General Medical Council
Regulating doctors, ensuring good medical practice
You can take Part 1 in the UK and a number of countries worldwide.
The countries outside the UK where the PLAB Part 1 test is held are listed below along with the contact points for each.
+91 22 6748 6748
There are currently four sittings a year in the UK and two a year overseas. Please remember that the number of places available is not linked to the number of jobs available in the UK. Training posts are difficult to obtain and you should think carefully about whether you are willing to take the risks involved in competing for posts before booking your place.
You must apply online.
If you have applied to take a PLAB test before, you will already have a GMC reference number.
If you already have an online account, you can log in here and make your application in the My PLAB section.
Log in to GMC Online (opens in a new window).
Activate your account (opens in a new window).
If you do not have a GMC reference number, please click on the link below and follow the simple instructions to set up your account.
When you set up your online account you will choose a password, and we will tell you your GMC reference number.
If we already have your details, you will not be able to set up a new account. If you attempt to do so, your account will be locked.
Set up an online account (opens in a new window).
Once you have set up your account, to complete your booking online you must log in to your GMC reference number and your password.
You must then go into the My PLAB section and enter your IELTS scores.
If your IELTS scores are acceptable and you sat the test not more than two years before the date of the PLAB Part 1 exam you wish to book, you will then be allowed to choose a test place and date.
To complete your booking you will need to proceed to the payment section and enter the details of your valid credit or debit card (VISA, MasterCard, VISA Delta or Maestro).
Once you have entered all the information required and paid your fee, you will receive an immediate confirmation of your booking.
Part 1 places are listed in GMC Online which will show you the availability of places when you begin to book. Places occasionally become available in previously full examinations when someone cancels a place. This is clearly shown and you may want to check the My PLAB section of GMC Online regularly in case a place becomes available in an earlier examination. When you have chosen a date and are ready to book you should continue to pay and a place will be allocated to you.
You should contact us and we will send an application form to you.
The current fee is listed on our fees pages (opens in a new window).
If you are a refugee doctor living in the UK, the fee will be waived for your first two attempts. See Refugee doctors living in the UK.
If you have a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010, we may be able to make reasonable adjustments to the examination. We will not make adjustments to the standard of the examination but may be able to make adjustments to the arrangements if you have dyslexia, or a visual or motor impairment for example. If you would like us to consider making reasonable adjustments, please let us know as soon as possible. If you delay in telling us we may not be able to make the reasonable adjustments in time for the date of your examination. Please contact us (opens in a new window). Any disabilities and reasonable adjustments made must be declared when you apply for registration.
Click here to see examples of reasonable adjustments we have made.
If you are taken ill during an examination and choose not to continue, we will allocate you a place in the next available exam at no cost if you wish to do so. If you prefer, we will make a full refund of your exam fee. This will not count as an attempt at the exam.
You can cancel your place online via GMC Online. You will automatically be charged the relevant cancellation fee. The remainder of your fee will be credited to the credit or debit card you used when booking your place. We cannot make a refund to a different card. If you did not pay by credit or debit card, a cheque will be sent to your address.
If you cannot cancel using the online system, you can download a cancellation form (pdf).
If you want to change the date of your examination you must first cancel your place, pay the cancellation fee and book again. You may not cancel your place once you have attempted the examination. These are the cancellation fees:
If you cannot attend the examination because of serious illness or another overwhelming problem, you must provide the following evidence:
Please send copies, not original documents. Please send scanned copies to email@example.com with a covering email explaining the circumstances of your cancellation. Alternatively, you can send copies of the documents with a covering letter by post, addressed to Registration Support Team (CAC) at our Manchester address.
Part 1 of the test is a computer-marked written examination consisting of single best answer (SBA) questions. The paper contains 200 questions and may include images, electrocardiograms (ECGs) and x-rays. The examination lasts three hours.
The PLAB test is designed to test your ability to practise medicine safely in a UK hospital. It is set at the level expected at the end of Foundation Year 1 (F1). You can find out more about the UK Foundation Programme here. This means that in the Part 1 examination you must show that you are capable of applying knowledge to the care of patients at the level expected of a doctor who has had one year of clinical experience following graduation.
The PLAB test is designed to test the knowledge and skills relating to conditions commonly seen by trainees entering the second year of the Foundation Programme, the management of life-threatening situations and rarer, but important, medical problems. This means that UK-trained doctors and international medical graduates (IMGs) are expected to have the same level of knowledge and skills at this stage of their career.
The PLAB blueprint (.mht) sets out the scope and content of the test in terms of the topics, skills and procedures that a doctor who passes the test would need to know and be able to do. You should also read our overarching statement which explains how the blueprint is constructed and how to use it, as well as some important information about the qualities expected of doctors attempting the PLAB test.
If you have difficulty viewing the PLAB blueprint, see the help with the PLAB blueprint page. If you have Microsoft Excel 2003 or later, you can view a more functional version of the blueprint in .xls format.
We use a sampling grid (pdf) to ensure consistency of content in all examinations.
You will not be expected to be familiar with NHS procedures or British culture other than in the way it might affect how you treat patients. You should be familiar with the GMC publication Good medical practice and the supporting guidance as you will be expected to answer questions in line with the advice they give.
You should also be familiar with our 'Valuing Diversity' guidance for doctors. This provides an overview of equality legislation in the UK and has been designed to help doctors with issues around diversity and equal opportunities, and how these relate to Good medical practice.
The skill areas we test are set out on the top two rows of the sampling grid. These are:
The topics we test are set out on the left hand column of the sampling grid and are largely defined by the symptoms with which the patient presents. These are:
These presentations are common or important in the UK. Some of these are described in more detail on the PLAB blueprint, where you can also find examples of the underlying conditions.
