You are here: Home » USMLE* » Residency Interviews » The PLAB Route

The PLAB Route

Every year thousands of applicants apply for the match after the USMLE. This application is after an investment of at-least 10000$ and years of the prime time of a young Doctor’s life. We are all aware of the match rates and how every year thousands of talented doctors face hardship and unemployment while working for the USMLE dream.

I am one of you, and have been through similar struggles. My medical school had a bond of service which had to be broken by a sum of 15,000,00 INR for me to be free to work wherever I wanted. So you can guess that I started at -15,000.00 INR. My parents were there for me but I refused to take more money from their retirement. I am sure all of you feel in a similar way.

Every exam costs at-least a thousand dollars, and there are 4 exams. The match itself takes away 4000$ and travel and interviews easily take away another 4000$. After so much financial strain if the results say “UNMATCHED”– this is the end of the road for many who have already struggled to gather enough money.

I was fortunate to find work in the United Kingdom at a University Hospital. (I will not name it- I have finally made it and would not take any risks) I was able to pay for my education and gain invaluable experience and publications. I was employed by the National Health Scheme, and earned a decent salary (a bit more than a resident’s salary in the US) that helped me pay for my dues.

Now that I have matched, I could keep the information to myself, or I could share it with my brethren who could do with some cheering up! My last post got several likes and many genuine students asked me about PLAB. I am going to ignore the negativity for the sake of the genuine. They deserve better.


To be able to give the PLAB you need to get an IELTS English certificate, with a minimum of 7 bands in each– speaking, listening, reading and writing. This is a tough exam and 50% candidates have to give it more than twice.


This is the counterpart of the USMLE’s and has 2 parts. The first part is a clinical multiple choice exam. You fill out an old fashioned OMR sheet with an HB Pencil. The exam lasts 3 hours and has only clinical questions on clinical subjects- that’s right no Biochem, Physiology, Anatomy, Microbiology etc. just the good old clinical subjects.

I would have told you about the best online question-bank, but I cannot as some troubled soul would then accuse me of taking money from them!!

The PLAB Part 2 is the clinical exam that you have to take which is slightly similar to the CS. This has 17 stations and you have to do an examination or a history or a procedure within 5 minutes. There will be an examiner in the room who would ask you a question. You would need to pass at least 12 stations. 2 stations would be pilot and would be excluded. The coaching classes are good and if you passed CS you would ace Plab 2.

GMC Registration

Once you have cleared the Exams you are eligible for getting the GMC (General Medical Council ) registration which is your licence. You can then apply for jobs. Every job at that level regardless of speciality pays the same amount of money.

Future Prospects

Every job in the UK will add to your career. At junior level it does not matter whether it is a training job or not. Just give your MRCP Exam and apply for higher training. It is easier to get Medicine like the US and the competitive branches are difficult.

Once you are on a Tier 2 Visa for more than 5 years you get eligible to get permanent residency. It’s like getting a green card in 5 years.


Jobs are in abundance in the country and you would eventually get one. You just need to have patience.

I would never regret working in the UK, people in the interviews knew instantly that I could work in a western setup. I could pay for my own educations and could participate in research as well.

Dr.Harpreet Singh MD, FACP is a Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Vital Checklist and The text, graphics, images, videos and other material contained in the videos and iCrush Website ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Dr Ankur Sinha - Executive Editor
Dr Ankur Sinha is a budding physician currently working as a specialty doctor in the United Kingdom. He is an avid researcher and finds solace after his hours at work, in putting his thoughts into words. He advocates upheaval of set practices and blind notions using science and research. He strongly believes that " When you work for your passion, your life becomes an endless vacation" Visit his website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll To Top