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How to plan your PLAB 1 preparation with a study partner


Hello readers, I am Pihu, an IMG from India, and I am just a month away from writing my PLAB 1 exam. In today's blog, I will discuss my preparation for PLAB 1 with my college friend, aka my study partner. I will discuss in this blog the following:


• Current status and pattern of the PLAB 1 exam

• First three months of preparatory session

• Last two months of revision

• Summary of the entire PLAB preparation journey


Changing times- tough to book PLAB seats


Just around a few months back, students used to have merely 2-3 months of preparation time before appearing for their PLAB 1 exam. However, with the current unavailability of appropriate PLAB 1 dates, students are left with a good number of months to prepare for this entrance test, but at the same time, it can be confusing to plan with so much time in hand. These months must be wisely planned to make the most out of them.


Having a study partner, especially during these long waiting periods, can pave an exciting and motivating path for both of you. I, too, went ahead with studying with my college friend, with whom I studied during med school as well. PLAB exam focuses on a student's knowledge about basic topics which a graduate must know. This is less of rote learning and more of evidence-based questions, which sets this exam apart.


First three months of the preparatory session


We began our preparation by first carefully devising a schedule that would suit both of us. The plan was to do theory with solving questions of that topic. Solving questions simultaneously helped in giving a way to remember even the factual questions in a clinical way. We would select the same subject and aim to finish its questions within a stipulated time. For any topic we found difficult to remember, we would discuss it further using other sources like MBBS textbooks.


Tackling a difficult question through extensive discussion made the topic stick in our minds for a long time. Also, after solving the questions, we would discuss the wrong questions and get to know the other person's approach to solving them. If it still seemed difficult, we would note it for future reference. This way, our first round of preparation was over well before time in 2.5 months.


What's next?


Moving forward, we decided to redo all questions again. This time the question-solving was random rather than subject-wise. We kept referring back to the theory as in the real exam, the framing of questions might change, but the facts remain the same. Whenever our schedules didn't match, we would independently solve questions on our weaker subjects in a timed manner. Later, we would exchange information if we found a new question or a new way of asking the frequently asked topics.


Last two months of the preparatory session


In the last two months, we focused on going through the theory part again as we had forgotten some basic points. This time we maintained a notebook containing high-yield information, including some tables, flowcharts, and antibiotics for certain diseases, and made some of our own mnemonics. Then, we proceeded to wrong and flagged questions where he would ask wrong questions done by me and vice versa. We'd go through notes from the notebook in any free time we had.


How important is solving mocks?


We had planned in such a way that we gave our first mock on the very first day of our revision period to get a baseline score. It was tough to sit for three straight hours and solve each question within a stipulated time, i.e., less than a minute, as we didn't have the habit of working against a ticking clock. This overwhelming feeling of restlessness only went away by the third or fourth mock. Hence it is very important to start giving these mocks early on so that you have ample time to identify and rectify the mistakes you may be committing. After finishing a mock, we would first discuss each other's wrong questions, and since it was not feasible to discuss two entire mocks, we reviewed the correct ones ourselves to save time.


Need more tips and advice?


Preparing for PLAB 1 with a study partner made the long wait before the exam fun and high-yielding. Another reason a study partner is beneficial is to help strengthen our weak subjects/ topics. For example, a topic in Ethics that was very weak for me was the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) guidelines which is a commonly asked topic. I shared it with my study partner and decided that whenever he or I came across questions from this topic, we would share it with our common group and compare it with previously asked similar questions. To conclude, plan your study time wisely, choose the resources that suit you, and stay calm. All the best.


If you have any questions about PLAB 1 preparation and study plan, I would be happy to answer them at trewlink.com. You can register using this link https://trewlink.com/?referrer=pih266253. Find me as an Ambassador and follow my profile – Pihu Arora - to receive regular support and advice.

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