would that gap be a problem if that guy later decides to go with plab and layer apply for a uk job?? What should one do in such case to be safe for a uk job if one has that as a back up option in case usmle dont go well. Thank you.

    1. In that case, the candidate would have to give an account of what they did during those gaps. Every single day has to be accounted for GMC registration.

      When applying for jobs, the gap will have a negative impact but as long as they’ve been working without a break for the past 6-12 months, it should be okay.

      It is ideal to channel all energies on one goal and to make the best out of it.

      PLAB will change to UKMLA in a few years. That should also be kept in mind.

      Good luck! 🙂

      1. Thank you Dr Naseer Khan. You are very much helpful. I wish there were someone like u for usmle detailed guidance too. a lot of people still have misunderstandings despite of massive sea of information on internet. the reason behind these misundersandings is that information is not available in a stepwise manner in one place just like ur great website. Bdw a lot of people in my surrounding have this in mind that they can go for plab anytime even if they have taken long breaks in housejob or after housejob for usmles. Thanks again for clearing this. 🙂

      2. Well, I hope someone does guide people for USMLE too.

        And I do know people who come towards PLAB after being jobless for a couple of years because of USMLE and they do find jobs as well. But some of them have to go through a lot of trouble to justify their gaps, specially if the gaps were during or before House Job.

      1. According to competition ratios published in 2017, OBGYN was 2.11 compared to 1.99 of ACCS Emergency Medicine.
        What do you think about its competitiveness nowadays?

  3. Hello,
    How difficult is it for an IMG to get a job as an orthopaedic or a general surgeon?

  4. I have completed my internship in march 2017…i m not doing any job after that…now i want to go for plab…will this affect to get my first job in uk??

  5. Thank you so very much Dr.Naseer. You’ve made it so easy for us, May Allah bless you with the power of healing touch!

  6. Hello sir, I will be finishing my internship on end of July. Can I directly do PLAB that is being held on November 2018 before working as MO or should I wait for next year??

  7. Hello i am from Nepal …you said you have to have 3 months each for medicine and surgery exposer in our internship but we have only 2 months for each.. is that mandatory
    can you please reply

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