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What is the PLAB Part 1 exam?

  • PLAB Part 1 tests your ability to apply your knowledge for the care of patients (doesn’t test how well you can remember and recite facts).
    • Questions related to current best practice in the UK, and equipment routinely available in UK hospitals & You’ll need to answer the questions in relation to published evidence and not according to your local arrangements.

What does the PLAB Part 1 exam cover?

  • Topics covered: common, important, or acute conditions (those common in emergency departments) seen by trainees entering the second year of the Foundation Programme (F2), and the management of long-term conditions seen in primary care.
  • What is excluded: advanced duties of a general practitioner (GP).

What is the pattern of PLAB Part 1 exam?

  • PLAB part 1 is a written exam made up of 180 multiple choice questions which you must answer within three hours.
  • How to answer: Each starts with a short scenario followed by a question & You need to choose the right answer out of the five possible answers given.

How to apply for PLAB Part 1?

Can I take PLAB part 1 in any country?

  • PLAB  part 1 is conducted in the UK and in a number of overseas locations & The overseas exams are hosted by the British Council.
  • Once you have booked online, please only contact the relevant British Council office if you have not received details of the venue two weeks before the exam.
  • Indian & Lankan venues listed below (click here for other countries).
Contact details for Indian & Lankan venues for PLAB 1
CountryCityContact details
IndiaBangalorechennai.enquiry@in.britishcouncil.org/+91 044 42050600
IndiaChennaichennai.enquiry@in.britishcouncil.org/+91 044 42050600
IndiaHyderabadchennai.enquiry@in.britishcouncil.org/+91 044 42050600
IndiaKolkataKolkata.Customercare@in.britishcouncil.org/+91 33 282 5370
IndiaMumbaimumbai.exams@in.britishcouncil.org/+91 22 6748 6748
IndiaNew Delhidelhi.enquiry@in.britishcouncil.org/+91 11 4219 9000
Sri LankaColomboexams.cmb@britishcouncil.org/+94 4521 500

How do you book or cancel a place?

  • Before you book a PLAB exam you must have:
    • An acceptable overseas primary medical qualification: If you haven’t graduated yet, The board will need confirmation you have passed your final examinations and are eligible for the qualification.
    • The necessary knowledge of English: before you can book a test you will need to provide your English language test scores. If you’ve taken the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test or the Occupational English Test (OET), you can do this in the ‘My Tests’ section in GMC Online. If your IELTS or OET scores meet our requirements you will be able to book a test.
    • A GMC Online account to book or cancel the exam.
  • Book using your GMC Online account: Go to GMC Online. You can view available dates and book under the ‘My Tests’ section.
  • If you don’t have a GMC Online account :
    • If you have a GMC reference number but have not logged in to GMC Online you will need to activate your account.
    • If you don’t have a GMC reference number you will need to set up your account and provide the following details.
      1. Primary medical qualification
      2. Valid passport
      3. Postal address
      4. Email address
    • The setup process will take a few minutes to complete. The board will send you a confirmation email including your GMC reference number once you have completed the setup process.
  • How much does it cost? £235 until 31 March 2020, £239 from 1 April 2020.
  • Booking confirmations and errors :
    • The board will send you an email confirmation of your booking once it’s complete.
    • If you see an error message or don’t get the email confirmation, your booking may not have been successful. If this happens, call us on 0161 923 6602 or email plab@gmc-uk.org quoting code ‘PLAB error 1’ for more details.
  • How do you cancel or change the date of the exam?
    • You can cancel your booking in the ‘My Tests’ section of your GMC Online account.
    • If you want to change the date of your exam you must cancel your place, pay the cancellation fee and book again.
  • Cancellation fees :
Cancellation fees and notice periods for PLAB 1 cancellations
Period of noticeCancellation fee
Over 83 days before the examNo cancellation fee
Between 83 and 57 days before the exam50% of the fee paid
Less than 57 days before the exam100% of the fee paid

Are there any concessions for refugees?

What can you expect on the day?

