What is the PLAB Part 2 Test?
- PLAB 2 is an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE). It’s made up of 16 scenarios, each lasting eight minutes and aims to reflect real life settings including a mock consultation or an acute ward.
What does the PLAB Part 2 Test cover?
- The exam covers everything a UK trained doctor might expect to see on the first day of Foundation Year Two (F2).
- It tests your ability to apply knowledge to the care of patients, not how well you can remember and recite facts.
- All the questions relate to current best practice. You should answer them in relation to published evidence and not according to your local arrangements.
- Names of drugs referred to in the exam are those contained in the most recent edition of the British National Formulary (BNF).
- The PLAB blueprint sets out the scope and content of the test. It includes the topics, skills and procedures that a doctor who passes the test would need to know and be able to do. It also provides details of the professional qualities expected of a doctor working in the UK.
How do you answer the questions in PLAB Part 2?
After reading the instructions and patient information outside each room, you will enter the exam cubicle and complete the task outlined. There will be a timer that announces when to move on.
- How much time you have between stations will depend upon which centre you are completing your test. Find our more in the chapter, ‘What can you expect on the day?’.
- There will be at least two rest stations, allowing you to take breaks. The whole exam will take around three hours.
How will you be tested in PLAB Part 2?
- The domains you will be marked against:
|Details of areas covered by the three domains of the PLAB 2 exam
|What this domain covers
|Data gathering, technical and assessment skills
|History taking, physical examination, practical procedures, investigations leading to a diagnosis
|Clinical management skills
|Formulating a diagnosis, explaining something to the patient, formulating a management plan
|How you approach the station: whether you establish a rapport with the patient, how you use open and closed questioning, involving the patient and demonstrating your professionalism and understanding of ethical principles
- When marking against the domains the examiner will assess your competency across a number of skill areas.
- Most of the stations will involve a simulated patient. You should interact with the actor as you would a real patient, including requesting to perform any relevant clinical examinations.
- You should begin each station by confirming your name and GMC number. This is important as the examiner may not be present in the room and will be watching remotely by camera.
- In some rooms you will find telephone or video call stations: the call will be connected for you before you enter the room. It is important you do not touch the phone as this may disconnect your call.
- In some stations, you will be assessed on your ability to conduct a physical examination using a model or manikin.
- We expect you to be able to carry out any basic physical examinations, including but not limited to examination of the abdomen, breast, chest, hand, heart, and joints. You must be able to perform a rectal or bimanual vaginal examination. You must also be able to use the appropriate equipment in carrying out an examination of the ear, eye or nervous system.
- You may be required to perform an examination or other procedure on a high-fidelity simulator which can be programmed to show normal and abnormal clinical signs. A role player may speak from outside the room using a microphone connected to the simulator. You can find more information and . Examination of someone’s mental state is a form of clinical examination for the purpose of the PLAB 2 exam.
- The examiner will assess you on your ability to perform common practical procedures. Again, the board may ask you to deal with a simulated patient or an anatomical model.
- The practical skills may include:
- checking blood pressure
- performing venepuncture
- inserting a cannula into a peripheral vein
- calculating drug dosage
- giving intravenous injections
- mixing and injecting drugs into an intravenous bag
- giving intramuscular and subcutaneous injections
- basic cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (adult and child)
- interpreting an electrocardiogram (ECG), X-rays or results of other investigations
- interpreting basic respiratory function tests
- performing urinary catheterisation
- taking a cervical smear
- Safe disposal of sharps.
- The board tests these skills by observing the interaction between you and another person, usually a simulated patient or occasionally the examiner. These interactions can take place in person, over the telephone or via a video call. The examiner will assess your approach to the patient throughout the examination, even if they are not present in the room.
- This may include:
- explaining diagnosis, investigation and treatment
- involving the patient in the decision-making
- Communicating with relatives
- communicating with health care professionals
- breaking bad news
- seeking informed consent/clarification for an invasive procedure or obtaining consent for a post-mortem
- dealing with anxious patients or relatives
- giving instructions on discharge from hospital
- giving advice on lifestyle, health promotion or risk factors.
- As the board may use an anatomical model in some stations it’s important to remember the following.
- Don’t speak to the model as you won’t gain any marks for doing so.
- Tell the examiner what you are doing and why only if the instructions tell you to.
- Don’t perform any actions on an anatomical model that would be unsafe or painful to a real person.
How to apply for PLAB Part 2?
Where can you take PLAB Part 2?
- You can take part 2 at the clinical assessment centre in Manchester, UK.
