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Exam procedures and guidance

Contents

PLAB Examination procedures Part 1

Procedures

These are the procedures which govern the PLAB test Part 1.

Definitions

  1. 1. “The Examination” means Part 1 of the PLAB test.

Scope

  1. 2. These procedures apply to candidates taking the Examination from September 2016.

Taking the Examination

  1. 3. Before a candidate may apply to take the the Examination they must fulfil the GMC’s eligibility requirements.
  2. 4. The candidate must bring proof of their identity to the Examination.
  3. 5. If the name on the candidate's identification document is different from that on their GMC record, they must provide evidence that they are the person named in the admission email.
  4. 6. A candidate may not be permitted to take the Examination if:
    1. a. They fail to bring one of the acceptable identification documents;
      or
    2. b. The identification document provided does not bear their photograph.
  5. 7. If Examination staff are in any doubt about the identity of the candidate or the authenticity of the identification document or the authenticity of the evidence provided under Regulation 4, or the candidate is unable to produce any identification, the following process will take place:
    1. a. The Chief Invigilator will take a photograph of the candidate.
    2. b. Where the concern is about the authenticity of the evidence provided under Regulation 4, a photocopy of the document provided will also be taken and the candidate will be asked to sign and date it to verify its authenticity.
    3. c. A candidate will not be permitted to take the Examination if they fail to comply with the process at paragraphs a and b above when requested to do so by the Chief Invigilator.
  6. 8. After the Examination, and if the candidate has complied with the process set out in Regulation 7:
    1. a. The Chief Invigilator will report the matter to the GMC and send the authenticated photograph and authenticated photocopied documents.
    2. b. The GMC will carry out such further investigations as it considers appropriate.
    3. c. The GMC will notify the candidate in writing that they must produce a correct form of the identification document required by Regulation 4 and/or the correct form of evidence required by Regulation 5 (as applicable) to the GMC prior to the candidate making an application for registration.
    4. d. If the candidate fails to comply with paragraph c. above, the candidate’s attempt at the Examination will be automatically treated as invalid.

The Examination

  1. 9. The Examination shall consist of 200 questions to be answered in 3 hours.
  2. 10. The Examination shall be held under invigilated conditions and candidates shall not be permitted to take into the Examination, or refer to, any books, notes, materials or other aids, including electronic devices.
  3. 11. The candidate shall be awarded one mark for each question answered correctly. The Examination shall be graded pass or fail.
  4. 12. A candidate may have unlimited attempts at the Examination, subject to them holding an acceptable primary medical qualification and being able to satisfy the GMC’s requirements as to their evidence of proficiency in English.
  5. 13. No candidate who has previously sat and passed the Examination will be allowed to resit it unless directed to do so by the GMC or they have not passed Part 2 within three years of passing Part 1. This period will be reduced to two years from 1 September 2017.

Number of attempts

  1. 14. From 1 September 2017, a candidate may make four attempts at the Examination, provided their evidence of knowledge of English is not more than two years old at each attempt. Attempts made before 1 September 2017 will count towards this total.
  2. 15. The GMC may, at its discretion, permit one further attempt if the candidate provides acceptable evidence of further learning since their last attempt. If the candidate fails that attempt, they may make no further attempts at the Examination.
  3. 16. If a candidate feels too unwell during the Examination to continue and informs an invigilator, this will not count as an attempt. If the candidate feels unwell but nevertheless decides to continue, this will count as an attempt and these circumstances cannot be taken into account after the Examination. The Chief Invigilator will include details in his report of the Examination.

Applications for reasonable adjustments

  1. 17. Temporary personal circumstances which might affect a candidate’s performance other than those which relate to a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 will not be taken into account.
  2. 18. Any candidate who is a person with a disability and who feels that the arrangements for the Examination will cause them a disadvantage may apply to the GMC for reasonable adjustments to be made and must provide:
    1. a. The reasons why the candidate requires reasonable adjustments to be made, with supporting evidence if necessary; and
    2. b. The adjustments they wish to be made.
  3. 19. The GMC may seek advice from a relevant specialist and will reply as soon as practicable indicating what adjustments can reasonably be made.  

Candidate misconduct in an examination

  1. 20. A candidate suspected of misconduct in an examination will be subject to the misconduct procedures.

Verification of marks

  1. 21. Candidates wishing to verify any mark or marks, by means of clerical check, shall apply to the GMC. There will be a charge for a clerical check.

Adverse circumstances which affect the conduct of the examination

  1. 22. If any adverse circumstances affect the conduct of the Examination for any candidates, the Chief Invigilator will take such action as they think fit. 

Complaints

  1. 23. Any candidate who wishes to complain about any aspect of the Examination should do so to the GMC within 28 days of the date of the Examination.

Appeals

  1. 24. Any candidate who wishes to appeal their results should do so follow the Appeals regulations.

PLAB Examination procedures Part 2

Procedures

These are the procedures which govern the PLAB Test Part 2 examination (“the OSCE”).

