PLAB stands for Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board. It is a board set up to assess the professional standard and communication skills of overseas doctorwho plan to work in the UK, in their first role as senior house officers.

The Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test comes in two parts.

Part 1 written, and contains 200 questions, made up of Extended Matching Questions (EMQ) and the Single Best Answer (SBA) type questions. There may be some diagrams that will need interpreting. It is a 3 hours test.

Part 2 is more practical based. It takes the form of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination, consisting of sixteen stations. Of these, there is one pilot station where questions or scenarios here do not count towards the exam or towards your score, and one rest station, where you would not need to do anything.

The reminder fourteen stations are the real examination stations. You will be presented with a clinical scenario and requested to demonstrate how you will deal with such. Each stations lasts for five minutes.

For overseas graduate wanting to write the exam, be sure that it is a straight forward exam. There is very good pass rate.

There are lots of PLAB course centre all over the UK. Many deliver value for money, and run extensive coaching sessions. Many have found such preparatory classes useful for the exam, especially part 2.

Why write PLAB

The Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test helps any overseas trained doctor to demonstrate that he or she has the necessary skills and knowledge needed to practise medicine in the UK.

It is one of the routes to obtaining registration with the General Medical Council, the UK’s medical regulatory body. If you think you may be exempted from sitting the test, please contact the General Medical Council (GMC) via the link below.

For the avoidance of doubt, an overseas or international medical graduate in the UK contest refers to a doctor who trained in a medical school outside the UK or EU. Even British born doctors who trained outside the EU are also classified as overseas.


To be eligible to sit the exam you must have

• Your primary medical certificate from one of the medical schools in the register of the world medical schools directory, complied by the WHO

• Evidence of proficiency in English Language. You need at least an overall score of 7.0 in the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) if your first language is not English. For books and links for IELTS, see below.

How to Register

To register for PLAB, you need to contact the GMC via their website below, and register online.

Payments are made by credit or debit card. If you live in a place where you have no access to a credit or debit card, you can use a pre-paid credit card like GRAPHCARD to make payments online.

This service is available in over 260 countries. All you need to do is register with GRAPHCARD and pay an amount into your new account through money transfer companies like Western Union.

Before registering for any of the test, it is important you read the guidance note to overseas graduate and note the recent difficulties faced in securing a first job in the UK by overseas graduates.

You can also read about the new immigration rule for oversease doctors here

You can take PLAB test in more than twenty countries and hundreds of venues in a year now.

PLAB Resources

Books To Help Prepare

Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine

Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties


IELTS Website

GMC Website

PLAB 1 Test Dates and Booking

PLAB 2 Test Dates and Booking

British Council Information Centre

Book Your Flight and Hotel

About The UK

Medical Locum Agencies to Register with after your Exams

About Modernising Medical Career and Overseas Doctors

Preparation Tips For IELTS

HSMP VISA and How to Extend It

About Overseas Doctors Recruitment in the UK


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