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How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

If you are a doctor preparing for your GMC UKMLA PLAB 2 exam and are considering an online or livestream academy – then this blog is a must to help you pass. We are lucky to have Dr Anjana Vijayan – an IMG (International Medical Graduate) doctor who recently passed her PLAB 2 exam – share her own experience of how she prepared with our online Academy+ programme and passed first time…

– Register for our next Free UKMLA PLAB 2 Webinar here
– Join the Arora UKMLA PLAB 2 Telegram teaching group here.
– Join Arora UKMLA PLAB 2 Academy+ programme here.

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How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

Introduction

Hi I’m Anjana – an IMG from India and I passed my PLAB 2 exam in December 2023. I graduated in 2022 and I worked in a private hospital in India for a few months. I am currently awaiting my GMC registration and aim to join my first job in the NHS soon.

How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

My PLAB journey

In May 2022 I passed the OET assessment, but due to the pandemic delay I could only secure a PLAB 1 slot in May 2023. My results were announced in July and I was very lucky to secure a November 2023 slot for my PLAB 2 exam. 

Following my PLAB 2 exam (and after 4 nerve-racking weeks!), I finally received my results and found out that I had passed! It was an immense relief and I’m incredibly grateful for reaching this point.

How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

How I prepared for PLAB 2

Managing a consultation around the patient is a key aspect of the NHS. Since my knowledge and experience about patient-centred consultations were limited, I knew I had to join an academy for appropriate teaching.

I began my research on PLAB 2 academies in August and I talked to friends who were enrolled in different academies. It was around the same time I came across Dr Arora’s UKMLA PLAB 2 videos on YouTube. I had read the guidance on the GMC website and the examiners’ top tips on passing PLAB 2 and I understood that they are primarily looking for safe FY2-level doctors who can manage consultations holistically. Dr Arora’s videos made a lot of sense since he focused a lot on interpersonal skills and all issues faced by the patient – not just the medical issues.

At that point I decided to join the full Arora Academy+ package. Due to some Visa processing issues I had to join the academy online through livestream. Initially I was apprehensive about attending the full course online as I had heard a lot of my friends mention that we had to attend academies in person for best results. However looking back, I’m so glad that I proceeded with my plan nonetheless. 

Before the 10 day live teaching started I had already gone through a lot of the package material. Dr Arora had also sent a ‘pre academy’ 10 day programme to everyone highlighting certain areas of the material to go through in advance – which got me ready to make full value of the live sessions. 

In particular I watched the main online video course which gave me a general idea of the approach to multiple different case types. They were very detailed and I could watch them multiple times. I also went through the audio courses – especially focusing on the ones that explained different medical conditions to patients. This helped me gauge exactly how to communicate with patients. The flashcards helped a lot for retaining all the information and were incredibly beneficial for last minute revision!

The live academy course commenced in September, with me still having concerns about not being able to attend it in person. Dr Arora and Dr Pooja however always kept us on track throughout the 10 days, constantly asking us questions through the live class chat and always ensuring that any queries were clarified. We could all also ask any doubts regarding the different role-plays that were running in class – and these were answered by all tutors on the team. 

Even the ‘special’ scenarios were thought of for livestream attendees – for example there was a half day prescribing session as part of the academy programme and all livestream attendees were sent PDFs for various drug charts to print in advance and use during the case scenarios.

We were all part of the batch WhatsApp group as well which helped us feel part of the main group.

The only real difference that I found between in-person and online classes was that I was unable to perform the role plays myself – something that in my opinion did not make much difference as a) I learned a lot by watching and b) I knew I had my mocks still to come!

How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

Post Academy

I began to practice regularly online with some friends that I found through the Academy. This helped me put into practice some of the Arora principles that we learned in the 10 days – such as the Arora 3 Bubbles and Arora 3 steps of management. 

