My PLAB 2 Experience
PLAB 2 was a very stressful experience for me. I guess the time wasn’t so favorable for me.
After finishing my PLAB 1 exam before getting my result I went to an academy for a course. I couldn’t finish it. I could have stayed more but I choose to leave due to my health condition. I had the problem with the accommodation. The accommodation was run by one of the instructor’s father, though it wasn’t related to the academy. They gave me a bed which was a pile of the box actually not even a bed. It worth to mention they charged me for bed and it was non-refundable. I felt trapped with the whole situation I can’t leave, I can’t stay, in the end, I left. All those boxes were infested with bed bug and I become a very delicious feast for those bugs. I had a very severe allergic reaction. Late class and health condition made me realize I should go back home also I needed a visa for PLAB 2 exam.
So My Plan was I’ll go back, get the visa and will return early. But unfortunately, it didn’t go as I planned. I was an inch away to cancel my exam, fortunately, my visa came three days before my exam. Even though I wasn’t prepared enough we decided I’ll take a risk and take the exam. Alhamdulillah and thanks to Allah that I took that risk.
What was my preparation level for PLAB 2?
- During my exam time, so many things changed, e.g. station time, the number of stations increases and even the type of station.
- When I took the course I didn’t take any new topics classes including 20 old topics. So for me, the course help me just to understand more of the PLAB exam which actually was helpful and I met so many wonderful people.
- I didn’t practice any manikin
- I didn’t take any mock exam
So now one can wonder why I took the exam and how I passed the exam?
Why I took the exam and Why I passed?
A) How was my Background Knowledge?
- From the bachelor, I was a good student I always tried to build my basic on both basic subjects and clinical subjects.
- In my medical school (Which is a big famous government medical college in Bangladesh), all my teachers always put emphasis on history taking and the clinical examination. Which actually helped me a lot.
- In my internship time, I was very serious and worked 24/7 in the hospital. So I learned all the important procedures during my internship time.
- My communication skills are very good because from childhood I was watching lots of English movies, reading English novel, did lots of volunteering activity, even when I moved to UK I volunteered for Commonwealth games in 2014, Macmillan cancer supports and I was elected class representative for two years in my UK University. Which enabled my listening skills, especially understanding of British accent, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.
If you already read my blog on Tips for PLAB 2 you know the most important domains is Interpersonal skills. So you can see my interpersonal skills were already in good shape. My main focused was that time to practice and make myself perfect.
I write this section to show that my preparation started a long time ago. Remember any exam success and preparation time depend on your background knowledge. If your background knowledge is already good you will need very less to prepare for an exam.
B) What did I do for practice?
This part is very important to someone who has kids or staying alone at home can’t travel to the academy for practice.
- I didn’t take any mocks
- I didn’t practice any manikin
- I didn’t practice any instrument.
- At 1st I made a list of topic and put them in a category.
- I started practicing with one of my friends on skype. We were feeling exhausted because neither of us completed our writing and we were only able to practice 6-10 topics/day. Actually, it was taking twice the time as both of us need to practice the same topics. I can assure you it was very frustrating that time and I wasn’t moving forward.
- Before my exam suddenly lots of new topics were coming in the exam and GMC was giving more station from those topics. I had to collect them from my friends, sort them out, print them out, then I was able to read them. It was utterly time wasting.
- when I started reading I realize it was too much info and I don’t want to sound like everyone. So I stop reading them.
- I was started to practice according to a problem, e.g. if my patient has a headache what I’ll ask? What will be my differentials? Any important disease association? How I manage this patient? Any investigations? Any specific treatment? This technique helped me most actually. It took me 10 days to prepare myself.
- I practice examine (e.g. abdomen, knee examination etc) on my pillow, my teddy bear, and my husband when he was in the home at the night.
- My husband isn’t a medical professional so he wasn’t much help. Though it was a good laugh when I tried to practice with him.
- In the meantime, I talked over the phone with some of my friends about the topics.
- Just before 4 days of the exam, I started to practice with one of my friends for 2 days we able to finish almost 22-30 topics which were very good and helpful.
- In the morning of the exam I able to read 44 topics.
- We decided I’ll take the exam whatever the outcome will come we will accept it. My faith was on Allah’s hand. Allah gave me all this struggle and if Allah wants I’ll pass no matter what. That was my first strength and my second strength was I have moderate clinical skills and good communication skill. So from my calculations, there is a good chance I can nail the exam.
- It worth mentioning I was praying that 2 stations not to come in my exam day one is IV cannula and another one is the urinary catheter. I was completely sure I will blander them and will fail at both stations.
My exam was in the afternoon session. When we were sitting in the waiting area people were talking to each other about how many mocks they took. One girl asked me how many mock did you take? I said- none and I asked how many you took?. She took eight mock. Then she told me “There is still time you should cancel your exam” I was so surprised and told her”why you are suggesting me to cancel my exam and this is not a nice thing to suggest someone on their exam day” She replied- “I think if someone doesn’t take a mock they shouldn’t take the exam”
Well, she was wrong I guess.
- My first station was the counseling of parents. The women were acting nice but the guy was laughing thanks to Allah I didn’t laugh with him. I passed that one.
- The second station was IV cannula. I was completely gutted and feeling fainted. In the cubicle, there were 4/3 people. When I was doing canula my young patient was laughing and my examiner was just beside me watching what I was doing wrong. Well, I couldn’t able to do cannula and failed at this station just for 1 mark due to my nervousness.
- The third station was a counseling station I was hardly trying to forget about my last station it was very difficult to control thinking. I passed. After that station, I just forced myself not to think about that station which I screwed very hard.
- My 4th to the 16th station was smooth. I only failed one among them. It wasn’t my fault though the patient was very difficult to handle. She was talking I didn’t stop her and the pass mark was e.g. 6.02 and I got 6.
- the 16th station was the urinary catheter. I was like are you kidding me? I was so sure I will fail the station. It was a very long station. I just went and great the patient and ask him just a few questions then just jump into the procedure completed it when 6 mint bell ring just stop what I was doing and told my examiner I assume I’ll finish the procedure. Then the examiner asked what you will do just describe I told him. Then I went to my patient and explain my management. Though I was sure I failed I passed with a very good mark.
- My 18th station was a pregnant woman. I failed with a very good mark just for 0.20 mark. Badion was luck.
- End my very last station was rest. Where I was remembering all the mistake I did.
Alhamdulillah, I passed.
In my whole life, I helped people unconditionally as much as possible and I strongly believe that Allah rewarded me for this. I also grateful to my friends and family who helped me at that time.
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Next- Coming soon- My suggestion on how to prepare for PLAB 2