PLAB test

Your guide to the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test

The PLAB test helps the General Medical Council to ensure doctors who qualified abroad have the right knowledge and skills to practise medicine in the UK. 

Do I need to take the PLAB test?

You will probably need to take the PLAB test if you graduated from a medical school outside of the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. There are some exceptions, which can be found on the GMC website

The PLAB test will check that you have the knowledge and are able to do the same as a doctor starting the second year of their Foundation Programme training in the UK (FY2). 

What does the PLAB test involve?

PLAB test is split into two parts:

  • Part 1 - This is a written, multiple choice exam with 180 single best answer questions
  • Part 2 - This is a practical objective structured clinical exam, known as OSCE

You will have to pass both parts before you can apply for GMC registration. 

What will you need before taking the PLAB?

Before you can book the PLAB test, you'll need to set up a GMC Online account and show that your medical qualification and knowledge of English are acceptable. Once those are approved and your account is authorised, you will be able to book a place on Part 1 of the PLAB test. 

PLAB Part 1

This is a written multiple choice exam with 180 questions, which you must answer within three hours. Each question starts with a short scenario and is followed by a question, which you need to choose the right answer to out of the five possible answers given. You can sit Part 1 in a number of countries, as well as in the UK. The list of countries can be found on the GMC website

PLAB Part 2

This is a practical objective structured clinical exam, which is made up of 18 scenarios. The scenarios each last eight minutes and aim to reflect real life settings including a mock consultation or an acute ward. Part 2 tests only run in our Clinical Assessment Centre in Manchester. To find out the dates, please go to the GMC website

Passed your PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 tests?

You can now officially apply for registration with a licence to practise in the UK. Please note that your application must be approved within two years of passing Part 2 of the test. 

What you need to know about the PLAB test