A guide to the PLAB exam - Eligibility, Syllabus, Exam Centres, Cost

A guide to the PLAB exam - Eligibility, Syllabus, Exam Centres, Cost

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By Prabhadri Suman|Updated On - 2023-12-09 07:29:54

The PLAB Exam for the UK is the gateway to medical school. Here is a quick guide to PLAB exam requirements, centers, countries, test pattern, cost, and total number of attempts.

A guide to the PLAB exam - Eligibility, Syllabus, Exam Centres, Cost

Topics Covered:

  • What does the PLAB exam cover?
  • PLAB Exam Requirements
  • PLAB Examination Important Dates and Deadlines
  • PLAB Exam Centres in India
  • PLAB Exam Countries
  • PLAB Examination Pattern
  • PLAB Exam Application Process
  • PLAB Exam Syllabus
  • PLAB Examination Cost
  • PLAB Exam Result
  • Number of Attempts in PLAB Exam
  • PLAB Exam After MBBS
  • What Next After Passing the PLAB Exam?
  • Conclusion

The full form of PLAB is the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board exam is a challenging test of your readiness to practice medicine in the United Kingdom. In order to successfully complete the examination, you will need to display your expertise in various areas including English grammar, reading comprehension, writing skills, and medical terminology. In addition, you’ll need to show that you have the necessary knowledge and skills for safe and effective care of patients. 


This article will briefly overview the  PLAB exam 2024, its structure and difficulty level. If you are an international medical student or thinking about becoming one, read on to understand what it takes to pass the  PLAB exam .


What does the PLAB exam cover?

The assessment encompasses the administration of chronic ailments seen in primary care environments, along with the frequent, critical, or pressing issues (often encountered in emergency departments) that trainees come across in the second year of the Foundation Program (F2). It does not involve a general practitioner's more demanding duties (GP). The validity of PLAB scores is 3 years for PLAB 1 and 2 years for PLAB 2.

PLAB Exam Requirements

Check out the  PLAB Exam   eligibility  requirements

  • Medical graduates must possess a degree accepted for limited registration by a university featured in the World Health Organization Directory of Medical Schools. 
  • Furthermore, they must have undertaken the  IELTS  , garnering a minimum score of 7 and 7.0 for each language module. 
  • In addition, the applicants must have finished at least a year of postgraduate clinical practice at a teaching hospital.


PLAB Examination Important Dates and Deadlines

Check out the  PLAB exam dates 2024 along with their deadlines:

PLAB 1 Exam Date Last Date of Closing (Overseas) Last Date of Closing (UK)
15th February 2024 4th January 2024 1st February 2024
23rd May 2024 11th April 2024 9th May 2024
8th August 2024 27th June 2024 25 July 2024
7th November 2024 26th September 2024 24 October 2024

PLAB Exam Centres in India

The British Council arranges the exams held overseas. After making an online booking, please contact the appropriate British Council office only if you haven't received the centre details at least one week before the  PLAB examination .

Check out the PLAB exam centres in India:

Country City Contact details
India Bangalore

[email protected]

+91 044 42050600

India Chennai

[email protected]

+91 044 42050600

India Hyderabad

[email protected]

+91 044 42050600

India Kolkata

[email protected]

+91 33 282 5370

India Mumbai

[email protected]

+91 22 6748 6748

India New Delhi

[email protected]

+91 11 4219 9000

PLAB Exam Countries 

Several countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Qatar, and Sri Lanka, acknowledge the validity of the PLAB exam. Apart from the United Kingdom, the exam is also recognized in Canada, Dubai, Scotland, and Saudi Arabia. The procedure for practicing medicine abroad after completing the PLAB exam differs from country to country, and additional prerequisites may be necessary. It is advisable for candidates to thoroughly investigate and comprehend the specific criteria for obtaining a medical license in their chosen country.

Check which countries conducted the PLAB examination:

Country City Contact details
Australia Sydney [email protected]
Canada Toronto [email protected]
Bangladesh Dhaka

[email protected]

+880 (02) 861 8905

Ghana Accra

[email protected]

+233 (0)30 2610090

Egypt Alexandria

[email protected]

+20 (0) 2 19789

Egypt Cairo

[email protected]

+20 2 3001666 +20 (0) 2 19789

Kenya Nairobi

[email protected]

+254 (0)20 2836000 / +254 732 11700

Nigeria Abuja

[email protected]

+234 (0)709 8121 548

Nigeria Enugu

[email protected]

+234 (0)42 290 962

Nigeria Lagos

[email protected]

