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What Is PLAB and How to Begin?

Hi. I am Dr. Yuva Ravindran, an international medical graduate from India. I am currently doing my FY2 in one of the biggest trusts in the midlands NHS. Here, I will give an overview of what is PLAB and highlight the initial steps to enter the NHS.

What Is PLAB?

PLAB is a multi-level exam conducted by the General medical council. International medical graduates (IMGs) are expected to clear PLAB to enter into the NHS, the health care network of the UK. It is to be noted that PLAB is a licensing exam that grants a license to practise medicine in the UK and is not a competitive exam to enter into post-graduate training in the UK. PLAB is a two-level exam, the first of which can be taken after the internship to obtain full registration with a license to practise.


PLAB 1 is a pen and paper exam conducted across the globe during different months of the year. It is usually a three-hour exam but is subject to change. PLAB 1 can be taken after internship. The eligibility to take PLAB 1 is to have a valid undergraduate medical degree and a valid English language score (IELTS /OET). PLAB 1 is a multiple choice questions/ MCQ exam that tests your basic medical knowledge and ability to prioritise medical resources alongside managing clinical scenarios in accordance with the guidelines.


PLAB 2 is a face-to-face exam conducted exclusively in the UK. It is conducted every day from Monday to Friday in the GMC, Manchester, UK. It is a station-based exam where the candidate is expected to consult a patient having medical complaints or ethical doubts at every station. PLAB 2 tests our ability to manage clinical scenarios very similar to the real-life scenarios we face when we start our practise in the NHS.

How to Begin?

The first step is to create an account in the General Medical Council. This can be done online by entering your details in the GMC - General medical council’s official website. Following that, it is essential to have a valid international medical degree (e.g., MBBS in India, which includes medical school and internship). In some universities, a medical degree is awarded without an internship. In such cases, one can apply for provisional registration. After an internship abroad (elsewhere but not in the UK), the individual is eligible for full registration.

Is There Any Exam Before PLAB 1?

Before applying for PLAB, it is essential to get an eligible English language test score. There are two exams, IELTS and OET, and eligibility in one of the exams is enough to book a PLAB 1 slot. In the case of IELTS, the requirement is an overall band of 7.5 and separate bands of 7 in reading, writing, speaking and listening respectively.

How to Book PLAB 1 and PLAB 2?

Following English language clearance, one can book PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 in the ‘My tests’ section in their GMC account. The updates regarding the release of slots are updated on the GMC website periodically.

What Is the Next Step After Clearing PLAB?

After passing PLAB 2, IMGs can apply for GMC registration with a license to practice. After a thorough background check is done, the candidate is provided with a full license with which they are eligible to work in the NHS.

Transition to the UK

A visit to the UK is mandatory to take PLAB step 2. It is a relatively short stay, but it is best to keep in mind that it could be very challenging owing to the new lifestyle and the upcoming exam pressure. But with proper planning beforehand, it is very manageable.

Need More Help?

If you have any questions about beginning your process, I would be happy to answer them at You can register using this link - https:// Find me as an Ambassador and follow my profile – Yuva Ravindran - to receive regular support and advice.

1 Comment

Dec 20, 2022

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