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?

Identification

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 works in Medical Education for Bromley Emergency Courses and has recently taken PLAB 2.