Image - ProfileMy name is Seun, I’m a Nigerian and a Medical Doctor. I completed my primary medical training in my country-of-origin about 2 years ago and spent a year doing my internship in the same country. For me, working in the UK was the next step because my husband lives and works in the UK as a GP. So, during my internship programme, I applied for my IELTS (this is an exam which tests competency in the English language and is a requirement for applying for the PLAB exam, although there are groups of people who are exempted from this requirement; check the GMC website).  



In my country, there are different versions of the IELTS. For doctors, there’s the Academic version which is needed for the PLAB, there’s the one for Visa application only and then one which is combined for Academic and Visa Immigration purposes. There are 4 parts of this exam: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. You have to score a minimum of 7 in each of the different parts but an average of 7.5 to pass.  More information can be found on the GMC website. I wrote just the academic version because I already had a spousal visa.  


Once you get the desired score for the IELTS, you can apply for the PLAB 1 exam. This exam can be written outside the UK at particular official centers. There aren’t a lot of dates available in a year, maybe just 2-3 dates depending on the country and the demand for it. This exam is a written exam (200 single best answer questions in 2 hours) and so it’s all about knowledge and speed. There are various materials available to help with preparation, Academies as well as online question banks which you pay for (Plabable, Passmedicine etc.). I didn’t attend any academy for this exam but I had a lot of study partners and I used some online question banks.  


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Once this exam has been passed, you can then apply for the PLAB 2 exams. This can only be done in the UK and here your IELTS for visa application comes in handy if you don’t already have a visa. The exam is a Clinical one. Knowledge, Communication, Language, Practical Skills etc. are needed for this exam. There are various academies that help with preparation for this exam. I attended Samson PLAB academy (which helps with both PLAB 1 and 2 exams).  


I joined different online groups as well (Facebook, WhatsApp) for both the PLAB 1 and 2 which helped a great deal because we were a lot of people sharing different helpful information.  



I just passed my PLAB 2 exams and I’m in the process of getting registered.   


I believe, the first thing is for you to be sure you want to work in the UK. It doesn’t have to be permanent, it could be a form of transit before qualifying in another country for training.  


You also need to have the required funds to pay for the process. You pay for each of the exams; you pay for visas; you pay for accommodation, feeding, transportation, miscellaneous etc. when preparing for the PLAB 2; you pay for the application to get registered to practice as well.  


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Information is very important, read about the process on the GMC website. Don’t just take what anyone tells you. Read about it yourself, it’s available to all.  


I hope this piece has been helpful to any doctor considering practicing in the UK. I wish you all the best. Thank you.



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