The Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test provides the main route for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to practise medicine in the United Kingdom (UK). PLAB is a two part assessment that overseas doctors (or international medical graduates), from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, usually need to pass before they can legally practise medicine in the UK. It is conducted by the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom. The test is designed to assess the depth of knowledge and level of medical and communication skills possessed by the international medical graduates. The PLAB blueprint sets out what candidates are expected to demonstrate in the test and beyond.
Do I need to take the PLAB test?
There are various different routes to registration with a licence to practise in the UK.
You will need to pass the PLAB test before you can apply for registration with a licence to practise if you meet the following criteria:
You are a national of a country outside the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland who graduated from a medical school outside the UK OR you are a UK national who has graduated from a medical school outside the UK, EEA or Switzerland
You do not have EC rights
You do not have one of the following:
a sponsorship under an arrangement approved by us
an approved postgraduate qualification
eligibility to enter the GP or specialist register
If you do not meet the above criteria, you may be eligible to apply for registration with a licence to practise without passing the PLAB test. Please see our Applications section to find the guidance that is relevant to you.
Candidates need to be aware that a pattern of multiple failed attempts at any part of the PLAB assessment will be taken into account on any application for registration in the future and could lead to our refusing such an application.
If you are eligible to apply for registration with a licence to practise by a route other than PLAB, but decide to take the PLAB test and fail, this will be taken into consideration if you later apply through an alternative route.
What are the entry requirements for the PLAB test?
Before taking the test, you must have:
• a primary medical qualification accepted for limited registration by an institution listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools
• Taken the IELTS academic modules and attained a score of at least 7.5 overall and a minimum of 7.0 for all of the four language skills.
For further information please visit the General Medical Council website.
PLAB test have 2 parts.
Part 1 of the test is a computer-marked written examination consisting of 200 single best answer (SBA) questions. It may include images, electrocardiograms (ECGs) and x-rays. The examination lasts three hours.
The Part 2 exam is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). It takes the form of 14 clinical scenarios or 'stations' as well as a rest station and one or two pilot stations.
A pilot station is one where we are checking whether the station can be used in future examinations. We will not count the mark for this station towards your result. It is important, however, that all candidates complete the station because without the information gained from this we cannot evaluate the station properly. For this reason we do not reveal which are the pilot stations.
Each station lasts five minutes. Three sets of candidates take the examination in a day. The stations do not change so it is important that we keep candidates who have just taken the exam away from those yet to do so.
The examination is held only at our purpose-built Clinical Assessment Centre in Manchester.