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PLAB 2 Experience (Academy - Preparation - Mocks - Tips - Notes)

Discussion in 'PLAB' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    I am writing my experience a bit late as I was busy. Most doctors will surprise with my suggestions regarding plab 2 but every one has different views and experiences I am sharing my own experience so every has right to agree or disagree with it. I will address the few most important queries which after plab 1 everyone is confused. Let's talk step by step in order of importance. First is

    Selection of academy:
    The most frequent question asked after plab is choice of academy and study duration after academy. Choosing academy depend on many factors like whether you are doing any job or not. What is your financial status. Your family specially for female. There are 4 academies. Samson. Swamy. Aspire. Hamed and few more I think. In exam you will see from every academy for example 10 doctors out of which few will pass few will fail. What it means? It means academy does not matter that much they only give you concept of plab 2 and approach to stations which almost all academies do in more or less the same way. What matter is your own efforts. How you perform on exam day. I personally took swamy online course. I will recommend either swamy or aspire as in both academy you can get their videos which everyone has link to download. So you don't have to even pay for course [​IMG]. The main aim of writing this post was one aspect of financial constrain of so many doctors. I personally has no financial issues that's why I paid for online course and stayed for one month in Manchester but I was shocked to hear stories of doctors from Nigeria and other countries about the financial issues they faces. They have to sacrifice so much just to pay for all expenses of plab as its not a cheap exam considering academy fee exam fee accommodation, airline ticket and food expanses. To cut this expenses to almost half I will advice to just watch the videos of aspire or swamy. This will reduce your stay at UK to just one week or even less. Once you watch the videos sitting at home then you can practice at home by finding so many discussion partners online or face to face near to you. So what's the point of staying in Uk for one month? You just need 2 days for manikin to practice in academy. No one check when you are going to swamy academy so you can easily practice on manikin there. Also even if you dont take their course still you can book mock test with them by paying 40 pound. Second advantage is that when you study everything sitting at home then you have enough time to prepare and practice so the question of asking how much time you need after academy is irrelevant because once you feel comfortable with your preparation then you can book test. In fact this is the answer of second most frequently asked question. Normally one month is more then enough. At least 2 times read to notes is must.

    How to prepare:

    Best way is to listen videos of day one then read notes of same day. When you finish all course then give a second read to notes. After that find partners for discussion. Face to face is better but if you can manage because of any reason then you can find many online on Facebook and watsup groups. Multiple or at least 2 partner will be advantageous. I personally studied and did discussion with only one of my friend. We spent 20 days together in Uk just sitting in room. What we used to do is that first we will read one scenario or topic from notice then we used to discus it one act as doctor one as simulator. We didn't discuss any case randomly which we should have done. Ideally random discussion is best way to test your nerves and approach, preparation. In random discussion you will find your weakness and major blunders which you will never then repeat in exam. The only random practice we did was in mock tests.

    Mock test:

    Mock test has both advantages and disadvantages. The good thing is that it give you good exam type of practice and you will find your weak points and can improve based on that. The bad thing is that it's been taken by doctors who just passed plab. They have no clue how GMC do marking in exam. They don't know the approach of simulators. In real exam the simulators are professionals they will guide you very nicely compared to mock simulators. Don't get disappointed when you don't perform well in mock as it's all about simulators. Most of Doctors including me perform far better in GMC exam compared to mock exam. If you are a group of few doctors you can arrange mock exam among your self. Always practice just like real exam by setting 8 minutes GMC alarm bell.

    Tips for exam.

    I will give tips based on order of importance. Remember plab is not an exam of your knowledge. It's all about how good you are in acting and how good your communication skills are. In more then 50 percent cases there is no medical knowledge at all like ethical and counselling stations. So confidence is the key to success. It is all about controlling your nerves. Being a Doctor's we all know that when we are nervous and anxious we forget everything we get blank. Your tongue, mind and body don't work smoothly. To control somatic symptoms of anxiety I will recommend everyone to take at least 40 mg of propranolol (Inderal) tablet [​IMG]. It's really effective based on my personal and other doctors feedback. Second is good sleep is very important. Most doctors because of extreme tension can't sleep so if someone has this problem plz take one sleep medication like lorazepan or temazepan for sound sleep.

    Short notes

    When you are reading notes plz make short notes of every single topic which should include only the important bullet points about that topic or headings like the main d/ds, key investigation and management headings. In last 2 days plz never ever do any discussion. Just read the short 10 to 12 pages notes you have made out of notes on this way you will revise all topics in last 2 days so chances of forgetting will be minimized. You can also do all examination practically in last 2 days which doesn't take that much time.
    Utilization of one and half minute time before station is very important. Plz utilize this time very cleverly. The golden tip is that only try to memorize the headings so you will not miss any thing. For example in MI case you will just say in mind that I need to ask about this this dds and then will do this this investigation and in management if MI will do this this treatment and Safety netting etc. Also think about that whether you need to do examination in this station or not. If yes then need to divide time cleverly.

