Hello all, this is a post about my PLAB journey. My intention to share this with you all is to tell everyone out there “It’s going to be OKAY!”
Warning: Really long content and might be boring for many.
Unlike many my PLAB journey began all because of my parents’ little trip to England. They loved it here and asked me to give it try. So, after a lot of thinking, I began my prep for IELTS but before that, I went through several blogs to know what this journey involves. I thank Naseer’s Journey, Omar’s Blog, and the road-to-UK they helped me a lot.
I began by enrolling myself in one of the coaching classes. In there they taught us what is expected out of us. How the scoring system is. And let me tell you this IELTS is a tricky exam and it doesn’t exactly judge your English standards. It’s partly about your attention skills when it comes to listening and of course the different accents. For Reading, it’s about how fast you are at skimming and scanning along with getting a gist of the given passage. Further, for Writing, which most of the people struggle (while I mainly struggled with Reading part because I’m not much of a reader) It’s about using a few RIGHT fancy words, properly structured sentences, and paragraphs, never underestimate the appropriate use of punctuations. At last, Speaking module this wasn’t my weak one. I enjoyed it actually. Although initially, I felt it was too weird for me being a medic to describe festivals like Diwali, Holi or my idea of a vacation, etc, since we mainly talk about things such as symptoms, presenting illness, prognosis, diagnosis and all other fancy illnesses or terminologies which we might not even see in our lifetime.
It took me two attempts to get an overall score of 8. It did knock my confidence to a great extent since it was my first failure in life. Perhaps, I will tell you this, guys, IELTS is undoubtedly helpful. It has influenced my writing skills thereafter. Not just that, it also helped me with PLAB 2.
PLAB 1 ( Sept 2019)
After obtaining the desired band score in IELTS, I had to jump to step 2 of my PLAB journey- PLAB 1 examination. I prepared for a month while I was working (because I had the best colleagues who supported me a lot). I read from PLABABLE alone including the links given below. It was really an interesting exam because it mainly involves clinical subjects and focuses mainly on what we practice in reality. I did the mocks from PLABABLE not all ( to be more precise 5 to 6). Although I joined some groups on WhatsApp where they revise and conduct zoom sessions which really helped me. It’s really nice to have this support system I would say. It’s so beautiful that the people you don’t know or might not even know can help you out so much. I had my exam in Dubai so I completed that and enjoyed it for the next week. I would definitely recommend something this sort for everyone since soon you might be staying away from your loved ones for a couple of months or even longer.
PLAB 2 (March 2020)
I came to England a little early stayed with my relatives who are the best, did my clinical attachment, got used to the accents by walking around from shop to shop, talking to the people working in stores, or even wishing people on the streets. It was all so beautiful – you smile at someone wish them Good morning and they reply back smiling Morning love, and the countless sorries I heard people telling each other for things which I didn’t even know were offensive.
Then I decided to take PLAB 2 classes. I took classes online which were informative and left for Manchester about 2 weeks before my exams. I had booked a beautiful place closer to the academy. It was huge, had good furniture and a nice kitchen. I was all excited and pumped up because staying in a different country on my own for a girl who was treated like a princess by her dad was definitely something really huge. Then later I made some really great friends whom I can never forget in my life. Perhaps, despite all this, I did feel lonely and lost. I started my days with a good breakfast and went to the academy to practice. I had some study buddies who really helped me a lot to refine my communication skills, IPS along with the emotional support which I needed the most (really thankful to each and every one of them). In fact, I would say this part of preparation is most important for PLAB 2.
However, despite having such amazing people around, I felt all panicky (because I was underprepared for my exams). It was almost a week left and I still hadn’t gone through all my academy notes. Eventually, I did finish giving the notes a good reading twice and simultaneously practiced with my study partners which helped me pass my exams.
1.) Make sure you eat good food, take beautiful walks along the streets of England when you feel lonely or panicky about exams.
2.) Read your notes at least by the end of your course so you know what the content of your stations going to be. Despite having good communication skills, many people fail to understand that PLAB 2 examiners will also assess you for time management. It necessary that we at least speak for 6-7 minutes out of 8, which is easier if you have read the notes at least once.
3.) Be positive and take a break when necessary. Treat yourself with ice cream or chocolate or wine every now and then.
4.) I know that England is expensive but when necessary do things which make you happy because this might affect your performance.
I hope this post has helped. I wish all the people good luck with their exams and future endeavours.
Dr. Roopa Patil