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How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Parin Patel

If you are a doctor preparing for your GMC PLAB 1 exam, this this blog is a must to help you pass. We are lucky to have Dr Parin Patel – an IMG (International Medical Graduate) doctor who recently passed his PLAB 1 exam at first sitting – share his experience of how he prepared and passed…

– Join the Arora PLAB 1 Telegram teaching group here
– Register for our next Free PLAB 1 Webinar here
– Start using the Arora PLAB 1 Ultimate package here.

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How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Parin Patel


Greetings to the person reading! I am a doctor from India and I originally planned my PLAB journey back in 2020 – just as the whole world was realising what Covid was. I have faced several challenges so far – highlighting the importance of being very sure of why you wish to shift to the UK before you start your own journey. 

I had to answer this question many times and I’m sure I will until I get my registration – the constant challenges can lead to lots of self doubts!

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Parin Patel

What is PLAB 1?

It is an 180 question MCQ exam, with 5 choices for each question. Total exam time is 3 hours – ie on average one MCQ per minute. The exam tests three aspects: a) Assessment, b) Management and c) Knowledge and Experience. Remember the most important thing – it DOES NOT test your ability to memorise facts – more important is APPLICATION of knowledge. For full details of the PLAB 1 exam read our blog here.

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Parin Patel

PLAB 1 Booking

I was a full time working professional with Covid19 duties and when I decided to book PLAB 1, no exam seats were available for 6-8 months (not even OET or IELTS) – eventually it took me almost 1.5 years to get a seat and take PLAB 1. Patience is the first thing to remember if planning for PLAB 1!

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Parin Patel

Preparation and Exam Expectations

As a full time Covid duty junior doctor, I would come home tired after 12 hours of duty and crash with no time remaining to study. I started with Dr. Arora’s Audiobook course which I downloaded to my phone – I would listen to it on my work commutes. This gave me an understanding of how medicine works in the UK system – for example NICE guidelines. The audiobook is designed in a way that the GMC PLAB Blueprint contents are covered. For a more visual and more comprehensive course, watch a sample of our PLAB 1 Online Course.

Then I came across one of Dr Arora’s free PLAB 1 webinars which made me realise what PLAB 1 is actually testing – not just knowledge alone. Technique and approach matters in a big way. Even if I knew what the question was about, I marked it wrong due to gaps in my technique. These webinars (and more so the Arora Mocks) taught me how to not lose silly marks in the real exam. 

Another major factor in PLAB 1 is time management. Once you get trapped by a long question you can start to lose time very quickly. This is where Mocks are important – I used the Arora mock bundles (part of the PLAB 1 Ultimate Package)- they are built in such a way as to mimic the actual exam. They also provided me with an overall assessment as to where I was lacking with my time management. I also used Plabable’s question bank for more regular practice.

Social media is also invaluable – there is so much free teaching available that you should take advantage of. For example I used free YouTube videos as well as quick learning on Instagram (I found Dr Arora’s filtered video clips to be a good source of de stressing as well!).

In my view the ideal preparation time is approximately 3 months – however if working full time this may increase to around 4 months. Watch this video which covers 3 things to focus on in preparation. Join the Arora PLAB 1 Telegram teaching group here for daily PLAB 1 teaching.

Our PLAB 1 Ultimate Package (containing online course, mocks, audiobook and flashcards) is designed to focus both on knowledge and technique.

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Parin Patel

To bear in mind…

No matter how much information you see on social media about ‘just doing a question bank’ and that ‘PLAB 1 is an easy exam’ – remember these are MYTHS. We do need a dual approach to exam preparation (as Dr Arora frequently says) – questions + knowledge build. Nowadays most doctors tend to agree on one thing – PLAB 1 is getting trickier and harder day by day. Watch this video for 3 reasons that doctors fail PLAB 1.

Make sure you get your basics right – from guidelines to prescribing – as well as an understanding of how clinical management in the UK system works. Someone like Dr. Arora – who gives out original and updated content and can be trusted genuinely – should be used. I did come across many different resources that just copy the material and then charge you for it – do beware that these may have wrong answers and outdated guidelines.

From my experience, the actual exam never replicates any one platform available online – both in terms of content and style. You are always expected to know something from every subject – be ‘jack of all trades and master of none”. Do not attempt to leave a subject that doesn’t interest you. 

Finally, you must believe in yourself every time something unexpected happens. Just remember why you started this journey in the first place. Best of luck from my side for your preparations and a big thank you to Dr. Arora and a warm hug for helping me achieve my goals. I look forward to Arora’s support in my PLAB 2 preparation!

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Parin Patel

How Arora can help Pass PLAB 1…

To use Arora’s All-in-One PLAB 1 Ultimate Package click here

To see all Arora PLAB 1 resources (mocks, online course, flashcards etc) click here

To join Dr Aman’s next free PLAB 1 Booster Webinar click here: Free PLAB 1 Webinars

To download our latest free PLAB 1 daily planner programme, click here

For IMG doctors the PLAB 1 exam will be replaced by the UKMLA AKT. Check out our introductory guide to the UKMLA exam here. 

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Parin Patel

PLAB 1 Videos that will help…

Watch my video ‘Focus on these 3 things to Pass PLAB‘ here.

Author Bio — Dr Aman Arora

Hello and welcome to Arora Medical Education! I am a Portfolio GP with a 24/7/365 passion for helping you fly through your medical exams and maximise your career. You can find out more about me here.

I’ve been fortunate to teach over 50,000 doctors globally through a combination of face-to-face, online, audio and social teaching, helping them pass exams such as MRCGP AKT and RCAMSRA and PLAB. You can find out more about my previous roles and qualifications here.

Feel free to contact me with any thoughts, questions or ideas to help you reach your potential. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Author Bio — Dr Pooja Arora

Dr Pooja Arora is a GP with a background in Medical Politics, where she passionately focuses on improving the opportunities and working conditions for junior doctors. She is proud to hold FRCGP (Fellow of Royal College of General Practitioners).

You can find out more about Pooja’s previous roles and qualifications here.

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