    Date gathering and examination

    One of the most frequent mistake which everyone do and most doctors don't even know about it is that we have to do examination almost 99 percent of cases even in ethical and counselling stations. Examination does not mean we have to do it practically but just mentioning examination in every station is must. We all know date gathering or history taking has 4 marks. We forget that even in ethical and counselling stations we need to gather some data which most of us don't do that's why we don't get any marks on data gathering. If we don't take any history how can we get marks in data gathering?

    Safety netting

    Safety netting is the most ignored but the most important area of any station. Believe me the only thing which I can think of helping me to pass my exam is Safety netting. I did Safety netting in all station in a very nice way. Plz never forget this area.

    Don't rush

    The Golden sentences which I formulated about plab 2 in my short experience because I passed in first attempt is that
    1. The more Expert you are in acting the more chances you might pass
    2. The better communication skills you have the more chances you might pass
    3. The more knowledge you have the less chance you might pass [​IMG]

    The last point might sound strange to you all but believe me it's true as I mentioned above if you see all stations of plab 2 in more then 50 percent stations there is no medical knowledge involved. The one in which it's involved is your basic fy2 level knowledge. The mistake which we make is that we rush into station. For example if there is a very easy station then we get happy that I know everything about it. I Will tell simulator everything. We don't need to tell them exerting in 8 minutes even if we know everything. We have to just address patient concern. That's why most of doctors will tell you that plab is a strange exam the station which you do very well will fail and station which you think didn't went well Will pass. So many doctors told me this it was quite strange for me but believe my when I gave exam immediately after exam I call my friend about my exam I told him that at least I will take maximum marks at least 10 in 2 stations. One was respiratory system examination teaching to student and second was post MI discharge counselling. These both station was so good and straight forward but when result came my both these station were fail [​IMG] and 3 other station were pass which I though might get fail. So it's a very subjective exam . One good point can pass or fail you. The strange thing is that still I can't find the reason of why I fail these 2 station? One of the reason is scripted. If you talk non stop and just repeat the notes then they penalize you. So try to be as natural as possible.

    Don't try to speak too fast because you want to finish the station. They just want to listen what you say and act in 8 minutes not how much you speak. Always speak in a slow pace and involve patient by saying OK. In fact OK was the most frequent word I used in plab 2[​IMG]. Specially in management in every second sentence involve patient. Don't be doctor centered always be patient centered. Don't say I will give you or I will admit you. Say we need do admit you or we need to give you medication what you think? Is that OK with you. If you speak non stop for one minute forget about passing that station.

    In history taking don't be greedy. For example in sub arachnoid case don't ask about 10 dds. You need to rule out only few dds. The most important ones first not necessarily all 10 dds. In combine station if you see any couch it means you have to examine patient. In combine station plz stop examination at 6th minute and go for management because management has 4 marks and also plz don't take more then 2 minute history. I took 10 marks in diabetic station by just taking 2 minute history and at 6 minutes I just finished only sensory examination then went for management. It's not necessary that you finish all examination. In examination never forget consent and patient comfort.

    Communication skills.

    We all know that our of 12 marks communication skills has 4 marks communication skills doesn't involve only the way you speak but the way your tongue facial expression and body movement coordinate with each other. Changing tone of voice according to scenario is must. Facial expression is one of the key in gaining patient and own confidence. Don't be mask faced and don't be a smiley face always. One of mock examiner give me comments In all 4 station that I was smiling [​IMG] In all station even in station of angry patients which I realized quickly and didn't repeated this mistake in exam in fact in one of breaking bad news station I pass with good mark because I acted very well in fact I acted in a way that I am even more upset then you [​IMG].
    Medical stations are straight forward just take hx do investigation then management. No proper approach but the real challenge comes in ethical and counselling stations where the [​IMG] key to success is how you approach the station. How much satisfied is simulator with you. Don't follow notes in all station for example in alcohol colleague station in swamy notes in second sentence they have written I have saw you drinking alcohol last nigh in party which is a wrong way to open up. Someone. You need at least 3 minutes to talk something to open him up. In some stations like angry patient stations the only thing you have to say is I am really sorry at least 10 times even. I have seen doctors who were just saying sorry sorry they pass so don't be clever but be smart.

    Don't fail any station badly even if you struggle in some statin try to speak something as much as possible to get at least some scores as some doctors pass total 11 station but unable to achieve total required score.
    In history taking the most important thing is sequence and proper structure. If you ask one question about diarrhea then ask next question about shortness of breath then again abdominal pain it does not look smart rather first finish with all git questions then go to other system.

    By: Drdilnawaz Khan
     

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