PLAB 1 Exam Day Checklist: What to Bring and What to Expect

Are you preparing for the PLAB 1 exam and feeling overwhelmed by the process? Do you want to make sure you have everything you need for exam day and know what to expect? Look no further!

In this blog post, I will provide you with a thoroughgoing PLAB 1 exam day checklist, covering everything from what to bring to what to expect on the big day. Alongside, there will be tips on what you should absolutely avoid.

Scared of PLAB 1 exam? Here’s a rundown of what happens on the exam day:

PLAB 1 Exam Day Checklist: Reaching the Centre

When you arrive at the test hall on exam day, you will see a queue at the door. It takes very little time to enter.

Someone will welcome you warmly and hand you a kit comprising a pencil, eraser, and re-breathable paper bag when you first arrive at the facility (Yes, they understood your anxiety).

Afterward, you will proceed to the hallway where your documents will be examined by a person sitting in a chair. What papers should I bring? These are:

  1. Your Passport
  2. Your GMC booking confirmation
  3. Your venue confirmation if you are taking the exam outside UK

Additionally, make sure you are carrying:

  • At least one or two fruit item
  • 3-4 sharpened pencils (so you don’t waste precious time sharpening them), an eraser, and a sharpener
  • Bottle of water (but with no label on it)

That’s all! Don’t fancy carrying anything extra on the PLAB 1 exam day!

Note: Although newer GMC mails frequently states that you cannot bring any form of watch, digital or analogue, I can still clearly recall seeing someone wearing one in my dorm (previously, they used to allow).

A fuss is frequently made regarding Hb pencils. This is without a doubt the most ridiculous question ever. Whatever type you choose, as long as you accurately mark the responses, it doesn’t matter.

In a Short Summary, you should have the following on the day of your PLAB 1 exam:

Identification Document

  • Passport
  • UK Driving License (Full/Provisional)
  • UK Immigration and Nationality Department Identification Document
  • Home Office Travel Document

PLAB 1 Admit Card

  • This will be a copy of your GMC confirmation mail. Have a print-out ready with yourself.
  • Additionally, those taking the exam outside must have venue confirmation also.

Stationery Items

  • 3-4 Pencils
  • Eraser
  • Sharpener
  • An extra clear polythene bag (to keep your documents and anything extra in it)

Any Extra Items advised in GMC mail

Read the mail thoroughly. There are often clear-cut instructions on what is allowed and what is not. These can include:

  • Eatables (fruit items)
  • Bottle of water without any label
  • Watch (analog only, make sure the mail mentions it is allowed)

Entering the Hall

When you arrive, you will sit until the exam begins. You will be quite anxious throughout this time.

There will be roughly 100 others sharing the same anxiety as you have. So, what were my observations on PLAB 1 exam day? They were as follows:

  1. Bags were permitted in the hall. Simply place them in front of you and away from you when the exam begins.
  2. Some people were reading on their phones until the very last second. Yes, you can bring them to the hall, but you must turn them off and place them in the same bag. (While many people advise you to relax and not read till the finale, I disagree. Revise till the very last second; you never know what will occur from your last 5 minutes of reading.)
  3. Sharpen your pencils and place them in the polythene bag. Keep it under the table, not on top of it. (There is a burrow on the table where you can quickly lay your pencils.)
  4. Some folks were wearing earplugs to drown out the noise. Of course, they should not be digital.

Starting the Exam

These are the tips and things you should be familiar with on your PLAB 1 exam day:

  1. Receiving Question Paper: You will be given a gigantic booklet filled with questions. There will be at least 100 pages. Yes, you are aware that speed is critical.
  2. Mark only on the Answer Sheet: As you solve each problem, write your solutions on the answer page. Don’t make the mistake of marking any answers on the exam paper (the reason why I failed the august exam).
  3. Try to Circle or Slash: On the November exam, I circled the review questions and slash-marked the don’t know ones. In this manner, after I finished my answers (40 minutes early), I could quickly distinguish which questions required my attention.
  4. ALWAYS Cross-check: Most essential, if you finish early, your following step should ALWAYS be to double-check that you marked the correct answer on the page. Yes, I examined mine and discovered that four of them were marked incorrect despite the fact that I knew the correct answer.
  5. Familiarize with Time Management: Those that have a clock in front of them are fortunate; most do not. After every 30-40 questions, check the time. This allows you to determine how fast you need to be. Ideally, you should complete at least 70-80 questions in the first hour.
  6. Don’t Overcomplicate It: Some questions are straightforward. We often end up marking them as wrong if we apply our clinical practice.
  7. Don’t Drink Plenty of Water: Going to the restroom is something you should absolutely avoid. Not only will you have to raise your hand and wait for it, but you will also lose those valuable 5 minutes (at least 5 questions). Don’t drink too much water. In fact, I didn’t even attempt to touch it (do take it but sips only).
  8. Lab Values are Provided: They are not only given in the question itself but at the end of the booklet also. I don’t know why everyone kept focusing on memorizing them so hard.

Exiting the Hall

You have done it. Move out of the hall and capture the moments around. If in the UK, spend at least 1-hour clicking pictures of the places around the hall. Most often, there will always be something beautiful.

Treat yourself with a Croissant if possible (I absolutely love them) with a good tea (their ginger garlic tea is an absolute nirvana)

I was in Sheffield where it was freezing cold. But for me, everything was new as always. From those stunning blocks to the fresh air to the amazing people around. It was such an astonishing experience.

The last time I came to the same place for my first exam was in August 2023. We (me and my elder brother) had planned to have so much fun, but I kinda messed up my exam with my own blunders.

This time (November) also, I couldn’t visit enough. Wish, I had enough time to see the Sherwood (fan of Robin hood- Legend of Sherwood game). Conclusion? Always listen to your heart.

Post Exam

Don’t waste your time in PLAB 1 recalls, stay away from them. They only make your life miserable.

There is no end to these questions and you will only find yourself in sleepless nights and anxiety that can’t be solved till results. Be done with PLAB 1 exam day and let it flow out of your veins for a while.

Take a break and have your own time for at least 3-4 weeks. Yes, I mean it. You have given so much, it is time you rest and enjoys the best of your version.

The result dates are often announced in the hall itself. Don’t miss it though. Save the anxiety for the few days before the result only.

Best of Luck with your exams. Be proud of yourself always. Make, Believe!

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