Alhamdullilah I passed my PLAB 1 on 19th April 2018 with a score of 167/200. I feel it’s my responsibility to help the new PLABbers here so here is my experience.
From USMLE to PLAB
I am a practicing physician in Pakistan and I am working at a district level hospital 36 hours per week. Before embarking towards my PLAB journey, I was knee-deep with my USMLE Step1 preparations; I was already done with Kaplan series (and yes it helped me with my PLAB).
Four Month of Prep
I started my preparation exactly four months before my exam date. Four months, because I had to do it alongside my job. Otherwise, for a person who is giving his 24/7, two months are enough.
What I did can be summarized as follows:
- Started with the bible of PLAB, THE 1700 by Dr Khalid. My plan from day one was to give four solid reads to it and by solid read I mean reading each scenario, understanding it, researching on it using www.patient.co.uk. And cross-checking the answers with other sources.
- After my 1st read of 1700, I started Plabdoable, and it was very helpful. It cleared a lot of blurry concepts and I would strongly recommend it to every PLABber now. It had some new questions too and yes they appeared in our PLAB attempt later on.
- The next thing I did was another read of 1700 followed by Samson mocks of 2013. My scores were not that brilliant at that moment but I knew I still had two months left. So I did not panic.
- After the mocks I gave two back to back reads of 1700 (this time I recalled almost all of the questions and their answer by heart) and it boosted up my confidence.
- Then I gave a rapid review to Plabdoable again before entering the last week.
- During the very last week, I started doing Samson mocks of 2017. My scores were around 170, 180, 185. This was when I realized that I am going to pass and It was such a relief.
I reached Islamabad one day before the exam day. I did not study a word. I spent most of my day in shopping malls and restaurants. On exam day I reached two hours before time (I shouldn’t have done so. But I like to be extra careful when it comes to my career).
The exam started two hours late. Paper was tougher than expected; there were almost no word-to-word repetition of questions from 1700 or Plabdoable. But yes concepts and topics were all from them. The scenarios were very lengthy and by very I mean VERY. One must do the timed practice of mocks if he wants to attempt them all in time. I completed my paper 20 minutes before time and tabled drummed my way to 3 hours.
Best of Luck to every new PLABber!
Dr Taimoor Hameed
(Shared with Dr. Taimoor Hameed’s consent).