I completed my IELTS in September 2017 and did not book the PLAB exam until I was completely sure I wanted to do it for personal reasons.
- I joined a WhatsApp group.
- I turned on notifications for PLAB Facebook group.
- Bookmarked Patient.info and Dr Naseer’s website.
- In October I subscribed to Plabable. Plabable in my opinion is totally worth it. Some questions are long and match the pattern of the questions that came in the March 2018 exam. You get lab values in most question for which you have to recheck with the normal values and that makes you remember the normal values. Very helpful on the exam day.
- I started Plabable telling myself to keep a week per topic and then doing the same topic from Plabzilla. I have heard that explanations in Sush Unity are great but I did not do them.
- I got distracted from my plan many times but we had a very active WhatsApp group and we would do this session every week where one of us would post at least 50 to 100 questions. Finally, I decided to book my exam in January and guess what, there were no more seats available in my country, Sri Lanka. I was extremely upset because I knew I wanted this. Eventually, I ended up booking the exam in UAE thanks to my sister who lives there.
- By the time January came, I had finished Plabable and I started on 1700 by Dr Khalid. Dr Khalid is a gem and he constantly updates the 1700 so keep an eye out on Facebook for his updated versions. I finished 1700 by the middle of February and then came another blow. I was told my own country’s registration exam which had been postponed was now going to be held in March and all I could do was pray that it wasn’t on the 15th of March.
- I then started doing mocks on Plabable and Dr Swamy s mocks. Do as much mocks as possible. I did 5 only. Mocks teach you to manage time well.
At the end of February, I got my letter stating my country registration exam was from the 6th to 8th of March, lucky me and I had to travel a 7-hour distance from Colombo to give the exam. So I quit studying for plab from the end of February to the 9th of March.
- I got my 1700 printed without the answers and started doing them from the 9th of March to see how much I actually remember.
- On the 13th I travelled to UAE and I obviously did not study. On the 14th, I completed the 1700.
On the Day of the Exam
I went through the clinchers and that was it.
Then comes the exam – completely not what I expected. The questions were long. You needed to work this out. There were probably around 5 questions repeated word to word from 1700. The rest, you had to think and you did not have time. I would go with my first instinct. Time management was not really an issue for me. I happen to be a fast reader so I managed to answer 80 by the 1st hour, another 60 by the 2nd hour and the rest by the 3rd hour. I would finish 10 questions and then transfer answers of those 10. I passed with a 144, Alhamdulillah.
During my preparation, I gave atleast 2 to 3 hours a day to studying because I had a full time job and I had my sisters children to look after and the minute they see me studying they love to come, sit and study with me so you can imagine.
Cover the 1700 questions atleast twice – not just memorise answers, read through, work it out and use patient.info and nice guidelines to help you. I also read through OHCM and OHCS for the pathology in certain topics – treatment wise it is not updated and not given in step wise format which is what is usually required when you answer plab questions. I would also recommend Oxford Handbook of Emergency Medicine for the emergency topics. Subscribe to Plabable and do them category wise and do it with Plabzilla or Sush Unity – anything you prefer, just make sure you have the updated keys. Read the explanations given thoroughly and click on any further links they give and read. Update yourself with the latest management from Nice.
I remember just days before our exam nice guidelines released new guidelines for asthma management. And book your exam early please – do not commit the same mistake I did.
Good luck to everyone who is sitting the exam. The exam is not a piece of cake – give it your best effort and I am sure you will get through.
(This post was pubslihed with the writer’s consent)