+234 1 2692188 / 2692189 / 2692190 / 2692191 / 2692192

Pakistan Islamabad

[email protected]

+92 51 111 424 424

Pakistan Karachi

[email protected]

+92 51 111 424 424

Saudi Arabia Riyadh

[email protected]

+96 612 657 6200

Republic of Ireland Dublin

[email protected]

00044(0)7909 097 835 

South Africa Johannesburg

[email protected]

+27 11 560 9300

Sri Lanka Colombo

[email protected]

+94 4521 500

Spain Madrid [email protected]
UAE Dubai

[email protected]

+971 4 3135556


PLAB Examination Pattern

The PLAB test consists of 2 parts:

  1. PLAB 1 is a multiple-choice quiz consisting of 180 queries that must be answered within three hours.
  2. PLAB 2 contains an OSCE with 18 clinical stations. Each station is 18 minutes long, including 2 minutes for reading the instructions. The purpose of this examination is to evaluate the competencies and expertise of a physician at the initial stage of the F2 level in the Foundation Program.

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PLAB Exam Application Process   


A PLAB test can be taken through the GMA website. After the individual signs up for the test, they will get a notification email from the GMC website that confirms their enrollment. The message will also contain their information, location, the exam venue, and the commencement time. PLAB 1 exam is conducted in many places in India twice a year, on the 15th of March and 15th of November. The due date for the exam is usually 8 weeks before the registration.

Candidates may take PLAB 1 as many times as they would like, however, PLAB 2 is limited to four attempts. If the individual fails the fourth time, they must go back to taking PLAB 1 again. 


PLAB Exam Syllabus

The  PLAB Exam syllabus covers a wide range of medical specialties and skills related to clinical practice. It includes topics such as accident and emergency medicine, cardiovascular system, childhood disorders, dermatology, and more. The topics covered in the PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 exams are mainly based on the standard medical textbooks taught in the UK medical schools. Additionally, applicants can look at the GMC booklets 'Advice to Candidates', specifically released for the Part 1 and Part 2 tests. 

The PLAB exam syllabus consists of multiple-choice questions and an objective structured clinical examination. Candidates must have their primary qualifications accepted by a recognized institution, achieve a minimum score of 7 in IELTS, and complete at least 12 months of postgraduate clinical experience to be eligible for the exam.

PLAB 1 exam

Check out the detailed syllabus for PLAB exam 1. 

Blood and Lymph

  • Pallor
  • Generalized enlarged lymph nodes
  • Bruising/ bleeding/ purpura
  • Abnormal blood film


  • Breast lump and pain


  • Peripheral venous problems
  • Peripheral edema, breathlessness
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Palpitations
  • Hypertension
  • Heart murmur
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

Child Health

  • Failure to thrive (Physical, Psychological, and social)
  • Developmental problems (Physical, Psychological, and social)
  • Congenital abnormalities


  • Upper GI symptoms
  • Nutrition
  • Lower GI symptoms
  • Jaundice
  • Facial pain and swelling
  • Anorexia and weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal mass


  • Thyroid abnormalities
  • General endocrine disorder
  • Abnormal blood sugar


  • Vertigo
  • Nasal symptoms
  • Hoarseness and/or stridor
  • Hearing problems
  • Earache

Ethical and Professional

  • Drawing from GMC explanatory guidance
  • Drawing from Good medical practice (2013) Duties of a doctor


  • Visual impairment
  • Red-eye
  • Orbital swelling
  • Eye pain


  • Vaginal discharge
  • Urethral discharge


  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Acid-base imbalance and blood gas abnormalities

Infectious diseases

  • Viral infections
  • Travel medicine and tropical infections
  • Serious infection
  • Hospital-acquired infection

Mental Health

  • Psychosis
  • Personality and behavioral disorders
  • Mood (affective) problems
  • Medically unexplained physical symptoms 
  • Legal frameworks
  • Learning and communication problems
  • Eating problems
  • Deliberate self-harm
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol and drug use disorder and dependence

Muscul skeletal

  • Back and neck problems
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Foot and ankle problems
  • Hand and wrist problems
  • Hip problems
  • Knee problems
  • Rheumatological problems
  • Shoulder/upper limb problems
  • Skeletal problems, including fractures


  • Blackouts and faints (funny turns) 
  • Cranial nerve problems
  • Falls
  • Headache
  • Movement disorders, including tremor and gait problems
  • Peripheral nerve problems and abnormalities of sensation
  • Seizures
  • Speech and language disorder
  • Weakness and fatigue

