PLAB Part 1 Examination – Testing Application of Medical Knowledge
The Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board examination is one of the stepping stones to becoming a fully recognized healthcare practitioner in the UK. It is comprised of two parts: PLAB Part 1 and PLAB Part 2. Here is a comprehensive overview of what you need to know about PLAB Part 1.
The Essence of PLAB Part 1
PLAB Part 1 tests a candidate’s ability to apply his/her medical knowledge to the care of patients. The test is designed for candidates entering the second year of their Foundation Program training. It covers a wide range of conditions including common, important, and acute diseases, as well as one’s ability to test long-term conditions. The conditions covered in the test range from those common in primary care to those common in emergency departments. However, it does not cover advanced conditions and duties relating to general practitioners.
PLAB Part 1 is based on the UK’s medical practices. All the questions are related to the UK’s current best practices, and it demands candidates to be up-to-date with developments in medicine. It also tests a candidate’s knowledge of how to operate medical equipment that are commonly found in UK hospitals.
PLAB Part 1 may sound practical, but it is a written test comprised of 200 questions; a candidate’s practical skills are tested in PLAB Part 2.
What to Expect
PLAB Part 1 is described as a ‘one from five’ or ‘best of five’ written examination. This is because all the 200 questions are single best answer questions each with a choice of five possible answers. The answers are labeled A to E, and candidates are required to choose only one of the five answers. This, however, does not mean that only one of the answers is correct; there may be several correct answers to each question, but candidates are required to choose the best possible answer.
All the questions share a single format designed to make it possible to test the candidate’s ability to apply medical knowledge. Each question describes a short scenario involving a patient showing certain symptoms. It then proceeds to ask the candidate what would be the most likely scenario.
Instructions on how to complete the examination are provided in a double-sided answer sheet. A typical PLAB Part 1 examination answer sheet is shown below.
Scope and Content
PLAB Part 1 examination evolves in tune with the UK’s medical sector, and the scope and content of each test are covered in the PLAB Blueprint. To this end, candidates use the blueprint as a guide to refine the scope of their studies. The blueprint also familiarizes candidates with the four domains covered by Good Medical Practice, the industry’s core guidance. There also are plenty of PLAB Part 1 study resources online.
Employers also find the blueprint useful in determining what to expect from their employees. They also use it to design their pre-employment checks as they are responsible for the support and local induction that newly licensed and registered PLAB doctors receive upon appointment to an organization.