Hi, my name is Neha. I am an IMG from India. I recently received my GMC registration, and I am currently looking for a job in the NHS. In this blog, I am going to discuss my experience on the day of my PLAB 2 exam and some tips so that you are more prepared to ace it.
The email you receive from GMC will specify all complete addresses of the venue and what time you are expected to report. The exam has been held in only Manchester so far, but there are two venues within Manchester. The addresses to these venues are very similar (one being Hardman Street and the other Hardman Square), so make sure you arrive at the correct one. However, the two addresses are very close by, so do not panic even if you arrive at the wrong one.
What you need for the exam
You will need to bring an ID card. Identification proofs that are accepted by the GMC will be specified in your email and are also available on the GMC website. I carried my passport. You do not need any stationary as it will be provided. You can carry a small bag for your essentials, including your phone. These can be kept in a small locker that will be provided at the venue. You will be asked to switch off your phone before you leave it in the locker. Dress smart, do not wear any watches/ bangles/ rings, etc., and keep your arms bare below the elbow.
When you arrive at the centre, you will be called inside, and your name will be checked in their list. You will be then directed towards an elevator and made to queue, after which your ID will be checked, and a photograph will be taken. You will be asked to wait for some time and then called one by one to be given your ID badges. They will direct you to a locker to place your essentials and give you a key to it, which can be accessed after the exam.
After this, you will be taken to a waiting room, wherein you will be addressed by some GMC representatives. You will also be provided with some refreshments. Keep yourself hydrated and make sure you eat because you could be waiting for some time. It is important to keep calm during this period. You will be meeting your peers, out of which some might be repeating their attempts. Do not get disheartened hearing about multiple attempts, and make sure to keep a positive attitude.
PLAB 2 will focus on these domains:
- Data gathering, technical and assessment skills.
- Clinical management skills.
- Interpersonal skills
The exam consists of 16 stations, with 8 minutes to complete each station. You get time between each station to go to the next one and read the instructions. The time provided between stations varies between the two venues (Hardman Street – 1 min 45 sec and Square – 1 min 30 sec), and this is simply because one venue requires more time to go from one station to the next. The question for each station is printed and placed next to the door.
Take this time to carefully read and understand what is expected out of you in that particular station. You also get 2 rest stations where you are provided some refreshments and can request to use the washroom. I had done so and was asked to wait till I was called upon, as they let only one person use the restroom at a time. Someone will accompany you to guide you to the restroom and back.
The exam consists of various scenarios, including teaching, teleconsultation, vice consultation, prescription writing, simmans, etc. While practising for my simmans, I used various homemade props for oxygen cannula, injections, etc., as it is important to get into the habit of using these rather than just verbally practising the scenario.
During the exam, you require time to look for the required instrument or medication in the drawers. I also used an app that simulated a vitals monitor so that I could read them easily and also get into the groove of looking at them from time to time rather than just the beginning.
While you are in the UK, try to interact more with locals, as this will help improve your communication skills. Be polite and introduce yourself before every patient. Make sure you explain every examination and take their consent, even if it is a mannequin.
If you get a teaching scenario, verbally explain as well as demonstrate if necessary. You could also encourage them to try it once and correct it if required. In prescription writing, remember to place the stickers of the patient details where it is required first, and while writing, always use a black pen. For scenarios of video or teleconsultation, confirm the identity of the person on the other line before you begin.
Besides your academic preparation, your mental preparedness is equally or perhaps more important. PLAB 2 can seem very daunting as many of us would not only be giving such an exam for the first time but also living in a foreign country all by ourselves. I am sure everyone would have studied well and practiced all scenarios. All you need to do on the day of the exam is to remember to be confident, have faith in yourself and be polite. All the best to everyone preparing for your exams.
Need more help?
I hope this blog helps you in ways that TrewLink blogs have done for me. If you have any other questions about PLAB 2, please feel free to ask me. I also have a blog about failure in PLAB 1 and how to deal with it. You can check it out here. You can register using this link. Find me as an Ambassador and follow my profile – Neha Ashok – to get regular support and advice.