PLAB Part 1: Composition of the exam
The PLAB test - set by the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board - is for overseas qualified doctors who want to practise medicine in the UK under limited registration. The test is designed to assess a doctor's ability to work safely in a first appointment as a senior house officer (SHO) in a UK hospital in the National Health Service (NHS).
The PLAB test consists of two parts - PLAB Part 1 and PLAB Part 2. Candidates may not sit Part 2 until they have passed Part 1 and must take Part 2 within three years of having passed Part 1. There is no limit on the number of attempts at PLAB Part 1, and candidates may have up to four attempts at Part 2.
Changes to the PLAB exam
The number of sittings for Plab 1 exams has reduced from six a year to four in the UK and to two a year overseas. The sittings in the UK will take place in January, April, July and October. The sittings overseas will take place in July and January. Any candidates that were originally booked on the September and November 2006 sittings have been contacted and offered places in July 2006 or January 2007. For the remainder of 2006 this means that UK sittings will take place in July, September and November and the overseas sitting in July.
Composition of the PLAB Part 1 exam
PLAB Part 1 is a three-hour exam, with 200 Extended Matching Questions (EMQs) and Single Best Answer (SBA) questions divided into themes. The number of SBA questions could be up to 30% of the exam.
Each correct answer is awarded one mark, with the total score of the paper being the total number of correct answers given. There is no negative marking - marks are not deducted for incorrect answers or unanswered questions - and therefore it is recommended that you attempt all questions.
Changes to the PLAB exam
Due to low demand, we have reduced the number of sittings for PLAB Part 1 exams from six a year to four in the UK and to two a year overseas. The sittings in the UK will take place in January, April, July and October. The sittings overseas will take place in July and January. Any candidates that were originally booked on the September and November 2006 sittings have been contacted and offered places in July 2006 or January 2007. For the remainder of 2006 this means that UK sittings will take place in July, September and November and the overseas sitting in July.
Example of an Single Best Answer Question (SBA)
A young man has intractable epilepsy with numerous admissions to hospital with status in spite of good compliance with anti-convulsant treatment. He is being considered for a right temporal lobectomy.
Which visual field defect is he likely to develop following this surgical procedure:-
- Left homonymous superior quadrantanopia
- Right homonymous superior quadrantanopia
- Left homonymous inferior quadrantanopia
- Right homonymous inferior quadrantanopia
- Left homonymous hemianopia
Example of an 'Extended Matching Question' question (EMQ)Options:
- Aortic valve endocarditis
- Marantic endocarditis
- Tricuspid valve endocarditis
- Mitral valve endocarditis
- VSD endocarditis
- Libman-Sachs endocarditis
- Prosthetic valve endocarditis
From the list above select the most likely diagnosis for the patients described below:-
- A 27-year-old IV drug user with a 2 week history of fevers, cough and lung infiltrates and a systolic murmur
- A 60-year-old man with a 2 month history of fevers, weight loss, breathlessness who has 1st degree heart block on the ECG
- A 35-year-old woman with a past history of rheumatic fever who develops fever 2 weeks following dental treatment and pansystolic murmur
- A 40-year-old woman with SLE who develops unexplained fever and murmur but no obvious vegetations on echocardiography
- A 50-year-old man with a history of fever and breathlessness at 1 month from cardiac surgery