GMC Clinical Assessment Centre
3 Hardman Square
GMC Clinical Assessment Centre
3 Hardman Street
Your booking confirmation will confirm which test centre you should attend, including the address.
As the addresses look very similar, please make sure you check this information carefully before arrival.
Addresses for all GMC offices can be found on our Contact us page.
PLAB 2 test dates
We run PLAB 2 test dates throughout the year. You can view available dates and book under the ‘My Tests’ section of GMC Online. You can only do this once you have your PLAB 1 results.
Demand for PLAB 2 places is high, and you may experience a wait for a test date.
If you have a UK job offer in the NHS that requires GMC registration or hold UK refugee status, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try and offer you a test place as soon as we can.
The number of places in our part 2 exam is not linked to the number of jobs available.
How do you book or cancel a place in PLAB Part 2?
- Before you book a PLAB exam you must have:
If you haven’t graduated yet, the board will need confirmation you have passed your final examinations and are eligible for the qualification.
- Book using your GMC Online account :
- Go to GMC Online. You can view available dates and book under the ‘My Tests’ section.
How much does it cost?
- The current fee for the PLAB Part2 Test: £879 from 1 April 2021.
Please see our PLAB cancellation fees.
We will consider giving you a full refund where exceptional circumstances arise that prevent you from attending your exam such as visa refusal, ill health or bereavement.
We’ll also consider giving you a full refund if you are unable to attend your exam due to the following pandemic-related reasons:
- You must self-isolate because you or someone you have been in contact with has COVID symptoms or has a positive test
- Travel restrictions have been introduced since you made your booking that prevent you from attending – you must cancel your booking within 21 days of the restriction being announced for us to consider a full refund
We will ask you to provide evidence of your circumstances before we confirm we can give you a full refund.
If you think your cancellation fee should be refunded please send your reasons and evidence to email@example.com and we will consider this.
|Cancellation fees and notice periods for PLAB 2 cancellations
|Period of notice
|over 42 days before exam
|between 42 and 28 days before exam
|less than 28 days before exam
Any PLAB exam cancelled after 22 June 2021 will be subject to cancellation charges, even if the initial booking was made before this date.
Are there any concessions for refugees?
- If you are a refugee doctor living in the UK, the fee for part 2 will be reduced by 50% for your first two attempts. Please book the examination online and contact us to arrange a refund.
- Read our information for refugee doctors living in the UK.
- Help for refugees
Discounts and refunds
How do I pay my fee?
PLAB Part 2 test dates:
- The board is runs PLAB 2 test dates throughout the year. You can view available dates and book under the ‘My Tests’ section of GMC Online. You can only do this once you have your PLAB Part 1 results.
- Demand for PLAB 2 places is high, and you may experience a wait for a test date.
- If you have a UK job offer in the NHS that requires GMC registration or hold UK refugee status, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try and offer you a test place as soon as we can.
- The number of places in our part 2 exam is not linked to the number of jobs available.
What reasonable adjustments can the board make?
- If you have a disability, such as a visual impairment or dyslexia (see Equality Act 2010), the board may be able to make adjustments to the exam arrangements, such as producing information in large print. The board won’t be able to change the standard of the exam.
- The board will also consider making adjustments to make sure the exam is fair for other groups of people. For example, if you’re pregnant.
- To make a decision on any adjustments you must send us the following information:
- Details of why you require a reasonable adjustment, such as the nature of your disability
- What adjustments you require or the barriers you need the adjustments to address
- An original letter, certificate or medical report, from your consultant or specialist confirming the nature of your disability and the functional impact of the disability in an exam environment
- The letter, certificate or medical report must be addressed to the GMC and highlight which assessment the report is taking into consideration – i.e. part 1 (a multiple choice written exam) or part 2 (an OSCE examination)
- The letter, certificate or medical report must also include recommendations for adjustments the board could make.
- If the board receives a request without this information it will delay a decision being made. This may mean the required adjustments are not made in time for the assessment you have booked on to.
- Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your requirements.
Examples of adjustments the board has made:
- These are examples of reasonable adjustments the board has made to the practical arrangements at the request of candidates. The board makes these on a case-by-case basis.
|Reasonable adjustment made
|Wheelchair user and impaired vision
|Candidate visited the Clinical Assessment Centre before the test so they could see what adjustments were necessary.
All written material was placed at appropriate heights and in large font size.
The examination time began when the candidate’s wheelchair was in position.
The board provided an assistant to help move the candidate between stations.
|Manual dexterity difficulties
|The examiners opened packages if requested.