After I reached the UK, I went to the Arora academy for mannikin practice with some of the other livestream attendees. There was always a tutor from the Arora team to help us during these practice sessions; we could ask them our doubts regarding all the different procedures and examinations. Dr Arora would also talk to us before and at the end of every session; he always encouraged us and this was very motivating. 

I was also able to attend the in-person SimMan session with the following batch (something that livestream attendees are always offered) so that I would have an idea on what to expect during the exam.

There are two mock sessions included in the Arora Academy+ package. I decided to give my mocks in October so that I had time to make the required changes. My first mock was online with Dr Nehal. I had issues with time management and her feedback on that was extremely valuable. For my actual exam I certainly noticed how I had improved – and even finished a couple of stations early! My second mock was with Dr Masarat – two weeks before my exam. Her feedback made me aware of small details that would enhance the consultation. Both of them were very sweet and kind, and that gave me good confidence to face the exam.

How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

Academy+ Experience

Something that I really liked about this academy is that we could personally contact Dr Arora regarding any of our doubts and he would get back to us as soon as he could – often in the middle of the night! This made it seem that the course was personalised for us (even though we were not physically present) and I deeply appreciate it. 

Dr Arora stresses on not losing our individual consultation styles – something that I have heard you can lose in some academies – this was very important for my confidence. I also feel that my interpersonal skills have improved significantly since the course. Both of these did not only help me ace my exam but have definitely made me a better doctor as well.

How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

Things I learnt from my preparation

I cannot stress how important it is to practice! I was lucky to have friends who had the exam close to my exam date and so they were there with me throughout the prep. They made sure that I studied every day and also helped during anxiety-stricken moments! Practicing regularly and going through multiple scenarios definitely improved my communication skills.

Scripts can help to get a general idea of a particular case, but do not rely on them completely (Arora Academy do not use any scripts!). Most of the time, there could be another issue and not just a medical issue affecting the patient. For management, putting the ‘issues on the table’ as taught at the academy gives a better structure and improves IPS.

During the exam, we may get stressed and go blank. Dr Arora always says that we need to have a plan when this happens. The 3 Arora bubbles can be used to guide us back to the consultation – and can be useful as a safeguard for when you go blank. The 3 Arora R’s of the bubbles – reasoning for red flags, relevance for psychosocial and reflection for ICE – always make the consultation more natural and certainly boosted my IPS.

Try to be up to date with the NICE guidelines – it helps a lot in the management of the consultation. The Arora guideline flashcards proved to be very helpful for this, particularly for last minute review.

Be kind to the patient – even though this is a role play. The GMC wants you to be a safe and kind FY2 doctor. Always remember to be nice to the patient, even when they may not be very cooperative, since this is something that may be part of the test.

Time management is key for the examination and prescription stations. Practice going through the BNF and writing the prescriptions, because this will help in managing time during the exam.

Try not to dwell on the stations that you think you didn’t perform well; forget that case and move on to the next. Remember that PLAB 2 has 16 stations so don’t worry too much if one or two stations didn’t go so well.

How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

Overall experience

No matter what anyone says, it does not matter if you attend the academy online or in person. Remember that organised preparation is key and consistent, focused practice will help you ace this exam! 

I would highly recommend Arora UKMLA PLAB 2 Academy+ to anyone preparing for PLAB 2 and I hope this blog helped you clear any doubts you may have had about attending the academy online.

Wish you all the very best for this exam!

Anjana

How I passed PLAB 2 with an Online Academy – Dr Anjana Vijayan

How Arora can help you Pass UKMLA PLAB 2

For our most comprehensive ‘all-you-need’ UKMLA PLAB 2 Academy+ Package click here

For all other Arora UKMLA PLAB 2 resources (Gold Package, Mocks, Live course, Online course, etc) click here

To register for our next free UKMLA PLAB 2 webinar click here: Next Free Webinar

To join our Free UKMLA PLAB 2 Telegram teaching group click here

For Dr Aman’s UKMLA PLAB 2 YouTube videos click 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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