  • When should you arrive?
    • When your exam is confirmed the board will tell you what time to arrive. If you are sitting your exam outside the UK you will receive this information from the British Council along with details of the venue.
    • If you are more than half an hour late, you will not be allowed to enter the examination room. You will not be allowed to leave the room in the first or last half hour of the examination.
    • You can expect to be at the examination centre for at least four hours.
  • What should you bring with you?
    • Identification: Bring proof of identification with you. The board accepts any one of the following.
      1. Passport
      2. UK Immigration and Nationality Department identification document
      3. Home Office travel document
      4. UK driving licence
      5. EU identity card
        • If you don’t have one of the above you can take the exam but you’ll need to provide your identification document or evidence of change of name later in the process.
    • Booking confirmation: Bring the booking confirmation that includes your GMC reference number.
      • If the name on your identification document is different from that on the booking confirmation from the GMC or British Council: you must bring with you original evidence that you are the person named in that letter. The board will accept:
        1. Marriage certificate
        1. A declaration from the awarding body which granted your primary medical qualification, stating that both names relate to you.
    • Stationery: You should bring HB pencils, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener.
    • Other items :
      • You may bring a bottle of water in a clear bottle with all labels removed, one or two items of fruit to snack on, medications, and a basic ordinary analogue watch or digital watch (excluding smartwatches) to the exam.
      • This must be kept in your pocket or on your desk. Candidates are reminded that the weather in the UK can become very cold during the winter months. You may take a jumper/cardigan in with you.
  • What shouldn’t you bring?
    • You don’t need to bring the following to the exam:
      1. a calculator or any other equipment.
      2. coats, bags, telephones or other electronic devices such as smartwatches
    • There are no waiting areas for family and friends. They will not be allowed into the venue under any circumstance.
  • What do you do if you are unwell at the exam?
    • By presenting yourself for the exam, you deem yourself fit to be assessed. Should this change at any point you must tell an invigilator immediately.
    • Please remember that if you do not declare any illness or issues, this cannot be taken into account once the exam has finished.
    • If you are taken ill at an exam, it will not count as an attempt.
  • What conduct is expected during the exam?

What is misconduct in the Plab Part 1 exam?

  • Misconduct includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Sharing exam content in any way, including on social media and other online forums
    2. Not complying with the reasonable instructions of an invigilator or other examination official
    3. Viewing the work of another candidate, or attempting to do so
    4. Removing materials or content (including the use of recording devices) from an examination other than those specifically permitted
    5. Bringing materials other than those specifically permitted into the exam
    6. Releasing content from any exam to a third party/commercial organisation
    7. Communicating with another candidate whilst under exam conditions
    8. Gaining information about the exam questions in advance of your exam date
    9. Impersonation of a candidate
    10. Bribery, or attempted bribery, (of another candidate, exam official, simulated patient or other relevant people)
    11. Disruptive behaviour during an exam
    12. Aiding or abetting any of the above.
  • Who reports suspected misconduct?
    • Suspected misconduct may be reported by invigilators, examiners, candidates, simulated patients, our staff or any other person who becomes aware of suspected misconduct.
    • The board also uses Anomaly Monitoring System (AMS) computer software to detect cheating, by automatically reviewing all candidates’ answers after every examination to identify correlations in response patterns between pairs of candidates beyond what could be expected to occur by chance.
    • The board will only act on anonymous reports of misconduct if there is supporting evidence.
  • What happens if you are suspected of breaching exam rules? 
    • The invigilator or duty manager will:
      1. Confiscate any unauthorised material in the possession of the candidate for the duration of the exam
      2. The document clearly the time when the alleged breach was discovered
      3. Allow the candidate to continue the exam and inform the candidate at the end of the exam
      4. Allow the candidate the opportunity to respond either in writing, or by recording verbal statements
      5. Prepare, within three working days of the exam, a written report on the alleged incident and send it to the board.
  • What is the misconduct investigation process?
    • The investigating officer will review all reports of the alleged misconduct and, after consulting where necessary with other members of staff, shall determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the allegation to be pursued.
    • If the case is not pursued the board will inform the candidate accordingly, where applicable. In all other cases, the board will inform the candidate in writing, of the allegations that have been made against them.
    • The candidate then has the opportunity to provide a response to the allegations. During this time the results will remain unconfirmed until the board has considered the allegation.
    • If the investigating officer decides to refer the case forward, they will submit to the assistant director witness statements, the responses of the candidate and any other relevant information. The assistant director will consider whether the disputed facts are proved.
    • The board will inform the candidate by email of the decision and any penalty that has been applied.
  • What are the penalties for misconduct?
    • Standard penalties can include:
      1. written advice
      2. results of an examination to be annulled
      3. candidate barred from entry to future examinations for a specified period
      4. reporting the matter to our registrar so he can take it into account as a matter of good character when considering a future application for registration with a licence to practice
      5. any combination of any of the above
      6. no further action.
      • No candidate whose misconduct has been proved shall be permanently barred from entry to any future examinations.
  • Will you be able to appeal the outcome?
    • Where the board consider the candidate’s appeal fulfils the requirements, the material considered by the assistant director will be passed to the relevant director who will consider whether the disputed facts are proved and whether the penalty applied is proportionate to the misconduct.
    • The director’s decision will be final.

Also Read:

  1. An overview of PLAB Test
  2. PLAB Part 1 results & related
  3. Eligibility for PLAB Part 1
  4. English requirement for PLAB Part 1
  5. Guidelines to prepare for PLAB Part 1
  6. PLAB Part 2 application & Test day
  7. PLAB Part 2 Results & Related
  8. Guidelines to prepare for PLAB Part 2

Also Watch:

  1. What do you need to know about the PLAB test?

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