Top tips for PLAB 2 exam
PLAB 2 exam is an OCSE type exam which consists of 18 stations each lasting 8 minutes. The stations usually cover all medical specialties and they involve consulting with actors (not real patients). In some stations there may also be a consultation with a talking mannequin and where there is need to have an intimate examination (breast, prostate or genital), that will be with a normal mannequin. In between the stations, there is usually a one and half minute break to read the task for the next station. Details of the exam itself can be found on the GMC website.
The main key to success in this exam is first and foremost ensuring that you understand the setting of the exam and the domains which you are being marked against, which are your data gathering, technical and assessment skills, clinical management and interpersonal skills. In this exam, you will have the opportunity to showcase your communication skills in addition to the clinical skills which you already demonstrated in PLAB 1.
The next recommendation is to ensure that you are very well prepared. This needs a lot of practice. Although, if you have looked at the GMC website, it states that you do not need to attend any courses in order to prepare but most people who have taken this exam will tell you otherwise. This is simply because things are done differently in different places. And I’m sure if some of the GMC examiners needed to take a similar exam in your country, where they are unfamiliar with guidelines and culture, they will need to take courses. So it is advisable to find yourself a good PLAB 2 preparation course and practice extensively with other candidates.
It is also important to ensure you give yourself sufficient time, so you do not have to rush things. Everyone is different and you may find that you require more or less time to prepare than some other candidates. Work at your own pace and within the limit of your resources.
Having done adequate preparations, there are a few things to bear in mind, so you do not make some of the mistakes we medical expats make.
One common mistake is that of using clichés which often sound very unnatural. It is important for you to be yourself and communicate as you would naturally, as long as you have developed your communication skills in the course of your career and during your preparations.
Also on the day, where in your view, one station goes wrong, try not to panic so you’ll be able to focus on the next station. Remember that each station is a new one, with a new patient and a new examiner, so attempt every station as though that’s the only one (as much as you can)
Finally, having given your efforts to adequate preparation, go to the exam well rested and with confidence that you are able to come out successful at the end of the day because you are in fact more likely to pass than not.