The examination is testing your ability to apply knowledge to the care of patients rather than how well you can remember and recite facts.
All the questions relate to current best practice, and you should answer them in relation to published evidence and not according to your local arrangements.
Names of drugs are those contained in the most recent edition of the British National Formulary (BNF).
Remember that you are being tested at the level of a doctor who has qualified and completed one year of clinical practice.
Please use the GMC's own website. We update it regularly and it is a reliable source of information. It is most important that you are familiar with the PLAB blueprint and overarching statement, and we strongly recommend that you study with care Good medical practice and the supporting guidance.
We cannot recommend specific textbooks and handbooks, but suggest you consult those that are internationally recognised. Journals can also be a useful way of keeping up-to-date.
We do not authorise or endorse any books specifically about passing the PLAB test.
We are unable to monitor the quality of courses and, therefore, do not endorse any. If you decide a course would be a useful preparation, we recommend that you research its quality before you enrol.
You should be aware of the range of equipment routinely available in UK hospitals.
You will have one double-sided answer sheet on the day. Instructions on how to complete the answer sheet are at the top of each sheet. You must complete the information required at the top of the sheet. The sheet looks like this:
We recommend that you consider the scenario and decide what you think the answer is to the question given at the end, which typically reads ‘What is the SINGLE most likely diagnosis?' You should then look for that answer in the list of options below (each of which is identified by a letter of the alphabet). If you cannot find the answer you have thought of, you should look for the option which, in your opinion, is the best answer to the problem posed.
For each question, you must choose ONE, and only one, of the options. You may feel that there are several possible answers, but you must choose the best one from the option list. If you enter more than one answer on the answer sheet you will gain no mark for the question even though you may have given the right answer along with one or more wrong ones.
You will be awarded one mark for each correct answer. Marks are not deducted for incorrect answers nor for failure to answer. The total score on the paper is the number of correct answers given. You should, therefore, attempt all items.
You must be sure you are not prevented from attending the examination by events you could have foreseen, such as transport problems. If you have to cancel a place you have already booked, you will have to pay a cancellation fee.
If you are taking the examination in the UK and need accommodation, one source of information is the British Tourist Authority website. Please do not contact the venues where the examination is taking place, as they will not be able to help.
The invigilator's instructions will take between 20 and 30 minutes and the examination will take place immediately afterwards. The examination will last three hours and collecting the examination materials will take a further 30 minutes. You must, therefore, expect to be at the examination centre for at least four hours.
When your place is confirmed you will be told what time to arrive at the examination centre. It is important to arrive on time because if you arrive more than half an hour late, you will not be allowed to enter the examination hall. You will not be allowed to leave the hall in the first or last half hour of the examination. You must remain in your seat until the chief invigilator says you can leave.
We will check your identity at the examination. The following are the only forms of identification we will accept. Whichever you choose, it must be original, current and bear your photograph.
If the name on your identification document is different from that on the confirmation from the GMC or British Council offering you a place in the examination, you must provide original evidence that you are the person named in that letter. We will accept
If examination staff are in any doubt about your identity or the authenticity of your documents, the chief invigilator will take a photograph of you and ask you for a signature. If you refuse to do this, you will not be allowed to take the examination. An investigation will take place. If it is decided that the person who sat the examination is not the person who is entitled to do so, the attempt will be invalid and the matter will be reported to the Registrar of the GMC.
If you do not bring one of the documents listed above, or if the document does not bear your photograph, you will be required to bring the correct form of identification document or evidence of change of name to the GMC, or the examinations manager at the British Council where you took the examination. If it is decided that the person who sat the examination is not the person who is entitled to do so, the attempt will be invalid and the matter will be reported to the Registrar of the GMC.
You must not use or refer to any other materials or try to communicate with other candidates during the examination. You must not take the examination paper or any part of it out of the hall and you must not write down details of questions to take out of the examination hall.
If you do any of these things you will be reported to the Professional and Linguistic Assessments (PLA) Board. If you are found to have given or received help your examination attempt may be declared invalid and your name reported to the Registrar of the GMC. Please refer to the Examination Regulations for further information.
The examination will be computer marked.
The pass mark for each examination is set using the Angoff method, in which a panel of trained and experienced clinicians decide what percentage of minimally competent doctors at the appropriate stage of training would answer each question correctly. The Angoff method of standard setting is internationally recognised and it ensures that examinations are of a consistent standard over time.
The results will normally appear in the My PLAB section of GMC Online about four weeks after you take the examination and you will need your GMC number, GMC Online log in details to access them. An email will be sent to you on the next day. You will be told your final score, the average mark achieved by all candidates at your examination and the pass mark. You will not get a detailed breakdown of your results. To ensure your results remain confidential we will not give them out by telephone, fax or at our reception.
If you want your final mark to be checked you must request this in writing. Please note that a clerical check does not mean your examination will be remarked; it is a check to ensure that your marks have been transcribed correctly. If you would like us to undertake a clerical check, contact the PLAB Test Section of the GMC, 350 Euston Road, London NW1 3JN within 28 days of the results being posted. You must enclose a cheque or postal order for £40 made out to the General Medical Council, pay in person by cash, or call us to pay by credit or debit card and we will respond within 10 working days of receiving your request.
If you want to complain about the examination you should send us a detailed written report. You can send this by email to our complaints section or by post addressed to the GMC, Complaints and Correspondence, 3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AW within 28 days of the date of the examination. Give your name, address, telephone number, email address and GMC reference number. We will investigate and aim to respond within 10 working days.
If you pass you can immediately apply online to take Part 2 of the test. If you fail, you can book another Part 1 place provided you still meet all the requirements. You may not apply for Part 2 or re-apply for Part 1 before the results have been issued.
You must pass Part 2 of the test within three years of the date you passed Part 1.
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