If the station required gloves, we did not require the candidate to put them on.
|Pregnant or those with mobility difficulties
|The board placed the resuscitation manikin on a couch rather than on the floor.
|The board arranged for the station instructions to be printed on a colour of paper and in a font size of their choosing.
What can you expect on the day?
- You should allow plenty of time to travel to the assessment centre. If you’re late you won’t be able to take the exam.
- If you have to cancel a place you have already booked, you’ll have to pay a cancellation fee.
When you arrive?
- You will be sent an email before your exam date with your allocated time of arrival. You should allow plenty of time to travel to the Clinical Assessment Centre.
- Pay careful attention to the address of your test venue. We have two centres operating in Manchester, and the addresses look very similar.
- Please make sure you arrive at your allocated time. If you arrive early, you may be asked to leave the building until your arrival time. If you’re late you won’t be able to take the exam.
- Please ensure you wear a surgical style, three-layer mask at all times once you have entered the building.
- We’ll ask for your proof of identity document which we will keep until the end of the exam. Your photograph will be taken and you’ll be given an ID badge which you’ll need to wear throughout the exam.
- You won’t need to take anything with you into the exam circuit, not even your own medical equipment. Everything you need will be provided.
During the exam:
- You’ll find some scenarios will have manikins or other equipment. Others will use an actor to play the part of a patient. During each of the exam stations you will be observed by an examiner, either in person or via a remote camera. Your exam may be recorded. Examiners will not intervene, except in very limited circumstances.
- You’ll have eight minutes to complete each station. Before starting each scenario, you’ll have time to travel to the next room and to read the instructions.
- This time will vary based on which venue you take your test, due to the differences in venue size and layout:
- 3 Hardman Street – 1 minute 45 seconds
3 Hardman Square – 1 minute 30 seconds
- This is to ensure that candidates receive a consistent amount of reading time across both venues.
- Our test venues operate independently, so candidates sitting the test on the same day at different venues will not take the same exam.
- You can’t talk to other candidates or write down or copy any details about the exam while you’re taking it.
- You can’t bring books, any electronic devices or watches into the exam.
What should you bring with you?
- Bring proof of identification with you. We accept any one of the following*:
- UK driving licence
- EU identity card
*Those with refugee status may also provide a biometric residence permit
- If you don’t have one of the above, you can take the exam but you’ll need to provide your identification document or evidence of change of name later in the process.
- Bring the booking confirmation that includes your GMC reference number.
- If the name on your identification document is different from that on the booking confirmation from the GMC, you must bring original evidence that you are the person named in that letter. We will accept:
- marriage certificate
- a declaration from the awarding body which granted your primary medical qualification, stating that both names relate to you.
- If you do not provide satisfactory evidence of your identity, you will need to attend a further ID check at the point you apply for registration.
What is the dress code?
- Dress as you would to work in a UK hospital ward or other clinical setting. This would normally mean bare to the elbow with no watches, bracelets or rings. Male candidates would be expected to wear a collared shirt with short or rolled sleeves and no tie. Candidates should not wear jeans, shorts or sandals.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, you will be required to wear a mask when entering the GMC building and in all communal corridors and waiting areas. For the PLAB 2 examination, you must wear a surgical style, three-layer mask, and one can be provided if you require it. You must wear your mask at all times whilst you are in the centre, including during your examination.
- It is important that patients feel able to build relationships of trust and communicate freely with their doctors. Some patients, for example, may find that a face veil worn by their doctor presents an obstacle to effective communication. You must be prepared to respond to a patient’s individual needs.
- Role players are told that they must make it clear if a candidate wearing a veil is unable to communicate effectively and examiners are told that they should mark the candidate accordingly.
What conduct is expected during the exam?
- You can read the misconduct procedures for more information.
What do you do if you are absent or sick on the exam day?
By presenting yourself for the exam, you deem yourself fit to be assessed. Should this change at any point you must tell an invigilator immediately. Please remember that if you do not declare any illness or issues, this cannot be considered once the exam has finished.
- Please do not attend the PLAB test if you, or members of your household, have COVID-19 or are displaying symptoms. Inform us as soon as you can if you cannot attend.
- If we are concerned about the COVID status of any attendee of the PLAB 2 examination, we reserve the right to refuse entry to the test or ask them to leave the centre at any time.
- If you cannot attend the examination because of serious illness or another overwhelming problem, we will make a full refund of your fee. If you are taken ill unexpectedly during an exam, it will not count as an attempt and your results will be annulled.
