Taimoor Hameed’s PLAB 2 Experience
Starting in the name of Almighty Allah, the most beneficent. It all started “just like that”. One day I was preparing for my USMLE step 1 and the next day I was preparing for IELTS.
I prepared for IELTS and got the required bands and this is how my journey to the UK started. “He is the biggest planner of all”. Indeed, Make as many plans as you can, but He will decide what’s best for you.
PLAB 2 HomeWork
After I was done with my PLAB 1, I started researching for my option for preparation of PLAB 2. It was one of the toughest decisions to make because I knew that it might not be possible for me to give another attempt of PLAB 2 because of my personal circumstances, so it was kind of do or die situation for me. After asking around from ex-Plabbers I decided that I should go for Common Stations.
PLAB 2 Visa
The next hurdle was the process of PLAB 2 visa. Normally people get their visas rejected only because of some silly mistake or ignorance on their behalf. Otherwise, it was a pretty smooth process for me. I followed all the guidelines present on Dr Naseer’s website and my visa came within a few days. I applied for a leave from my workplace. Fortunately, I was able to get 2 months of leave from my hospital.
Travel to the UK
The next thing I knew was, I was in England, my dream place. I never stayed away from my home. I never went to another city within Pakistan for more than a few days, let alone flying all the way to the UK and then spending two months there, but like I said, He had bigger plans for me. I made new friends there. People in the UK are very friendly and respectful. Living there was as easy as it is in my homeland.
Academy was a tough job, we had to study 10 to 12 hours every day there. Dr Hamed is the best of the best teachers I have ever encountered in my life. It is a general concept that PLAB 2 is a very easy exam but its not, Trust me, it is not. It is going to be one of the most nerve breaking exams in your life; spending 20 days in the academy’s tough conditions is not easy. And then practicing with different people from different parts of the world. And then the huge pressure of the exam itself was too much for me.
I do not know how, but everything went so smoothly and looks like a pleasant dream now. Dr Hamed taught everything very deeply and helped in making concepts for everything. We did not have to cram anything at all. At the end of the course, everything was crystal clear. Everything started to look very easy after those 20 days. I was left with 4 weeks of practice.
I practiced with my colleagues from India, Bangladesh, Armenia, Pakistan and Nigeria. Practicing with different people from different ethnicities is a very important thing. We doctors from Pakistan have a very strong grip on history taking, management and examinations (because of the number of OSPE/OSCE that we have to give during MBBS) but we are very bad at interpersonal skills and that is the core of PLAB 2. So I learnt those skills from different people and at the end of 4 weeks. I was pretty confident that I could do this.
Travel to Manchester
I went to Manchester 2 days before my exam. I booked my train using the Trainline app. Please try to book the train as early as possible and keep an eye on fares. They drop suddenly sometimes. You would not believe but I booked my return ticket for £24.
Stay in Manchester
I booked Ibis Budget that is on Pollard Street in Manchester. I booked it using booking.com. It is a very user-friendly website and it offers cheap lodgings. I always use this website and it always helps me. I took some rest there. I went out and had some fresh air. I never study a day before the exam. That is what I did there too. I just relaxed my nerves.
On the exam day, I was very anxious. I think that is natural. Everyone was anxious but the main tip that I will give to my fellow Plabbers is that, everyone messes up their first station. EVERYONE. So that is nothing to worry about. Consider your first station as a “try ball” and you will be very relaxed in the next stations. Simulators are very clear, and examiners are very friendly. Most of the times you will be able to make the diagnosis before entering the cubical, just by reading the task.
After the Exam
After I completed all my stations, I was over whelmed with a lot of fear and confusion, I later got to know that everyone goes through the same phase as I did. So you should know that it’s pretty common and pretty normal. You will feel like you have failed all the stations. But do not worry, you will not. You will see a lot of confused and sad faces on Hardman Street that day, but all of those faces pass the exam. So there is nothing to worry about. Just follow the basics and you will be fine.
In the end, I would like to thank my family, my fiancé, my fellows from Common Stations and Dr Hamed & his team. Thank you for being a blessing for me. Alhamdullilah!