About PLAB Part I Examination 2017

Part 1: Part 1 is a computer-marked written examination which is a multiple choice option sort of paper, known as single best answer (SBA) questions. The time duration of paper is three years which requires 200 questions to be completed within it. This part is conducted in a number of countries including Bangladesh, Egypt (Cairo), India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka.

Skills of PLAB part 1 test

Four groups of skills will be tested in approximately equal proportions:

  1. Diagnosis: You are given the basic demographics about a patient (such as age, sex, nature of presenting symptoms, duration of symptoms) on the basis of which you are to select the most possible diagnosis from a range of possibilities.

  2. Investigations: This may refer to the selection or the interpretation of diagnostic tests. In this part of testing, given the demographics and sypmtoms of a patient you will be asked to recommend a test which would move the treatment ahead. Alternatively, you may be given the findings of investigations which you have to analyse so as to describe patient's condition at that position or to choose the most appropriate next course of action.

  3. Management: This section tests your skill of which course of treatment will you choose from the possibilities available given the important facts about a patient's condition. Also you are expected to know which drug therapy treatment you will choose for the patient and the sideeffects it will have on the patient.

  4. Others: These may include:

    1. Explanation of disease process: The natural history of disease will be tested with reference to basic physiology and pathology.

    2. Legal/ethical: You should be aware of the major legal and ethical principles set out in the GMC publication Duties of a Doctor.

    3. Practice of evidence based medicine: Questions on diagnosis, investigations and management may draw upon recent evidence published in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, there may be questions on the principles and practice of evidence-based medicine.

    4. Understanding of epidemiology: You are expected to be tested on the principles of epidemiology, and important diseases prevailing in the UK.

    5. Health promotion: How the disease can be prevented through health promotion and knowledge of risk factors.

    6. Awareness of multicultural society: You may be tested on your appreciation of the impact on the practice of medicine of the health beliefs and your attitude towards the various cultural groups present in the UK population.

    7. Application of scientific understanding to medicine

Content of part 1 of PLAB exam (new format since 2004 september)

The skills that are tested in part 1 is mostly related to presenting patients, whether for acute diseases or chronic ones. Questions in Part 1 will begin with a title which specifies both the skill and the content, for example, The management of varicose veins.

You should have knowledge of conditions that are common or important in the United Kingdom for all of the systems outlined below. Examples of the cases that may be asked about are given under each heading and may appear under more than one heading.

These examples are for illustration and the list is not exhaustive. Other similar conditions might appear in the examination.

  1. Cases related to accident and emergency medicine (to include trauma and burns) Examples: Abdominal injuries, abdominal pain, back pain, bites and stings, breathlessness/wheeze, bruising and purpura, burns, chest pain, collapse, coma, convulsions, diabetes, epilepsy, eye problems, fractures, dislocations, head injury, loss of consciousness, non-accidental injury, sprains and strains, testicular pain.

  2. All complications related to blood (to include coagulation defects) Examples: Anemia's, bruising and purpura.

  3. Problems related to Cardiovascular system (to include heart and blood vessels and blood pressure) Examples: Aortic aneurysm, chest pain, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), diagnosis and management of hypertension, heart failure, ischaemic limbs, myocardial infarction, myocardial ischaemic, stroke, varicose veins.

  4. Skin related diseases i.e.. Dermatology, allergy, immunology and infectious diseases Examples: Allergy, fever and rashes, influenza/pneumonia, meningitis, skin cancers.

  5. Optical problems: ENT and eyes Examples: Earache, hearing problems, hoarseness, difficulty in swallowing, glaucoma, ‘red eyes’ sudden visual loss.

  6. Problems relating to female reproductive system (to include obstetrics, gynecology and breast) Examples: Abortion/sterilization, breast lump, contraception, infertility, menstrual disorders, menopausal symptoms, normal pregnancy, postnatal problems, pregnancy complications, vaginal disorders.

  7. Gastrointestinal tract, liver and biliary system, and nutrition problems and diseases: Examples: Abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty in swallowing, digestive disorders, gastrointestinal bleeding, jaundice, rectal bleeding/pain, vomiting, weight problems.

  8. Metabolism, endocrinology and diabetes Examples: Diabetes mellitus, thyroid disorders, weight problems.

  9. Knowledge regarding nervous system (curing through both medical and surgical) Examples: Coma, convulsions, dementia, epilepsy, eye problems, headache, loss of consciousness, vertigo.

  10. Orthopedics and rheumatology Examples: Back pain, fractures, dislocations, joint pain/swelling, sprains and strains.

  11. Psychiatry (to include substance abuse) Examples: Alcohol abuse, anxiety, assessing suicidal risk, dementia, depression, drug abuse, overdoses and self harm, panic attacks, postnatal problems.

  12. All the problems related to Renal System (to include urinary tract and genitourinary medicine) Examples: Haematuria, renal and ureteric calculi, renal failure, sexual health, testicular pain, urinary infections.

  13. Respiratory system Examples: Asthma, breathlessness/wheeze, cough, hemoptysis, hoarseness, influenza/pneumonia.

  14. Knowledge for curing disorders of childhood (ranging from all non-accidental injury and child sexual abuse; fetal medicine; growth and development) Examples: Abdominal pain, asthma, child development, childhood illnesses, earache, epilepsy, eye problems, fever and rashes, joint pain/swelling, loss of consciousness, meningitis, non-accidental injury, testicular pain, urinary disorders.

  15. Disorders of the elderly (to include palliative care) Examples: Breathlessness, chest pain, constipation, dementia, depression, diabetes, diarrhoea, digestive disorders, headache, hearing problems influenza/pneumonia, jaundice, joint pain/swelling, loss of consciousness, pain relief, terminal care, trauma, urinary disorders, vaginal disorders, varicose veins, vertigo, vomiting.

  16. Peri-operative management Examples: Pain relief, shock

How to approach the extended matching question examination (part 1 plab-EMQ)

The examination paper will contain 200 questions in the extended matching and SBA (single best answer) format. divided into a number of themes.

Each theme has a heading which carifies its intension as to what are you supposed to do in the theme, in terms both of the clinical problem area (e. g. Chronic joint pain) and the skill required (e. g. Diagnosis).

Each theme covers almost 4 to 6 questions which are to be answered by you. There are examples below:

The instruction before the questions should be carefully read. The instruction is very similar throughout the paper and typically reads ‘For each scenario below, choose the SINGLE most discriminating investigation from the above list of options. Each option may be used once, more than once or not at all.’

Read the question and try to answer it yourself before looking at the options. Try to find that option in the list of options. In case you don't find it, look through the list and look for the option which best suits as the answer.

You are supposed to choose only one option for each question. Though it may appear to you that more than one options are suitable, choose only one which appears most likely to you. In case you choose two or more, you won't be given marks though the options may include the correct answer.

In each theme there are more options than items, so not all the options will be used as answers. Therefore, instruction says that some options may not be used at all.

A given option may provide the answer to more than one item. For example, there might be two items which contain descriptions of patients, and the most likely diagnosis could be the same in both instances. In this case the option would be used more than once.

You will be awarded one mark for each item answered correctly.