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  • julianosko

Personal success story : Passing PLAB 2 amid a pandemic

Updated: Apr 2, 2022

Hi, I am Mahgul, an IMGs from Pakistan working as a junior doctor in Paediatrics A&E in the UK. In today's blog post, I would like to tell you my story of passing the PLAB 2 exam amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are interested in settling in the UK, read my blog about Settling in the UK – Top 10 tips

My Story

When I was thinking about my new blog topic for Trewlink, it got me thinking about all that time when I was preparing for PLAB 2 and the world was hit by the pandemic. This topic brings back so many memories, some very painful and makes me realize how I overcame that.

She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” - Elizabeth Edwards

I had initially booked my PLAB 2 exam in March 2020. The peak time the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and then suddenly the government of the UK announced a lockdown. My home country Pakistan announced a ban on air travel, which meant no flight from the UK or COVID affected countries could enter or leave Pakistan.

At that time my visitor visa was about to expire so I could not travel. Hence, I could not apply for any sort of visa to the UK as all visa application offices were shut. Imagine my sadness, I was in my home country, away from my husband who was working as an NHS doctor in the UK. I could not attend my PLAB 2 course physically due to the lockdown. The GMC cancelled all PLAB 2 exams initially and then once they opened dates, they were prioritizing people who had no visa restrictions or who were stranded in the UK due to travel restrictions. I had absolutely no idea when the visa process would be active again so I could apply. All these factors took a huge toll on my mental health. I was depressed, tired and angry. There were times when I would try to keep thinking about the times my life would become normal again. Being away from one’s husband is not easy and on top of it being so uncertain about things was just very difficult.

Eventually, I started taking the online PLAB 2 course that was started by my academy. Soon after that, I paired up with a couple of friends I made during the course, and we all started practising for the exam. Believe me, those were some of the best people I have met and till this day we all are in touch and friends. We all did pass our PLAB 2 exams in our own time and ended up getting jobs in the NHS. I used to study the PLAB 2 coursebook, I remember I had finished it many times along with the NHS website for guidance. I used to practice with colleagues. During this uncertain time, to keep myself busy I started working as a lecturer in the anatomy department in one of the medical schools in my city in Pakistan. This time was the hardest for me. For a very long time I kept on feeling things would never get normal, I was uncertain about the visa, my exam and being reunited with my husband.

To make the PLAB journey easier, the TrewLink Academy has launched its very own PLAB 2 Online course that includes high-quality lectures and recordings of each PLAB chapter taught by UK doctors and ex-OSCE examiners. This is an intensive instructor-led coaching programme, covering the highest yield topics and scenarios seen in PLAB 2. History taking, diagnosis, management, communication and counselling stations are all dealt with as well as practical skills. You can now prepare for PLAB 2 at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.

All these struggles made me realise to thank nature for the blessings at the right time. This struggle made me more patient and I trust nature’s plans which are in the end the best ones. After an excruciating wait of 11 months, I finally got my visa and my PLAB 2 exam date, ended up having a teaching experience and last but not least, adding most to my happiness was being reunited with my husband.

In the end, I have learnt, you can do whatever you want, but when the time is right only then things will turn out in your favour. Till then hang in there, pray and believe.

I hope my post encourages all the people who are still waiting to get a PLAB 2 date. Good luck and best wishes to you all.

If you have any questions feel free to ask on the TrewLink website, I would be happy to help.

If you found our blog articles helpful, please share them with your IMG friends & colleagues who may also benefit from reading our blog.


Dr Mahgul

Written by Mahgul

Edited by Julia


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