Golden’s PLAB 2 Journey to Success (From Russia/Ukraine to the UK)
Reading Time = 6 minutes
My PLAB 2 Results
I passed 12 stations and my score was 121. Passing score was 113.63
Many of you reading this may have read my IELTS and PLAB 1 journey on Naseer Khan’s blog. My journey for PLAB 2 started a few months just after finishing PLAB 1. I knew from the beginning I had to go to an academy to pass PLAB 2. This was not an exam I was going to joke around with and risk failing, wasting an exam attempt and a whole load of money
Tips for Success: Before starting the academy
I looked long and hard for a PLAB 2 academy to go to and I did my research thoroughly (£600 doesn’t just grow on trees you know lol). After days of research, I came to the conclusion that Dr Hamed’s PLAB 2 academy (Common Stations) was the best and oh boy was I right!
Tips for Success: When you start your PLAB 2 course
I arrived at the academy on the 3rdJanuary 2018 bewildered, batch OO, wasn’t too sure what to expect. I was told by a friend of mine that sometimes the academy teaching times can start from 10 am and wouldn’t finish till 9 -11 pm every day for 2 weeks straight. I knew passing PLAB 2 was about pure dedication and that’s what I intended to do. Dr Hamid hands down is the best and words is not enough to describe how good of a teacher he is. Every day I would wake up by 8 am (I lived in the accommodation they provided only 5 minutes’ walk away from the academy), to get to the academy for 9:20 am, practice with my friends until the class started at 10 am, continue to the class finished at 9-11 pm and continue practising with my friends or alone up until 2.30 am in the morning, sleep by 3 am and start the process again, going to the academy for 9.20 am. As you can see… I didn’t sleep much! The volume of information I had to absorb was huge but since I just finished my PLAB 1 exam the information was somewhat still fresh in my mind.
Tips for Success: What to do in your PLAB 2 course at the academy
Make sure you review your notes on the day Dr Hamid gives them to you. Spend at least 1 or 2 hours reading after the class has finished. It’s really helpful. You going to bed a little later than you’re used to and a getting a few hours less sleep won’t kill you. It will all be worth it in the end.
It’s advisable to get accommodation near the academy so you don’t waste time travelling to the academy. Time does matter especially if your exam is really close!
Practice the mannequin stations until you can do them with your eyes closed. Practice, practice and practice!!
Practice the stations with more than one person, have at least 3 or 4 different partners. You need to get constructive feedback with the people you practice with. E.g. when I was playing the role of a Dr and I didn’t know an answer to the question a patient asked me, I would look away and think for a while. I wasn’t aware I was doing this until somebody pointed this out to me and told me. You must be able to take criticism from your peers! At the end of the day, we are all there to help each other.
What’s funny is that I really didn’t understand each station and why I was asking the questions I was asking only until I had finished the course. Taking a detailed patient’s history, SOCRATES, excluding your differential diagnosis, past medical history etc. is not something I really understood during medical school but only after finishing the course, I fully understood why we need to ask such questions and Dr Hamid’s course was fundamental in me achieving that and feeling like an actual Doctor.
Interpersonal skills plays a vital role in you passing your PLAB 2 exam. I can’t stress this enough. Luckily for me my interpersonal skills were quite good before I started the academy. I believe this played a key role in me passing my PLAB 2 exam. When I came to the academy, I could see at the beginning a lot of people lacked this skill and this is something which takes time to develop, it can’t just be taught overnight!!!!! It takes a few weeks at least to improve this hence why I would recommend that you should have your PLAB 2 exam booked at least 4 weeks after your course has finished.
Practice the stations with the GMC bell under timed conditions (8 minutes). I can’t stress this enough. You need to know how to manage your time efficiently!!
Do your mock exams. Don’t skip them, they are critical.
Tips for Success: What to do the night before your PLAB 2 exam
Make sure you arrive at Manchester (the city where you will be doing your PLAB 2 exam) at least 1 day before your exam. My friends in the academy said they needed this time to ‘acclimatise’ to the surroundings lol this made me laugh so much. Back on a serious note, do not travel to Manchester from London on the same day of your exam. It’s the worst thing you could possibly do. For example, your train might be delayed etc, why stress yourself over nothing. If your exam is on the 10thMay 2018 for example, arrive in Manchester on the 9thMay in the morning/afternoon, so you have time to book yourself into your hotel, go have a look where the GMC building is so you know where to go the next day for your exam. This is all common sense. When you arrive at your hotel in Manchester, make sure you stop reading/revising by 5 p.m. At this point, it’s too late to cram any extra information into your head. I would also advise if you’re going to book a room/hotel in Manchester, book an En-Suite room only for yourself and stay by yourself, the last thing you want is a friend or someone you’ve agreed to stay with stressing you and panicking you the night before your exam because they feel unprepared. It’s much better to relax, eat some good food, take a nice shower and get at least 9-10 hours sleep!! You want to be fresh for your exam. That’s exactly what I did.
Tips for Success: The day of your PLAB 2 exam
Have a good breakfast. Can’t stress this enough, were all doctors and we all know why this is important. Going to the exam on an empty stomach is definitely not a good idea.
Stay calm and relaxed. You have worked hard for this and you’re a Doctor. Treat this exam like an ordinary day at work. Most of you would have done at least one-year internship in your home countries so seeing patients is nothing new to you.
Be confident. You will have 18 stations and you need to have confidence in yourself and you must make the patient believe in you that you are confident and you are there to help them.
In the exam, you are on your own and what you do in your exam and what you have learnt in the academy and how you apply yourself will determine if you pass or fail.
More Golden Tips for Success
To pass this exam requires pure dedication while you are at the academy and the time leading up to your exam after you’ve finished your academy. I took one rest day to recuperate and have a holiday catching up with my favourite series: Arrow, The Flash and Gotham. Make sure you put everything you have into this exam, as we know PLAB 2 is not a cheap exam. PLAB 2 costs £840, the course is about £600, accommodation…. another cost, food, hotel in Manchester, train tickets and for most of you, visas and flight tickets… you can see you could easily spend up to £3000 for just doing this exam on your first attempt!!!! So to not pass this exam and pay this kind of sum again to do the exam again….let’s not go there…. You really do need to dedicate yourself fully while you’re at the academy and after your course finishes to give yourself the best possibility of passing your PLAB 2 exam on your 1stattempt. Anybody who tells you otherwise… don’t believe them. This exam is about pure dedication!!!! This is the honest truth.
My 3 Golden Rules you should follow during your PLAB 2 exam in Manchester are
- Be a confident Dr
- Be a safe Dr
- Be a caring Dr
With these 3 Golden Rules, you can’t go wrong. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on Facebook or on my WhatsApp number, I’ll be more than happy to help you. +79788047972
Dr Golden Ogbonna (MBBS, BSc)