- If you cannot attend the examination because of serious illness or another overwhelming problem, the board will make a full refund of your fee. You must provide the following evidence:
|PLAB 2 examples of evidence to provide before the board will issue a refund if you cannot attend your examination
|Medical certificate or letter on appropriate headed paper covering the day of the examination
|Death or serious injury of family member
|Immigration difficulties, such as refusal of visa
|A document from UK Visas and Immigration
|Any other difficulty you could not have foreseen
|A letter of explanation (for example, from an employer)
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.
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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Explore the assessment centre using VR
- You can now follow the process of attending the PLAB 2 exam with the interactive 360° video VR app.
- This will help you familiarise yourself with the clinical assessment centre at 3 Hardman Square and the exam process before you attend. You can access it on mobile, tablet or PC.
Access the VR app on your mobile or tablet
Access the VR app from your PC
- You can view the experience on a PC in a compatible browser such as Firefox, Chrome or Microsoft Edge with a good wi-fi connection. You’ll need to use this link to access the app from your PC.
- If you have a PC VR headset (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Windows Mixed Reality) select the VR icon within a compatible browser. For Windows Mixed Reality, you’ll need to run the experience when using the headset with SteamVR.
Can’t access the app? View a 360° video on YouTube
- Please send copies, not original documents.
- By presenting yourself for the exam, you deem yourself fit to be assessed. Should this change at any point you must tell an invigilator immediately. Please remember that if you do not declare any illness or issues, this cannot be taken into account once the exam has finished.
- If you are taken ill at an exam, it will not count as an attempt. The board will book you a place in the next available exam if you wish the board to do so.
When do you get your results?
Your results will be published within four weeks of your test date.
- These procedures apply to all candidates for PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 whose conduct is under consideration for incidents on or after 1 February 2014.
What is misconduct?
- Misconduct includes, but is not limited to:
- sharing exam content in any way, including on social media and other online forums
- not complying with the reasonable instructions of an invigilator or other examination official
- viewing the work of another candidate, or attempting to do so
- removing materials or content (including the use of recording devices) from an examination other than those specifically permitted
- bringing materials other than those specifically permitted into the exam
- releasing content from any exam to a third party/commercial organisation
- communicating with another candidate whilst under exam conditions
- gaining information about the exam questions in advance of your exam date
- impersonation of a candidate
- bribery, or attempted bribery, (of another candidate, exam official, simulated patient or other relevant person)
- disruptive behaviour during an exam
- aiding or abetting any of the above.
Who reports suspected misconduct?
- Suspected misconduct may be reported by invigilators, examiners, candidates, simulated patients, our staff or any other person who becomes aware of suspected misconduct.
- The board also use Anomaly Monitoring System (AMS) computer software to detect cheating, by automatically reviewing all candidates’ answers after every examination to identify correlations in response patterns between pairs of candidates beyond what could be expected to occur by chance.
- The board will only act on anonymous reports of misconduct if there is supporting evidence.
What happens if you are suspected of breaching exam rules?
- The invigilator or duty manager will:
- confiscate any unauthorised material in the possession of the candidate for the duration of the exam
- document clearly the time when the alleged breach was discovered
- allow the candidate to continue the exam and inform the candidate at the end of the exam
- allow the candidate the opportunity to respond either in writing, or by recording verbal statements
- prepare, within three working days of the exam, a written report on the alleged incident and send it to the board.
What is the misconduct investigation process?
- The investigating officer will review all reports of the alleged misconduct and, after consulting where necessary with other members of staff, shall determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the allegation to be pursued.
- If the case is not pursued The board will inform the candidate accordingly, where applicable. In all other cases, the board will inform the candidate in writing, of the allegations that have been made against them.
- The candidate then has the opportunity to provide a response to the allegations. During this time the results will remain unconfirmed until the board has considered the allegation.
- If the investigating officer decides to refer the case forward, they will submit to the assistant director witness statements, the responses of candidate and any other relevant information. The assistant director will consider whether the disputed facts are proved.
- The board will inform the candidate by email of the decision and any penalty that has been applied.
What are the penalties for misconduct?
- Standard penalties can include:
- written advice
- results of an examination to be annulled
- candidate barred from entry to future examinations for a specified period
- reporting the matter to our registrar so he can take it into account as a matter of good character when considering a future application for registration with a licence to practice
- any combination of any of the above
- no further action.
- No candidate whose misconduct has been proved shall be permanently barred from entry to any future examinations.
Will you be able to appeal the outcome?
- Where the board considers the candidate’s appeal fulfils the requirements, the material considered by the assistant director will be passed to the relevant director who will consider whether the disputed facts are proved and whether the penalty applied is proportionate to the misconduct.
- The director’s decision will be final.