About PLAB Part II Examination 2016

Part 2: Consists of an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). This Part of the test is conducted only in the city of Manchester, United Kingdom. It consists of 14 clinical stations, a pilot station and a rest station. The pilot station is usually unannounced and mixed with the clinical stations. The marks scored in the pilot station does not form a part of the final scoring of the test. All the stations are given a time duration of 5 minutes each to be completed. The level of difficulty of the clinical part of the PLAB exam is set so as to be satisfactory for the level of a senior house officer (SHO) in a first appointment in a UK hospital. Clinical examination, practical skills, communication skills, and history taking are the type of skills which are assessed in this test.

Centre is now only GMC centre London with a capacity of 13000 exams in one year!

The aim of the OSCE is to test your clinical and communication skills. Hence the design of exam is such where you can practically put your knowledge into action and can be assessed that way.

Overall nature of PLAB Part II Exam

When you enter the examination room, you will find a series of booths, These booths are known as ‘stations’ Each such station requires you to perform a task, be it examining a patient or demonstrating some sort of treatment on an anatomical model. Details of the tasks are explained below under ‘Content’

There will also be two rest stations in the circuit. These station may have task or may not have. The task which can be offered is to write something about the station you are about to go to or the station you have just left. In case no instructions are provided to you, be quiet at the station until the bell rings signalling the end of that station.

Its compulsory that you perform all tasks. The details of which station you have to start with will be given to you as soon as you enter the exam hall. Each task will last five minutes.

Read the instructions posted outside the station carefully. An example might be:

“Mr McKenzie has been referred to you in a rheumatology clinic because he has joint pains. Please take a short history to establish supportive evidence for a differential diagnosis.”

A bell will ring signalling you to enter the station. There will be an examiner in each station. You are not allowed to talk to the examiner unless and until specified in the instructions to direct your remarks to him. Do the task as written in the instructions. A warning bell will be ring after four minutes 30 seconds. And after 5 minutes the final bell will ring, at which you have to immediately leave the room and go and wait outside the next station. If you finish the task before time, wait inside the station but you are not allowed to talk to the examiner or to the patient during this time.

Your waiting period outside the station will be 1 minute in which you have to read the instructions for the task in this station. After one minute a bell will ring, after which you have to enter the station and undertake the task as instructed.

You should continue in this way until you have completed all the tasks. You will then have finished the OSCE.

Content of the stations

Each station consists of a scenario. An examiner will be present and will observe you at work.

The scenario could be drawn from any medical specialty appropriate to a Senior House Officer (SHO).

Although the tasks you will be instructed to do will involve a number of skills, one skill will predominate over the others.

The skills which will be tested are mentioned below. They need not be necessarily in the same order. Certain examples under each sort of skill is mentioned. Please note that these are only examples; other topics will be tested.

History taking

Your candidate instructions will set the scene. A person will be acting as a patient. You have to ask and collect information to diagnose from him. He will be well-trained to answer all your questions well. You should treat him or her just as you would a real patient.

Examples: Abdominal pains, rectal bleeding, amenorrhoea, severe headache, pneumonia

Examination skills

You will be asked to examine a particular part of the body. This you will be either doing on a real body or a simulated one or on an anotomical model. You are not allowed take history or give diagnosis unless specifically asked to do so. You may be asked to explain your actions to the examiner as you go along.

Examples: Breast examination, cardiovascular examination, examination of abdomen, hip examination, knee examination

Practical skills/use of equipment

This is to assess some of the practical skills an SHO needs. The stations concerned will normally involve anatomical models rather than patients.

Examples: IV cannulation, cervical smear, suturing, blood pressure

Emergency management

These stations will test how will you react to in emergency situations and what will be your step. You may have to explain what you are doing to the patient or to the examiner. Your instructions will make this clear.

Examples: Resuscitation, chest pain, trauma

Communication skills

There will be a communication skills element in most stations. But in some stations this skill will be the principal skill tested. Areas tested may include interviewing (like appropriate questioning, active listening, explaining clearly, checking understanding) and building rapport (for example, showing empathy and respect, sensitivity to others'emotions and coping with strong emotions in others).

Examples: Instructions for discharge from hospital, explaining treatment, consent for autopsy, ectopic pregnancy explanation