How to Plan for PLAB 2 & Course/Academy

When's the best time to appear in PLAB 2? When should I book a PLAB 2 course? Will I need a valid IELTS for PLAB 2? What about the UK Visa?
How to plan for PLAB 2 and course

When do I take PLAB 2?
What are the available dates for PLAB 2?
When do I attend PLAB 2 course?
Do I need “IELTS for UKVI” for PLAB 2 or PLAB 2 Visa?

Maybe your PLAB 1 results will come out in a few days and you are sweating OR you have that sweet, sweet email of passing the PLAB 1 (within a month or so after you exam), you are floating on a cloud. For both cases come back to reality. In my opinion, at this stage, you’ve just walked out from your home for a long journey.

Now, the first and foremost thing- BOOK PLAB 2.

Dates available for PLAB 2

Unlike PLAB 1, this exam CANNOT be taken outside the UK, and it happens round the year. That means that PLAB 2 exam dates are available almost every months (less around the August and late December). The available dates for PLAB 2 can only be seen from your GMC Online account after you have passed PLAB 1.

PLAB 2 takes place only in Manchester. So you need the following things to be done immediately after you hear the good news of passing PLAB 1:

  • Find the available dates for booking PLAB 2 from “My Tests” section of your GMC Online account (You can only do that after passing PLAB 1). Decide on a date first that works best for you (don’t just pay and book at once). All your next steps follow this date.
  • Now, booking a PLAB 2 preparatory course. Yes, there are cases where people passed without attending a course – but if you don’t feel confident enough, I will suggest that you attend a course.

Which PLAB 2 course/academy should I choose?

People have a lot of different reasons for choosing a particular course/academy. Maybe their friends are going there, maybe they have found better accommodation nearby. So, many things come into play while choosing a course. But, in my opinion, the most important things to always consider while planning the course are:

  • Course start and end dates that align with your PLAB 2 exam date. The dates of the course should be chosen in a way so that you have at least 3-4 weeks of practice time, AFTER the course and BEFORE the exam date. More explanations are given below.
  • Try and find at least one reliable source to give you a review about the latest situation in the academy. Facebook reviews from the people who attended the course years ago, are of little help.
  • If you don’t personally know someone who attended the course recently, you may have to rely on what you find online. But, keep in mind anyone can be typing anything on the internet.
  • For good measure, always ensure your course teachers hold or have previously held GMC registration. This is important because that means they’ve gone down this road before, they understand where you’re starting at and what you’re working towards, and they’ve also had to endure this type of an exam in the past. It wouldn’t make much sense to have tutors for an exam they themselves have not cleared, wouldn’t you agree?
  • You can search for any doctor on the GMC official website to see what their status currently is on the registry. Whether they have relinquished, got their GMC registration erased, or no longer hold a license to practice. There may be other variations that is not mentioned here, but if a doctor has EVER held a GMC registration, their name will be in the register. Here is where you can SEARCH THE GMC REGISTER.
  • [Disclaimer: I am not advertising for these academies, nor am I receiving any sort of remuneration from them. I have only listed them as these are the ones most often gone to in order to prepare for PLAB 2. If you hear good things about other academies you surely can attend them, but remember the course start date and the pointers above. That’s all.)

PLAB 2 courses generally are 12-18 days including review classes and mock tests, so if you choose a course that is in the second week of March, it gives you almost 4 weeks or more AFTER the course and BEFORE the exam on 25th April. I can’t emphasize enough how vital is this to plan beforehand. The course will end and you will need that time on your own to review the materials and prepare yourself through practice.

  • Preparations and application for your UK VISA for PLAB 2. This is huge. I have discussed the whole process in three separate posts containing how to approach the online application, gathering necessary supporting documents and final preparation for applying for visa.

Check out the posts regarding UK Visa application for PLAB 2 here in this category,  UK Visa Guidance for PLAB 2.

An example of “how to plan for PLAB 2 & course/academy”

So let me clarify with an example, what your actions will be sequentially.

  1. Choosing a PLAB 2 date

    Let’s say you choose, 25th April, 2019 for PLAB 2. (Provided in December 2018, you got your November 2018 exam results)

  2. Deciding on a PLAB 2 course

    Try contacting your chosen preparatory course academy to know whether there are any available courses in March 2019.

  3. Book the PLAB 2 exam from GMC Online

    After your course given a green signal, you go ahead and book BOTH course and PLAB 2 (after paying through the portal like PLAB 1 in the GMC online account, you’ll receive a PLAB 2 booking confirmation email; that’s a very important document).

  4. Start preparing for your UK Visit visa

    It should be ending December 2018 by now and the FINAL THING, you start preparing for your PLAB 2 visa. One week or so should be spent in collecting all the necessary documents, and by mid January 2019 you apply for the UK Visa. It ideally takes 15 days to get a decision on a visa. If you it takes longer or less than this time period, do not automatically assume that you’ve been rejected. I have seen a period of 10-21 days for people to get a response.

Summary of the plan for PLAB 2

  • December 2018 – Passed PLAB 1 taken in November 2018
    • [Choose a date in late April 2019 for PLAB 2]
    • [Contact an academy for available courses in early to mid March 2019]
  • December 2018 – Book for PLAB 2 and PLAB 2 course.
  • January 2019 – Apply for a Standard Business Visitor Visa.
  • February 2019 – Shopping and preparations, both mentally and financially.
  • March 2019 – Go to the UK.
  • April 2019 – Sit for the PLAB 2 exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply for a visitor visa without booking (paying) for PLAB 2?

Short answer, No. Long answer, depends on the reason for your visit visa application.

Visa applications need a reason, why do you have the need to go in that country. The explanation and justification of that reason is in your hand. A Standard Visitor visa can be issued for multiple purposes. You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:

  • for leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends
  • for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
  • for another reason, for example to receive private medical treatment

And also the Standard Visitor visa hasreplaced the:

  • Family Visitor visa
  • General Visitor visa
  • Child Visitor visa
  • Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
  • Sports Visitor visa
  • Entertainer Visitor visa
  • Prospective Entrepreneur visa
  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa

For further details regarding this type of visa, check more here in the Standard Visitor Visa for UK.

UK visa application for PLAB 2 can be a huge ordeal and trust me you can do it on your own. Check all the posts in this category, UK Visa Guidance for PLAB 2, preferably sequentially, to have an idea.

So as we can see, if you’ve family in the UK, you can apply for a visitor visa to just visit them and justify that reason with their invitations and your plan accordingly.

And, yes, even if you never mention about taking the PLAB tests either in your visa application or in the immigration – you can still take the exam so long you’re not illegally in the UK.

To summarize, if you haven’t booked your PLAB 2 yet, and still want to apply for a visitor visa, you’ll have to have that flexibility. Otherwise, if you have no other way or reason to be in the UK than PLAB 2, you’ll have to book it before you apply for your visa.

Do I need “IELTS for UKVI” for PLAB 2 or PLAB 2 Visa?

No. To appear in PLAB 2, you won’t have to take any sorts of IELTS again nor for the application for Standard Visitor Visa for PLAB 2.

To know more about IELTS and IELTS for UKVI and UK NARIC, check this English Language Proficiency for PLAB, GMC Registration & Tier 2 Visa.

Now that you have a tentative outline on how to go about planning for the PLAB 2, there should be no reason for you to worry. Good luck!

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