When I sat for the IELTS exam for the first time, PLAB wasn’t on my radar. I heard about it but didn’t care much because of so much chaos and indiscipline surrounding clinical medicine in our country. One of my friends encouraged me to take this path and here I am.
I got the required IELTS band score for PLAB in August’17 and passed PLAB 1 in Dec’17. I had 50 days for fulltime preparation. I read plab 1 experiences written by senior plabbers and was convinced that was adequate enough to pass and achieve a good score in exam
My preparation had three phases-
1st phase: First read
Total duration was 30 days.
Materials: Samson notes+ sush unity 1700 categorized question bank +Dr. Khalid’s 1700 categorized question bank.
Total Q covered:1700
During this period, I had a target to complete one system every day. At first, I read respective system from Samson notes. Then I solved sush unity 1700 categorized question bank. After that, I went through Dr. Khalid’s 1700 categorized question bank. So, I could read every system two times and could check if there was any controversial answer between these two Q bank with the help of Facebook PLAB group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/doctor.plab/)
# There’s total 23 chapters in Samson note. After adding ethics and accident & emergency, we will end up with 25 topics to cover for first read.
# For ethics, solving plabable Q bank is must. For accident & emergency, it’s good to go through OHCM. It will clear any confusion with the explanation.
# OHCM & OHCS- these two are reference book. No need to read cover to cover. Just have them on your desk to check from time to time
2nd Phase: Mock & Recall
Total Duration 7 days
Materials: Samson 7 mock from 2013+Last 4 recalls (Nov’16,Mar’17,jun’17,Sep’17)
Total Q covered:2200
Every day, I could only solve 3 mocks at best. Finding right answer took time because of confusing answers. Again, I went to Facebook plab group for all kind of confusion.
3rd Phase: Revision
Total Duration:13 days
This time, It took me five days to read whole Samson notes again. Then I went through Dr. Khalid’s 1700 uncategorized. It also took five days too. Then for final revision, I covered both Samson notes and Dr. Khalid’s 1700 unanswered. In total, I revised both Samson notes and 1700 three times.
In my opinion, 1½- 2 months full-time preparation is enough to ace PLAB-1.
# Dr. Khalid’s 1700 is the bible of PLAB-1. It doesn’t matter what edition it is (categorized, uncategorized, answered, unanswered). If you are confused by all the suggestion out there, I advise you to read Samson note once and to go through Dr. Khalid’s 1700 at least three times before exam. Do not forget to revise last three recalls. You will feel the magic during the exam.
# While studying, please do not memorize the answer. Go through all five options and analyze all of them and identify the logic behind your answer.
# If there’s any confusion, read that topic at first from https://patient.info . This is the most authentic and reliable source to clear any confusion.
# If you are working full-time, don’t be disheartened. It is still possible to be prepared for this exam.
Exam Day Experience:
The exam venue was British Council at fuller road. It held for two hours from 04:00PM- 07:00PM. I arrived half an hour earlier for identity check. We were total 42 examinees. My target was to answer 80 question per hour in first two hours. It took me two and half hour to read all 200 question for the first time and I was able to answer 145 questions. In last 50 minutes, I had to answer 55 question. I was running against the time. Luckily, I was able to complete and recheck my answers on time.
Tips for exam:
# From my experience, at least 130-140 questions out of 200 were exactly repeated from 1700 Q bank and from recalls. There were maybe 10-15 new questions. So, there is no need to panic even if you can’t get correct answer for 50-60 question. Just focus on repeated questions and get them right. You will pass with flying colors.
(I heard that in last March, repetition was less than usual. But the topics covered in PLAB 1 remained as usual. So, no need to be panicked.)
# I think, time management is the key to ace this exam. You know all the answer. Of course, there will be some confusing and completely new questions. My advice is to read every question two times. If you can’t answer it, leave it. You will see that you have answered al at least 140-150 questions at the end of first read. That is enough to pass this exam and you will have plenty of time to think about unanswered questions.
# When the exam invigilator says stop writing, please put down your pencil. Don’t even look at it. You will not fail by 1-2 numbers; I can assure you that. Don’t let this silly mistake to ruin you hard work of months. So, be extra careful.
Special Thanks to Dr. Khalid, Dr. Sush, senior plabbers of PLAB group of Facebook for making this journey easier and achievable. Hope, it will help upcoming plabbers.
Here’s the google drive link with all resources that I used-
One more thing-
The printed version of all pdfs are available at PG medical books (Nilkhet). Remember to check if it’s the latest version before buying.
Some useful resources regarding PLAB :
# Plab for Bangladeshi doctors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/971725439603592/
# Road to UK By Dr. Ibrahim Ivan: https://roadtouk.com/amp/
# Naseer’s Journey by Naseer Khan : https://naseersjourney.com/
# To know everything about NHS : http://omarsguidelines.blogspot.com/
Best of Luck.
Dr. Qamar Uddin Hejazi