PLAB Part 1: Syllabus

The subject matter of the PLAB Part 1 exam is defined in terms of skills and content. Questions begin with a title that specifies both the skill and the content they are testing.


The exam tests four groups of skills in approximately equal proportions:

  • Diagnosis
  • Investigations
  • Management
  • The context of clinical practice

Given the important facts about a patient (such as age, gender, nature and duration of presenting symptoms), a candidate will be asked to:

  • Diagnosis:
    Select the most likely diagnosis from a range of possibilities
  • Investigations:
    Select or interpret diagnostic tests
  • Management:
    Select the most suitable course of treatment, with knowledge of drug therapy and side effects.

The context of clinical practice may include questions testing skills in:

  • Awareness of multicultural society
  • Application of scientific understanding to medicine
  • Explanation of disease process
  • Explanation of disease process
  • Health promotion
  • Legal ethical
  • Practice of evidence-based medicine
  • Understanding of epidemiology


The content tested is generally defined in terms of patient presentations and includes:

  • Accident and emergency medicine (to include trauma and burns)
  • Blood (to include coagulation defects)
  • Cardiovascular system (to include heart and blood vessels and blood pressure)
  • Disorders of childhood (to include non-accidental injury and child sexual abuse; fetal medicine; growth and development)
  • Dermatology, allergy, immunology and infectious diseases
  • Disorders of the elderly (to include palliative care)
  • ENT and eyes
  • Gastrointestinal tract, liver and biliary system, and nutrition
  • Metabolism, endocrinology and diabetes
  • Nervous system (both medical and surgical)
  • Orthopaedics and rheumatology
  • Peri-operative management
  • Psychiatry (to include substance abuse)
  • Renal System (to include urinary tract and genitourinary medicine)
  • Respiratory system