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How I Passed the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr Zaid Rahman

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 Zaid Rahman – an IMG (International Medical Graduate) doctor who recently passed his PLAB 1 exam – 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 the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr Zaid Rahman


Hello! If you are here and reading this then you’re most probably done with the challenges of IELTS or OET and are starting your UK journey – congratulations! Every IMG has a story and so will you. This is just to tell my own experience of passing PLAB 1 and some things that might help you in your own journey.

PLAB 1 – similar to many other UK exams that you will take on your journey – has a few basic pieces of advice that are important, but often overlooked. 1) stick to guidelines laid down by the GMC on their website and b) know exactly what the exam is all about, as well as what is expected of you. These two things can heavily reduce your stress going forward! Read this blog to understand exactly what PLAB 1 is!

According to the GMC, the exam tests your ability to apply your knowledge for the care of patients. It doesn’t test how well you can remember and recite facts. Questions relate to current best practice in the UK and equipment routinely available in UK hospitals. You’ll need to answer the questions in relation to published evidence and not according to your local arrangements.

How I Passed the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr Zaid Rahman


As a junior doctor you need to be a safe doctor, who encompasses knowing common presentations, whilst managing red flags and emergencies – the essence of what can come in the exam. There are a lot of resources out there and you can pick and choose whatever you like – all roads lead to Rome as they say. There are several ‘Bibles’ for PLAB 1 which no doubt have fallen on your ears – and often yes – these are enough to pass. But I personally always like to take an exam by going the extra mile, so that the exam itself (as well as the next steps) becomes easier. Common question banks include Plabable, Passmedicine and Plabverse – though there are others as well.

You may be wondering why (on an Arora blog) Dr Aman’ name hasn’t come up yet! That is because Aman’s PLAB 1 videos and PLAB 1 courses are not something you just watch for this exam – you also watch them to better understand the system that you are about to enter. His approach is comprehensive and you should always be up to date with his advice. To be honest I had an email thread with a subject titled “in times of trouble you turn to Aman Arora”.

For Dr Aman’s most comprehensive package – PLAB 1 Ultimate Package – click here.


How I Passed the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr Zaid Rahman


Coming to the nitty gritty of PLAB 1 prep, let’s talk about prep time. The duration of preparation is of course very individualistic, but to be honest I feel that 6-8 weeks is more than enough for this exam. In my case, I used to do a topic from a question bank – for example cardiology – and makes notes or flashcards of the important stuff – and then attempt the same section from another bank, leading to topics being revised twice. Click here for free PLAB 1 planner timelines.

Once I’d finished all key topics, I went through the questions again. Even though resetting can be painful and expensive, some things I feel are just necessary. I also did Aman’s PLAB Mock bundle (highly recommended) as per exam settings – and I must say the level of question was very apt. 

Don’t pressurize yourself too much, however you need to adapt to the new guidelines (NICE and SIGN) and think how you will apply the knowledge that you already have. As stated earlier, always use the layout of the GMC in terms of topic coverage – this is your guiding light.  

Active recalls and spaced repetition are two skills that will help you in your studies – having a good plan with the right guidance is all you need for your journey. For our mock comprehensive PLAB 1 Ultimate package, click here. For easy recall teaching follow Dr Aman on Instagram (@dr_aman_arora).

How I Passed the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr Zaid Rahman

The exam…

Time management in the exam is key. As there is a minute to answer all the questions (and believe me, shading the answer sheet takes time) you really have around 45 seconds to answer. Doing mocks regularly is important – perhaps aiming for a shorter time to finish in order to represent this. At the end of the day you will be seeing the trigger in the question and marking the answer. As you will realise, exam technique is sometimes just as important as knowledge. 

Just before the exam try to remain calm! You have done the needful and it just requires concentrated execution of the hard work that you have put in. Revise a few topics that you already know to feel the confidence that you need, and always remember it’s a doable exam and that presence of mind will always play an advantage in your favour. 

How I Passed the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr Zaid Rahman

A final word…

PLAB 1 (as part of the whole PLAB process) is a whole journey and you will have your own troubles at times apart from the preparation itself – bookings, finance, visa, travel etc – all playing their own roles in the journey itself! 

Remain steadfast – you have decided to take this on and you should see it through. Everyone here as an IMG, and educators like Aman are always ready to help you – but it’s you who will have to ask.

To all my friends on this journey, best of luck! It is worth the effort in the end. Hopefully, I’ll be sharing my PLAB 2 journey as well soon!


How I Passed the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr Zaid Rahman

How Arora can help Pass PLAB 1…

o 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 the PLAB 1 Exam: Dr Zaid Rahman

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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