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Shayan Qadir's PLAB 1 Experience

Discussion in 'PLAB Forum' started by Shayan Qadir, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. Shayan Qadir

    Shayan Qadir New Member

    Aug 30, 2017
    Likes Received:
    The PLAB 1 is essentially a very basic examination. Regardless of one’s clinical knowledge, it is one of the easiest examinations to pass, given a little hard work is put in. Following is a narrative of my own experience.

    I had one month in hand in which I mainly focused on the 1700 Mcqs (a set of recalls which you can find on the PLAB Facebook page) and went into detail of their answers using Google, YouTube videos, Wikipedia and sometimes books like Oxford Handbook of Medicine.

    The major thing I learnt in this exam is that it is a test of your time management more than a test of your medical knowledge.” When I was taking mock tests (which are again a set of recalls posted on the PLAB Facebook page), I was able to complete them like half an hour before the set time but during the real exam the stems are slightly more lengthier. Moreover, shading the options on the answer sheet takes away about 5-10 seconds on every question.

    I had the sad experience of witnessing a lot of close colleagues depressed after taking their test because they left out around 20 to 30 questions due to poor time management. Losing track of time on the test makes you panic and become flabbergasted. The fear of being left behind on time also adds to making silly mistakes and getting the easier questions wrong as well. I should mention here that I having taken and passed the USMLE step 1, it was not really hard to skim through the questions as USMLE step 1 questions have comparatively longer stems. I often see people reading the Oxford Handbook of Medicine from cover to cover which makes no sense to me once you have limited time on your hand. The PLAB 1, is what I would like to say, somehow a copy-paste of the 1700 MCQs and the mocks. Although the questions on the real test are not entirely phrased like on the 1700 MCQs, they are very much testing the same concepts. The key word or phrase you are looking for in the MCQ stem is always there. Reading a whole book like the Oxford Handbook, is just wasting time if you plan to take it within a 15 days to one month preparation. However, I did open it up once or twice for some controversial protocols like “using steroids for SVC obstruction before stenting etc".

    There is a lot of material on the Facebook PLAB page which might confuse you which one to pick and which one to leave. I will make this easier for you by chalking a summary of what I exactly did.


    - I prepared for the test in a period of one month. However, anyone can do it in 15 days of more focused preparation.
    - Used the 1700 MCQs as my base. I did not leave out a single question. I went into detail of those questions which had controversial answers in the given key.
    - Gave a quick read to Samson notes. It is very doable and you don't need to cram them. Just focus on important protocols for example prescribing contraception to women or protocol for managing diabetic ketoacidosis etc.
    - I took four mock tests in timed mode and set the time 2:30 hours for my own practice keeping in mind the actual test takes more time.
    - I also gave a read to clinchers ( a set of key words and phrases used in the questions, all piled up conveniently which you can find on the PLAB Facebook page) in the last week.

    I would like to advise candidates to start the test very confidently, keeping in mind that time management is what decides everything. Usually you will know the answer by the end of reading the stem and options. If you don’t, just guess it and move forward. Mark questions that you think you might know the answer to and you are stuck in between two or three options. Never leave too many questions for the end as you never have time in hand.
    The test is very straight forward and there are at the most a handful of questions in which the stems might sound tricky or distracting. Just swift through the questions and mark your first guess as it is usually the correct one. Work hard and stay confident. Discuss controversial questions on social groups like Facebook or Whatsapp. Remember that you have made it uptil here through medical school and IELTS and this is just another small barrier in the way to success. Good luck and thanks for reading. Share this if you found this useful.

    Dr. Shayan Qadir

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