As more and more immigrant doctors are deciding to take the PLAB test in order to make their way to the UK, the test has become in very high demand lately with an increasing difficulty in just securing a seat. So, if you have one booked or planning on doing so in the near future, here are some top tips based on my own personal experience on how to pass the test from the first trial. What is the PLAB 1 test? PLAB 1 is a written exam made up of 180 multiple choice questions which you must answer within three hours. The exam tests your ability to apply your knowledge for the care of patients. It does not test how well you can remember and recite facts. How to ace the test? Phase 1 (Planning & Organization) As with any exam prep, we all know that the hardest part is knowing where to start from. The best way to approach this step is to prepare all the material needed and to map out an approximate timeline until test day. There are many other available sources, but these are the ones I personally used and they have proven to be sufficient. Material Needed: 1. Short Notes: PLAB Verse (free notes) & PLAB Keys (online subscription) 2. Question Bank: Plabable (online subscription) After you have subscribed and printed the notes, make a list of the chapters in descending order. For example, Paediatrics chapter is 20 pages long in Verse, 200 pages in Keys, and there are 150 questions to cover in Plabable. This way, you will know approximately how big or small every chapter is, and you will get a general idea on how long it will take for you to tackle it. Phase 2 (Scheduling and Studying) Now that you have everything ready, making a schedule will be very easy. Generally, 2-3 months of studying will be enough to cover everything; however, that may vary from one person to the other according to how many hours you will dedicate to studying per day. A good tip is to plan your schedule in a retrograde way as follows: Mark your test day on a calendar and leave 2 weeks blank before it for the final revision and mock exams. Then mark another 4-5 weeks for the second reading of the material. Finally, use your chapters list to cover all the chapters in the time you have remaining. Don’t forget to give yourself at least one off day per week so you don’t burn out. By following this scheduling method, you will have covered the material twice which I think is very important. Because no matter how focused you are there is no way you will retain 100% of the information from the first time. Also, by doing this you will be aware of which topics you need to go over again in your final revision. Studying Tips: Start with PLAB Verse notes, these notes are written in a topic-oriented way in which a topic is covered thoroughly from definition to management. Next, read the PLAB Keys for the same chapter, they are very similar to flash cards and are more question and key word oriented. Finally, solve the Plabable questions and mark the questions that you found to be tricky. Always, click on the tabs under every question and read the explanation quite well. There are also external links under every question which you might want to check out if you are struggling with a specific topic. Over the time, repeated questions have noticeably decreased in the test so it is very important to focus on every topic individually. Try to note things that you have a hard time memorizing so that in your next reading you would know exactly what to focus on. Phase 3 (Test Day): These are the most important thing you must remember on test day: Getting at least 8 hours of sleep and being well rested is imperative. Do not pull an all-nighter it will lead to disastrous results. Try to have good breakfast in the morning, anything packed in fibers and easy to digest. The test is three hours long and you will need the fuel. Arrive to the test hall at least an hour before the test starts so you will have enough time to check in, use the bathroom if needed, and familiarize yourself with the place to settle down instead of being rushed. Be confident when marking your answers, you have worked hard and it is important to trust your gut. Do not leave questions unanswered and say you will get back to them. Instead answer every question and mark the ones you would like to revise if you have time at the end. There will be a digital screen counting down the time, try to look at it to make sure that you are not falling behind or going too fast.