Resilience is key : Passing the English proficiency exam on the 4th attempt
Updated: Apr 2, 2022
Hi, I am Haseeb, an IMG from Pakistan working as a junior doctor in A&E in the UK. In today's blog post, I would like to tell you my story of passing the English proficiency exam on my 4th attempt.
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This experience is the one that reminds me of my hard time and struggles at the beginning of my PLAB journey as an IMG. It is said one must have their fair share of tough times to achieve something. The field we all are in will always test us. Sometimes mentally, emotionally and physically. This is the beauty of medicine; one keeps on learning something new every day.
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - Nelson Mandela
I remember I was back in Pakistan doing my FY1 year when I started preparing for the PLAB exams and the first step was to pass the English language test i.e., ILETS. Now, I have studied in English schools all my life and have also lived in the United Kingdom, so I thought this would be easy and quick. I got the preparatory IELTS books and started practising. I was doing very well. I quickly booked my exam and sat for it. When the result came out after 2 weeks, I had the required band in the 3 subtests except writing. My band was 0.5 less than the required. I was disappointed but prepared and gave the exam another try. To my surprise, the same story happened to me again.
Now I started to feel a little disappointed and thought about where exactly I was lacking. I read on the internet and many other Facebook pages that the IELTS exam is difficult to pass which made me more conscious. I prepared and gave it another go but I was again unsuccessful. Each time I was lacking by just a band of 0.5. I was always so close yet so far from my goal. I started to worry now as I needed to pass my English language test to sit the PLAB 1 exam. My FY1 year was about to end at that time. This had now started to add up to my anxiety. I finally mustered the courage to sit for another attempt. My flight to the United Kingdom was booked as well. I gave my exam, got my certificates for FY1 year and flew to the UK to my family. I was extremely happy as I was meeting my family after a year and was hoping I will be successful in my ILETS exam. But to my surprise as soon as I landed and checked my result, I was again unlucky.
I was extremely disappointed and frustrated as I now wanted to get done with ILETS and start my PLAB journey. Nature gave me a rough time and tested my patience but ultimately was kind to me. Soon Occupational English Test (OET) for medicine was introduced and was accepted by GMC for doctors. I booked my OET quickly. At that time there were not many preparation materials and past papers were available online as this was a new exam. I read through the OET website and did a few mock exam papers available on their website and went for the exam. I was not very confident but had faith that things will turn out for the best. I sat for the exam and after it, I was still not very sure how well I performed. The result was expected after 4 weeks.
During these 4 weeks, I started studying for PLAB 1 exam. When I opened my account to check for my result after 4 weeks, to my surprise I had passed the exam with the required grades and that too on my 1st attempt. I was extremely delighted. My hard work had ultimately paid off and now I could easily move forward to my next goal.
I hope my story gives courage to IMGs struggling with passing IELTS/OET. Ultimately things do turn out in your favour with a little patience and a little faith.
If you have any questions feel free to ask on the TrewLink website, I would be happy to help.
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Written by Haseeb
Edited by Julia