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PLAB 2 is a long and expensive exam; you may have been saving for years and studying for months just to be able to take it. Naturally, you are feeling nervous about your performance during the day. Trust us, we know the feeling well! That is why we are sharing some of our main tips on how to cope with anxiety before and during the exam.

Before the exam

  1. Have days off and get enough sleep. We know that time is precious and, oftentimes, limited. However, it is important to take time off to relax. Also, a prolonged period of sleep deprivation will only damage your chances of success during the exam. Make sure to plan your schedule (daily, weekly and monthly) well enough to ensure those highly needed 8 hours of sleep every night.
  2. Exercise and relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, are fantastic ways to take your mind off your studies. They will also help you concentrate better when you are studying.
  3. Learn a relaxation technique in advance so that you can utilize it if you need to. Have you heard of mindfulness? This might be a great time to check it out!

Panic the night and the morning before

  1. Try to avoid working too close to the exam. I cannot emphasize this point enough! Do not stay up late the night before or get up early on the morning of the exam. A good night’s sleep is more valuable than an extra few hours of revision.
  2. Make sure you are thoroughly prepared for the exam to minimize your worries. Check that you have got the right time and location, all the documents you need and lay out your clothes for the next day.
  3. Watch a movie or have dinner with friends. This can help you take your mind off the exam.
  4. Remember to eat! I had a large, yummy and nutritional breakfast right before the exam that provided me all the fuel I needed for that morning. Make sure you do the same!

Panic during the exam

  1. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Repeat this whenever you begin to feel anxious. You will not get marked down for pausing to take a few deep breaths!
  2. Read through the instructions and questions slowly and carefully.
  3. Plan how you will approach the station. This is important as it helps your speech flow and it will prevent you from going blank during the stations.

What if, after doing all this, you still find it hard to relax?

If you are finding things difficult at the moment and would like further support, contacting a counsellor could be a great idea.

If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this.


Best of luck!

Dr Irene Baez

Irene is Medical Advisor for Bromley Emergency Courses and has recently taken PLAB 2. 




You may have been studying for months already or just started your preparation for PLAB 2. Wherever you are in your journey, knowing what to expect on the big day will make a great difference. 

PLAB 2 is a LONG exam, lasting approximately 3 hours and 10 minutes, but I promise it will feel much much shorter.  Why does it feel short? Because things in PLAB 2 happen very fast. This dynamic exam has the potential to also be fun! No, I’m not crazy! I genuinely enjoyed mine. And I think that, with the right preparation, you could enjoy yours as well.

Right before the exam

Allow plenty of time to travel. Make sure to be at the testing centre early. If you are in Manchester only for the test, it is best to spend the night before at a nearby accommodation.

While at the accommodation of your choice, take some time to relax, take a bath, watch a movie, and go to bed early. A good night’s sleep can make a great difference. As I said before, the exam is long, so make sure you have a nutritious breakfast before you leave for the exam. 

When you arrive

Upon arrival, you will see many other exam-takers going through their notes, even until minutes before the exam. Spare yourself the agony and relax before the exam. You will not learn anything new in the last five minutes, and checking your notes will only increase your anxiety levels. Have a toilet break and a sip of water. 

Members of the staff will check your ID and take your photograph. You will be given an ID badge which you will show each examiner on the day. Don’t worry if you have a name that might seem long or hard, they will look at your identifying number. 

You won’t need to take anything with you into the exam circuit. Everything you need will be provided.

During the exam

Don’t worry if you need to bring some personal belongings to the testing centre. They will be safe in a locker, but don’t expect to bring them with you into the exam. That includes watches too!

Most stations will look and feel like a real-life consultation. All the equipment needed will be provided. You will encounter mannequins, actors playing part of a patient, family members or medical staff. 

You have 18 consultations on your clinic list, you have time to have a look over the patient’s notes before each one, and there may be some test results to check too.

You will move progressively from patient to patient, having 8 minutes to complete each task, and 1,5 minutes to read the instructions. 

The examiner will be there, but he won’t make a peep! He will only be observing you, and in rare circumstances, he’ll speak to you. 

Do not talk to other candidates during the exam! 

What should you bring with you?


Booking confirmation

Bring the booking confirmation that includes your GMC reference number.

What is the dress code?

Many people ask us about this all the time! And the answer is easy, just dress as you would to work in a UK hospital ward or other clinical setting. In other words, bare to the elbow with no watches, bracelets or rings. Male candidates would be expected to wear a collared shirt with short or rolled sleeves and no tie. Make sure to wear closed shoes. And most importantly, feel comfortable and confident. 

Best of luck!

Dr Irene Baez

Irene is Medical Advisor for Bromley Emergency Courses and has recently taken PLAB 2. 

PLAB 2- WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE EXAM DAY?2019-10-25T11:13:41+00:00