Anonymous REPOST for a friend. Their account was deactivated due to unknown reasons. I will post replies for them to your questions maybe once or twice a day. It’s a good message so I don’t mind sharing this with everyone. Hope it helps.
Hey guys this is going to be a LONG post so I’m sorry in advance. These groups are a gold mine for gathering information and helping each other to get through the PLAB exam so I’m just leaving my two cents/advice. I just did the September PLAB 1 exam and actually wanted to wait until the results come out to post this but then I remembered many of you will take the exam in November. So if I get to help even one person, I’ll take that as a win.
First of all the exam was difficult. It’s not because the questions were hard, it’s just that we were conditioned in a certain way to recall things with limited information. Of course it’s our fault for relying on one or maybe two sources but following what past Plabbers did usually works so I didn’t think twice about it. However I always had a doubt that the exam might not come straight from Plabable ever since the March 2019 exam was difficult for many. So I will cover what I did (in detail) and what I think I should’ve done (in short) to give everyone an idea of what they should aim for (this is the main reason for writing this post before the results).
- Study partner(s)
- Flash cards
First of all take 1700 and throw it out the window. It’s not useful anymore because Plabable and MedRevisions cover the questions in detail. If you really have a lot of time in your hands then by all means go for it, it’s still a decent additional source.
It was deemed the best source to study from by pretty much everyone I talked to or read online . I went through most of the sections 3 times and everything else twice. I read through the explanations each of these times carefully (took down notes and clinchers the first time and read through the explanations each subsequent time). I also completed all of their mocks which accounts for another time. I reviewed all the questions I got wrong and wrote down the questions I wasn’t sure about and reviewed those. I got 87 and above in every mock and finished them between 1.5 hours to 2 hours. So essentially I went through most of the topics 4 times and the others 3 times. You could say I felt confident by the end of this and if you followed the study guides of the past you can understand why.
20 pounds/ 3 months
25 pounds/ 5 months
- Study partner(s)
This was a very important step for me. I am a fresh graduate and the only clinical practice I had was my internship (which wasn’t much to be honest and I didn’t really get to do much besides follow the doctors in rounds). We basically went through all the questions on Plabable answering and discussing them. We did Plabable by ourself first and then went through the questions we did the week before together so it was kind of fresh in our minds but we also got to discuss the questions we forgot. This took a lot longer than we expected but it was one of the best things I did to prepare as we found out that one of us understood some topics better and had funny/weird ways of memorizing and understanding material. This step is best done with 1 or 2 other people with around the same knowledge as you. It helps you understand where you are and what you need to work on.
My philosophy is that past exams don’t lie. It’s the best source to understand what examiners want to ask you and how they form questions. I quickly realized that many recalls were incomplete and it was a waste of time. However I was adamant about finishing some of them. My original plan was to do all the recalls from 2017 until the past June 2019 exam (10). I ended up doing 6 (2018 - June 2019).
This is one of the main reasons for writing this post so early as I found it EXTREMELY helpful. So like I said before although I studied everything recommended, I felt that it wasn’t enough. I didn’t want to go into the exam with such a feeling so I was looking for a source to brush up on my knowledge. I was looking through Facebook groups, WhatsApp groups and asking people around and came across this website. Medrevisions more than delivered on what I was looking for and as a matter of fact, I wish I used it as the main source of study. As I said, I followed the plan by what everyone said so I didn’t have much time with this but I made sure I used it to my full benefit. Since many of you might be unfamiliar with this website, and I assume I will get a lot of questions about it, I will go ahead and try to list the features they offer and what I found helpful in the short time frame so you can have an idea.
They have a dedicated PLAB question bank with over 3500 questions. This includes the recalls and new questions to cover the blueprint given by the GMC. This includes MLA style questions, longer questions (as seen in March 2019 exam) and the usual PLAB style questions.
There’s a short description for the reasons behind the answers and a long detailed section called “Study Notes”. The notes gather information from a certain topic and put it into one place. So if you want to study a section fully to know everything you need for that topic, they got it covered. Luckily for me, one of the mocks I did included the Alzheimer’s gene asked in the September 2019 exam.
There’s a graph that shows what percentage you got in each section alongside others so you can see your strong and weak sections clearly. This wasn’t very big deal, I just thought I’d include it as I found it interesting.
The next three are the most important/helpful features.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of spaced repetition, it just basically means that if you study something repeatedly over a certain period of time when you’re just about to forget it, you recall it better. Medrevisions has a program dedicated to this. Every question you miss in the question bank or mock is automatically added to the smart revision program and you can practice them over and over until you finally remember it. You can also manually add questions that you’re not sure about. I thought this was super helpful in recall and understanding.
This is the main reason for me to join with a short time left. They have over 20 mocks that you can do. However the best feature is that it’s customizable. Sometimes I didn’t always have 3 hours to complete a mock. They allow you to customize the time and the questions. I frequently found myself doing 30 minute mocks with 30 questions or 60 minute mocks with 60 questions so it’s pretty much up to you.
Reset the question bank
Although I didn’t get to use this feature I thought it would be the icing on the cake for many of you. You can reset the question bank for FREE and attempt the questions again and that’s a feature we were all waiting for.
The prices were in line with other question banks and in my opinion they offered a lot more features. I didn’t mind paying the amount as it helped me fully prepare.
FULL DISCLOSURE: They have a referral program where you would receive 5 USD if someone signs up using your link and the person signing up would receive a 10% discount. You can use my code to sign up if you decide because it’s a win win for both of us BUT this is NOT a post for me to gain anything. I didn’t take all this time for this post just to gain 5 USD from anyone so I will include both my link and the normal link. If you do decide to buy it, share YOUR code with your friends so the financial burden is a little less on everyone (we definitely need it).
34 USD/ 3 months
48 USD/ 6 months
74 USD/ 1 year
139 USD/ 3 years
Plus 10% discount if you sign up with a referral code
My referral code
- Flash cards
By the time I was through the question banks it was quite simple to diagnose the disease from the stems given. Me and my partners wrote flash cards for the investigations and the treatment for any and all topics were not sure about. This ended up being really helpful as the exam mainly asked for these. We only had a few days to go through it though so I wish I spend more time (maybe at least the last week) going over these everyday.
What I should’ve done
- I should’ve started with medrevisions as the main source question bank and notes just cover everything and I could’ve been a lot more prepared. I got it just for the mocks and it still ended up being helpful.
- Plabable for the group discussions because that would test the knowledge asked in the past exams and since it has fairly simple explanations we would’ve understood everything in one go before the mocks.
- Continuous Medrevisions mocks to test my recall and Plabable mocks in the end (last two weeks)so I know where I stand.
- Flash cards last week to ensure I knew the treatment and investigations inside and out.
Ok so that’s it! I’m sorry the post is SUPER LONG. I tried to ensure that I covered everything in detail so you won’t need to ask a lot of questions to clarify things. It also took me a lot longer than expected to write this post and that’s when I realized it was this long. If you do have questions just leave them in the comments. I will try to answer them to the best of my ability and there are so many helpful people in this community who will do the same. Good luck on your preparations and I really hope this helped someone! If you have any helpful tips, please share in the group as it has helped me a lot