This is the first article in Naseer’s Journey Series.

You can find all the articles in this series here –

  1. First article,
  2. Second article,
  3. Third article,
  4. Fourth article,
  5. Fifth article,
  6. Sixth article,
  7. Seventh article.

 

Part 1

My PLAB 1 Experience

Advice for PLAB 1

A lot of people seem to be asking questions about prep for PLAB. I’m no authority on the subject. A lot of others can guide you here on the forum better than I can. But I’ll share what I can.

 

The main aim should be to practice as many questions as you can and to familiarize yourself with as many questions and as many scenarios as you can. Around 100-150 questions are repeated in the exam and there are around 50-100 new questions in the exam.

 

I know about the following three sources of questions and I covered all of them:

  1. Swamy’s 1700 – random questions arranged from Swamy’s past mocks by a senior PLABer on this forum.
  2. Samson’s 7 mocks from June 2013 (1400 questions)
  3. Samson’s online Q bank – questions are arranged according to units (2782 questions)

 

Image - Dr. Naseer Khan
Dr. Naseer Khan

The first two sources are available for free and you can find them here on this forum. However, you’ll have to buy Samson’s questions from their official website (price varies between 15-30 pounds depending on how far the exam is). These three sources cover nearly 6000 questions and they are more than enough to pass PLAB 1.

 

If you start practicing questions without reading any theory, you might not be able to understand answers to all the questions. So it might be better to start your prep with Samson’s notes. These notes are exam-oriented, unlike OHCM and OHCS. Read each unit’s notes and then go through Samson’s questions for that unit from the online Q bank. After reading the notes, you’ll find it easier to answer questions. Samson’s Q bank has answers with explanations for most of the questions. So it’s helpful. Do not waste your time in studying OHCM and OHCS. Check OHCM and OHCS only for reference, no need to read them cover to cover. Also, check patient.co.uk for reference, this should be your first source of information whenever there is any doubt about any answer.

 

I wasted a couple of months on reading Oxford. When I started solving the questions, I realized that reading Oxford was a waste of time. It did not help me in solving questions. I did not have time to go through the notes, so I just went through these 6000 questions twice or thrice. That helped me a lot. Since I had gone through a lot of questions, I was familiar with most of the questions that I saw today in the exam. Most of them had the exact same scenario and the exact same options. I did not take more than 15-20 seconds on these questions. So I would advise all of you to go through as many questions as you can.

 

How long will it take to prepare for PLAB? That depends on you. I took 8 months. Most people take 6 to 12 weeks.

 

There’s another source of questions at passmedicine.com. But the questions there are too hard. Questions in PLAB are usually a lot easier so I would not recommend passmedicine to anyone for PLAB. Some people also subscribed to onexamination’s questions. I don’t know anything about those though.

 

I know people that have passed PLAB 1 just by doing 1700 Swamy questions and questions on Facebook. I also know people that passed just by doing Samson’s 7 mocks.

Image - London

That 1700 file is very important. A lot of questions were repeated from there today. But that 1700 file alone is not everything. I’ll say it again, do as many questions as you can. You guys should try to solve questions (after reading notes if possible) and when you get stuck at a question, read about it from Oxford or patient.co.uk or post it on Facebook and someone else will guide you about it. This is a really nice group and people are very helpful. Keep it nice like this, keep sharing knowledge and keep helping each other.

 

If you still have any questions, you can post them here and if I miss your post here, you can always inbox me on Facebook.

Best of luck!

Naseer Khan.

23rd Dec 2014

 

My PLAB 1 Experience

I realize now that my post has more advice and less of my experience. So I will try to share my experience of PLAB 1 preparation:

 

Real Prep was for 4 Months:

As you can see from My Timeline for PLAB 1 Preparation, I spread my PLAB 1 preparation over 10 months, which made the journey VERY easy for me. Even after wasting the first three months on irrelevant study material and the spending the next two months on IELTS, I still had enough time for PLAB 1 preparation.

 

Studied at Work:

I completed most of my PLAB 1 preparation at the hospital, during my internship. I had downloaded all the questions and the notes on my phone. So it was easy to access them.

 

Studied On The Go:

I used to set a daily target of 100 -200 questions. And this is how I went about them:

  • 2-5 questions before getting fresh in the morning.
  • 2-5 questions after getting fresh in the morning.
  • 2-5 questions during breakfast.
  • 2-5 questions before leaving home.
  • 10-20 questions on my way to work.
  • 2-5 questions at work before the consultants reached.
  • 2-5 questions at every opportunity at work.
  • 50-100 questions during the break.
  • 50-100 questions during seminars/lectures/teaching sessions.

So on most days, I had completed 100-200 questions by the time that I would get back home from work. If for any reason, I could not complete my target at work, I would spend an hour or half at home and complete my target easily.

 

Did Not Study Hard:

So I never studied past 8 PM for my PLAB 1. On most days, I did not study after 5 PM. I watched hours and hours of TV shows every single day. I studied in a very relaxed and tension-free mode. The secret to keeping my life easy was to start my preparation early during the year and early every day as well.

 

Average Student:

I was one of those students who failed more than half of my class tests at school. I never passed any mock exam in medical school. Not because I was poor at studying. I just did not feel like studying all the time. I always studied after my mocks and I always passed my finals by a small (but comfortable) margin.

 

Final Month:

A month before the exam, I was tired and bored of studying, since I was well aware of all the questions by now. So I stopped studying. But I did keep my eyes and ears open. Since a few of my friends were also studying for PLAB 1, I used to listen to their discussions. But I stopped studying myself.

Image showing sunset at London

Final Week:

A week before the exam, I took a leave’s absence from work. I was keen on making the most of this time and study hard. But I ended up watching 3 movies every day during this week. I did study on the final day for an hour. But I realized that I was well prepared, so I did not make any more effort.

 

Sources Used:

  1. Swamy’s 1700 – random questions arranged from Swamy’s past mocks by a senior PLABber on this forum.
  2. Samson’s 7 mocks from June 2013 (1400 questions)
  3. Samson’s online Q bank – questions are arranged according to units (2782 questions)

So in total, I went through nearly 6,000 questions. I went through most of them thrice.

  1. I did go through Samson’s notes as well, but very superficially. I did not try to memorize them.

 

The Exam:

It was the easiest exam of my life. It had 100-150 questions from 1700 and the 7 mocks. It was difficult to fail the exam, to be honest. I knew after the exam that I had passed.

 

Conclusion:

The exam was very easy for me because I started my preparation very early and I went through nearly 6,000 questions twice or thrice.

 

Image - Dr Naseer Khan
Dr Naseer Khan

Acknowledgements

This article was originally published on 23rd December 2014 on PLAB Facebook Group. It was later edited and republished on the author’s blog – Naseer’s Journey (last updated on his blog 24th March, 2017, by the author before publishing here). We republished it here after editing with the permission from the author.

Here is the link to the article on Naseer’s Journey.

 

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