Older adults

  • Confusion
  • Symptoms of terminal illness


  • Clinical pharmacology (Antimicrobial stewardship, Prescribing safety)


  • Abnormalities of the urine
  • Renal problems
  • Urinary excretion


  • Contraception
  • Fertility problems
  • Normal pregnancy and care
  • Problems in pregnancy, including bleeding
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Cervical smear/ colposcopy
  • Pelvic mass
  • Pelvic pain
  • Vulva and vaginal lumps/lesions
  • Prolapse
  • Urinary incontinence


  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Cough and haemoptysis
  • Wheeze/ Stridor

Seriously ill patients

  • Collapse
  • Fever/ Infection
  • Multiple trauma
  • Shock


  • Bites and stings
  • Bullous 
  • Dermatological manifestations of systemic disease
  • Extremes of temperature
  • Hair and nail problems
  • Itchy and scaly rashes
  • Infections
  • Lumps
  • Moles and pigmented lesions
  • Ulcers


  • Groin/scrotal pain and swelling
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Abnormalities of the urine
  • Urinary symptoms (UTI & Prostatic cancer)


PLAB 2 Exam Syllabus


PLAB 2 is an OSCE assessment that does not have a specific syllabus or illnesses to prepare for. The examination will require the completion of 18 scenarios, evaluating your skills in diagnosing, investigating, managing, and treating.    

PLAB Examination Cost

The cost of the PLAB examination can vary depending on the specific stage of the journey and the circumstances.  

Given below are the PLAB exam fees in India and UK:

Test                  Fees in GBP                 Fees in INR                
PLAB 1 £255 26,684
PLAB 2 £934 97,747

PLAB Exam cancellation fees

Candidates can cancel their booking in the 'My Tests' section of their GMC Online account. If they wish to reschedule their exam date, they must cancel their reservation and book a new one. If a candidate for the PLAB exam decides to cancel their reservation less than 42 days before the scheduled exam date, they will not qualify for a refund of the fees paid.

PLAB test cancellation fees Bookings from 1 April 2023
PLAB 1 - cancellations over 42 days before exam £25.50
PLAB 1 - cancellations 42 days or less before exam £255
PLAB 2 - cancellations over 42 days before exam £93.40
PLAB 2 - cancellations between 42 and 29 days before exam £467
PLAB 2 - cancellations 28 days or less before exam £934

PLAB Exam Result 

Generally, the results of PLAB Part 1 are declared four weeks after taking the exam, while PLAB Part 2 results are usually announced two weeks after the test. The official dates of the outcome will be disclosed when the exam schedule is published. The General Medical Council (GMC) will email you instructions to check your results in the 'My Tests' section of GMC Online. The result is only valid for three years and the candidate must take Part 2 within three years of passing Part 1.

Number of Attempts in PLAB Exam

The Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board examination is a very competitive test, and there is a defined limit to the number of times an individual can sit for each part of the exam.

  • For part 1, students may retake it four times.
  • If the candidate passed the part 1 test while still valid, they are allowed four tries at the part 2 OSCE.

You have a 2-year period from the day you passed Part 1 to pass Part 2, and up to four attempts can be made. If you don't successfully complete Part 2 within the 2 years and/or if you fail on your fourth try, you must take both Part 1 and Part 2 again.          

PLAB Exam After MBBS

After completing MBBS in India, applicants must take the PLAB examination to pursue a postgraduate program in the United Kingdom . This exam is required for GMC registration, which is necessary in the UK medical system. The PLAB exam is a certification test to evaluate a person's eligibility to become registered with the GMC. It does not grant any degree, solely permitting the applicant to register with the GMC.          

What Next After Passing the PLAB Exam?


After successfully completing both stages of the PLAB assessment, you can apply for full registration with a license to practice. The GMC must grant authorization to your application within two years of passing part 2 of the exam. Once approved, you can exercise medicine for  study in the UK  .     


The  PLAB exam is an essential step in your journey to becoming a physician. Earning a medical license in the UK requires passing this important indicator of your medical skills and knowledge. If you are an International Medical Graduate and have the ambition to pursue a career in medicine within the United Kingdom, the PLAB examination i s a must. Make sure you are well-prepared to take the exam. The more you know about the exam, the better you will be able to prepare for it.

This blog was meant to provide you with all the information regarding the PLAB exam. If you have any queries or need help with your study abroad plans, please contact our  overseas consultants  for support.

Get in touch with us at  [email protected]  . We always love hearing from our students.

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