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How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Leticia Spangler

If you are a doctor preparing for your GMC PLAB 1 exam, this blog is a must to help you pass. We are lucky to have Dr Leticia Spangler – an IMG (International Medical Graduate) doctor who recently passed her PLAB 1 exam at first sitting – share her experience of how she 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 Leticia Spangler


Hello all! I recently passed PLAB 1 and was invited by Dr Aman to share my personal experience with  preparation for the exam. I hope it helps if you are preparing for PLAB 1 yourself!

Firstly I’d like to highlight that if you are preparing for PLAB 1, it means you’ve already cleared some  stages on your UK journey – so well done! My number one piece of advice is to take one day at a time… and one victory at a time. Foresight is fundamental to be well prepared but the whole process can be overwhelming, so if we break it into small pieces and do it one by one, it becomes easier to deal with. 

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Leticia Spangler

Pre PLAB 1

My preparation began with detailed planning. I graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic and went  straight to work on the frontline, so my start was a bit hectic and the delays caused by the pandemic  greatly impacted my journey. I did not let that bring me down however, and I sat down with a calendar and took notes of all the important deadlines according to the GMC website and the Foundation Programme guidebook. After having it all mapped out, I started looking into resources to prepare for the PLAB 1 exam. 

For full details of the PLAB 1 exam read our blog here.

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Leticia Spangler

My PLAB 1 Preparation

There is no doubt that your preparation should be based on the GMC blueprint, however I found it a little vague (naturally it must encompass all medical knowledge from years of medical school, so it cannot be very specific). 

I then decided to do some reading to solidify my knowledge from medical school as well as to familiarise myself with the UK guidelines. For that, the NHS website and the NICE resources are very good. Some recommend the Oxford Handbooks, but it is worth keeping in mind that some editions are outdated  and may differ from the current guidelines. NICE CKS is your best bet to keep updated. 

If you are like me and thrive with structured studying, I recommend Dr Aman’s PLAB 1 Online Video Course. It helped me focus on high yield information from the guidelines – one can struggle to filter and learn the information without this kind of guidance and structured approach. On top of watching the videos, I also had the Arora PLAB 1 Audio Course on my phone, so I could learn on the go. Be it washing the dishes, going for a walk, driving  to work – I always had a lesson playing – and when the exam date arrived, I knew the information by heart. These two courses are concise and help you recall and enhance the knowledge you acquired in medical school years. 

I also decided to go through a question bank to help me familiarise with the type of questions I would face on the day of the exam. It is important to pick a question bank with updated content, developed in the UK by doctors with knowledge of the guidelines. Another point to consider is that after doing a thousand questions from the same source, you end up getting used to the way the questions are written. For that reason, I found it fundamental to practice questions from different sources. Dr Aman’s PLAB 1 Mocks are great for that purpose since they provide you with different questions and are timed – so you can learn to manage your time for the day of the exam. Time management is of the utmost importance. 

For our most comprehensive PLAB 1 package (containing all of the above and more), see PLAB 1 Ultimate here.

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Leticia Spangler


My strategy was to read the main guidelines for a topic, then watch Dr Aman’s chapter on that same topic, and then finally go through the question bank. I left the mocks for the last part of my preparation, and had a full week of only mocks close to the exam date – this allowed me to get into “exam mode”. 

Since I was working whilst preparing and because I could only book a PLAB 1 seat months away, I had a long time to prepare. I am positive however that preparation can be done in less time, if you can dedicate a big part of your day to it.  

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

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Leticia Spangler

Exam Day Tips

Try to rest beforehand and do not stress too much with last minute revision. Check some facts and notes if a doubt comes to mind, but there is no point in trying to read everything you have studied all those weeks the day before the exam. Relax, eat well, and sleep a reasonable amount. 

On the day of the exam check your documents before you leave for the exam centre, make sure you have everything you will need with you (pencil, eraser, water and your passport). 

During  the exam try to mark your answer sheet as you go, for you will not have time to do it afterwards. And remember to breathe. 

After the exam, go for a walk, have a nice meal and relax. You deserve it! 

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Leticia Spangler

And finally...

Everyone will have a different approach to PLAB 1 and of course no tip or method is universal. 

This is the strategy that worked for me, and I passed the exam with 80%. Maybe you will feel more confident if you practice more questions, or maybe you will need more reading, and that is why I recommend the Ultimate Package, for it has a bit of everything and you can use the resources as you see fit for your needs. 

As my parting words, I would like to wish you all success on your journey. It is common to wish “good  luck”, but with the right preparation and dedication there is no need for luck – the results come as a fruit  of your hard work. Be strong, keep focused and take care. See you all in the UK (and at the Arora PLAB 2 Academy)!

How I Passed PLAB 1 first time: Dr Leticia Spangler

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 Leticia Spangler

PLAB 1 Videos that will help…

Watch my video ‘3 Trends that I see in those who Fail PLAB 1‘ here. 

Watch my video ‘3 Trends that I see in those who Fail PLAB 1‘ 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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