How the PLAB 2 test has changed during coronavirus COVID 19

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed how we run the PLAB 2 exam.

Please read this guide carefully before you attend the examination. 

Guidance for candidates

Travel to our Clinical Assessment Centre

Public transport in and around the city may be operating on reduced timetables. Please refer to the Transport for Greater Manchester website for more information. Please plan your journey ahead of the exam to make sure you arrive on time.

Arriving at the Clinical Assessment Centre

To avoid large numbers of people arriving at our centres at the same time, we’re allocating specific arrival slots. You’ll receive an email with your time one week before your test.

Please make sure you arrive at the correct venue at your allocated time. If you arrive early, you may be asked to leave the building until your arrival time. You'll be asked to confirm your name at the ground floor reception before being directed to the GMC's reception by lift.

Please wear a face mask inside the building at all times. You will temporarily remove your mask for your ID check photograph, but must then keep your mask on at all times, even during the examination.

Personal belongings 

You’ll be allocated a small locker only so please only bring essential items with you. Once you’ve locked your belongings away you will not be able to revisit your locker until your exam has finished. 


We won’t be holding our usual candidate briefings. Watch our video on what to expect on the day. Please keep in mind that parts of this video were filmed at our 3 Hardman Square venue, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, and there may be some differences to the exam centre and timings to comply with the Government’s advice on social distancing.

Duration of the day

The test will last approximately 3 hours, however, you should plan to be at the centre for longer than this.

Our temporary centre at 3 Hardman Street has been designed with social distancing in mind. Due to this, the testing circuit is slightly larger than at our other venue, and it can take longer to travel between stations.

For this reason, candidates taking their test at 3 Hardman Street will have an additional 15 seconds travelling time between stations, as well as the normal 90 seconds allocated for reading time.

The timings at 3 Hardman Square will remain the same, and the length of each station has not changed.

The examination

When we restarted our PLAB 2 examinations in August 2020, we reduced the number of stations in the test from 18 to 15. We also increased the number of rest stations to 3.

Since December 2020, we have now increased the number of stations to 16, with two rest stations. This means that candidates will need to pass 10 stations as well as meeting or exceeding the pass mark for the day.

It is also a requirement that all attending the PLAB 2 examination must wear a surgical style, three-layer face mask throughout the test.


When you arrive at a rest station, you should enter the room straight away. If you need to use the toilet, please let the marshal know after the reading time for other candidates.

Social distancing 

We’ve installed floor markings and signage around the centre to remind everyone of the social distancing measures in place. Please adhere to this guidance at all times. You must use the hand sanitiser before entering each station.

The health and safety of everyone involved is our priority. Anyone who does not comply with these rules may be asked to leave.

You can also read our risk assessment: PLAB – Running exams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What's stayed the same?

There will be no changes to the length of each station, the standard of the test or the way you’ll get your results.