Definitions

  1. 1. “The OSCE” means Part 2 of the PLAB Test: the Objective Structured Clinical Examination.

Scope

  1. 2. These Regulations apply to candidates taking the OSCE from September 2016.

Taking the OSCE

  1. 3. Before a candidate enters the OSCE they must have passed Part 1 of the PLAB test.
  2. 4. The candidate must bring proof of their identity to the examination. If they are unable to do so, we will take their photograph and the candidate must present evidence of their identity as soon as reasonably possible which will be compared to that photograph.
  3. 5. All candidates taking the PLAB part 2 examination should be aware that they may be filmed for quality control and training purposes.

The OSCE          

  1. 6. The OSCE shall be held under invigilated conditions and candidates shall not be permitted to take into the OSCE, or refer to, any books, notes, materials or other aids.
  2. 7. No candidate who has previously taken and passed the OSCE will be allowed to retake it, unless directed to do so or they have not applied for registration within three years of passing Part 2. From 1 September 2017, this period will be reduced to two years.

From 1 July 2017

  1. 8. The OSCE shall usually consist of 18 stations, each lasting eight minutes, with one and a half minutes between each station to read the instructions and patient information. The number of stations may vary from time to time. There will be no pilot stations.

  2. 9. Each station consists of a number of objectives. The examiners shall award grades for the objectives of each station as follows:

    A = excellent, B = good, C = adequate, D = fail, E = severe fail.

  3. 10. For purposes of calculation, the grades shall be converted to marks:

    A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, E = 0

  4. 11. Each station will contain three marking domains. The examiner will award a mark of A – E for each domain. The score for each station is calculated by adding the marks in each of the three domains. The total score for the station is then compared to the borderline score for that station. If it meets or exceeds the borderline score, a pass is recorded in the station. If the score is below the borderline score a fail is recorded in the station.

  5. 12. The total score required to pass each exam is determined by the addition of the borderline scores for each station within it, plus one standard error of measurement. Candidates must meet or exceed this score and also pass a minimum of 11 stations to achieve an overall pass in the exam.

Cause for concern

  1. 13. If any examiner considers a candidate’s behaviour gives rise to cause for concern, about the candidate’s fitness to practise which cannot be addressed by the station’s marking schedule, they will complete a Cause for concern form and report the matter to the Chief Invigilator. If the Chief Invigilator considers the matter to be sufficiently serious, they will report this to the Part 2 panel for consideration at its next meeting, with the candidate’s written observations. If the panel agrees that the behaviour of the candidate is sufficiently grave, the matter will be referred to the GMC to take what action it sees fit.

Number of attempts

Until 31 August 2017

  1. 14. A candidate may have four attempts at the OSCE, provided their pass in the Part 1 examination is within the currently permitted period. If they fail on the fourth attempt, they will be required to retake IELTS, or provide other evidence of their knowledge of the English language, which is accepted by the GMC, and Parts 1 and 2 of the PLAB test and hold an acceptable primary medical qualification.

From 1 September 2017

  1. 15. A candidate may have four attempts at the OSCE, provided their pass in the Part 1 examination is within the currently permitted period. Attempts made before 1 September 2017 will count towards this total.
  2. 16. The GMC may, at its discretion, permit one further attempt of the candidate provides acceptable evidence of further learning since their last attempt. If the candidate fails that attempt, they may make no further attempts at the OSCE.
  3. 17. If a candidate feels too unwell during the OSCE to continue and bring this to the attention of the examiners, this will not count as an attempt. If the candidate feels unwell but nevertheless decides to continue, this will count as an attempt and these circumstances cannot be taken into account after the OSCE.

Applications for reasonable adjustments

  1. 18. Temporary personal circumstances which might affect a candidate’s performance other than those which relate to a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 will not be taken into account.
  2. 19. Any candidate who is a person with a disability and who feels that the arrangements for the OSCE will cause them a disadvantage may apply to the GMC for reasonable adjustments to be made and must provide:
    1. a. The reasons why the candidate requires reasonable adjustments to be made, with supporting evidence if necessary; and
    2. b. The adjustments they wish to be made.
  3. 20. The GMC may seek advice from a relevant specialist and will reply as soon as practicable indicating what adjustments can reasonably be made.

Candidate misconduct in an OSCE examination

  1. 21. A candidate suspected of misconduct in an OSCE examination will be subject to the misconduct procedures

Verification of marks

  1. 22. Candidates wishing to verify any mark or marks, by means of clerical check, shall apply to the GMC. There will be a charge for a clerical check.

Adverse circumstances which affect the conduct of the examination

  1. 23. If any adverse circumstances affect the conduct of the Examination for any candidates, the Chief Invigilator will take such action as they think fit.

Complaints

  1. 24. Any candidate who wishes to complain about any aspect of the Examination should do so to the GMC within 28 days of the date of the Examination.

Appeals

  1. 25. Any candidate who wishes to appeal their results should follow the Appeals procedures.