In this post, we shall be discussing on the cost of writing the PLAB exams in South Africa 2022. If you are a medical practitioner and you would love to take either the PLAB 1 or PLAB 2 test in order to migrate to the United Kingdom to practice your profession unhindered, then this information is just for you.
WHAT IS THE PLAB EXAM IN South Africa?
PLAB is an acronym for Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board. This organization is an examination body that tests the knowledge of international medical practitioners before allowing them practice their profession in the United Kingdom. It is the UK’s version of USMLE. If you are a medical doctor from South Africa and you want to go to the UK to practice medicine, your best bet is to take and pass the PLAB exam.
PLAB exam in South Africa is in two parts or types, Part 1 and 2, and it is conducted by the General Medical Council (GMC) of the United Kingdom. This exam as stated earlier, tests the knowledge of international medical professionals in the medical sciences prior to their entry into the UK for work, and further helps to ascertain whether they have excellent communication skills, preferably in English language required for a qualified medical doctor in the United Kingdom to work and take care of patients really well at their hospitals.
PLAB 1 EXAMINATION IN South Africa: THINGS TO KNOW
The PLAB Part 1 examination in South Africa, is the same as those undertaken in different parts of the world as it is set by the General Medical Council (GMC) of the United Kingdom. PLAB part 1 is made up of one hundred and eighty (180) Single Best Answer (SBA) questions that are set in a multiple choice format, and the test lasts for a duration of three (3) hours which you are required to attempt all questions.
PLAB 1 exam in South Africa does not test how well you can remember and recall information, it rather accesses the individual based on the best clinical practices in the United Kingdom, as well as the equipment available in UK hospitals. It involves answering questions from a small portion of basic medical sciences, and a larger portion from clinical sciences. PLAB 1 tests candidates on the following: obstetrics, gynaecology, medicine and surgery, paediatrics, ear, nose, and throat (ENT), ophthalmology, anatomy, medical ethics, and community medicine.
In order to pass the PLAB 1 exam, you will be required to score from 60%-62%, which is a score range of 120-126. In South Africa, the PLAB 1 exam is conducted three times a year in March, June, and November, and you can take the test in three States only: Durban, Johannesburg and Enugu. It usually takes about six (6) weeks for the result to be ready and you should make sure to check the appropriate information channels from time to time for your result.
PLAB 2 EXAMINATION IN South Africa: THINGS TO KNOW
The PLAB 2 exam is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). It is the second and final part of the PLAB exams, and unlike the PLAB 1 in South Africa that can be taken in Durban, Johannesburg and Enugu, this test is usually taken at the General Medical Council (GMC) building in Manchester, United Kingdom to protect its integrity. This PLAB 2 test is made up of eighteen (18) clinical stations with each station lasting for 8 minutes in a grand total exam time of three (3) hours.
Just like the PLAB 1, this exam also does not test your ability to memorize. It rather tests your ability to deal with the general issues seen by a UK trained medical practitioner who is yet to begin their foundation year two programme. PLAB 2 also assesses your knowledge based on the UK best practices in the medical profession. Therefore, it is very important to understand how their system works while you as a South African medical doctor are preparing for the exam.
PLAB 2 assesses your ability in the areas which include: data gathering, technical, and assessment skills, clinical management skills, interpersonal skills, etc. Each of the 8 clinical stations in PLAB 2 is scored 12 marks, and the maximum score achievable in this exam is 216. In order to get a pass mark in this exam, which depends on your performance, you must generally pass at least 11 stations out of 18 to be considered successful in this examination.
REQUIREMENTS FOR PLAB EXAMS IN South Africa
The following are the requirements for the PLAB exams in South Africa:
- Completed Primary Medical Qualification
- English Proficiency Exam Results
Kindly note that it is not compulsory that you do your housemanship in South Africa before taking the PLAB 1 exam, but to be on a safer side, you are advised to complete it so that you can practice in South Africa just in case your moving abroad falls through.
PRIMARY MEDICAL QUALIFICATION FOR PLAB 1
Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) is the medical degree you are awarded upon graduation from medical school. This is the degree that confirms you as a medical doctor. In South Africa, this university degree is the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery). You must have written and passed your final university exams and be conferred with the MBBS before you can be eligible to take the PLAB 1 test. If you are still a medical student, you are not eligible for PLAB 1 until you graduate and have obtained your university degree.
ENGLISH PROFICIENCY EXAMINATIONS
Another requirement for eligibility in order to write the PLAB exam is that you must take and pass the English Language proficiency tests approved by the GMC, and there are only two tests recognised. They are: the IELTS (Academic), and the OET (Medicine). IELTS is very common in South Africa, but the OET is relatively new.
What these language proficiency tests do, is to assess your command of the English language, especially if you are not from an English-speaking country, and the reason for this is to prepare you to take the PLAB test which obviously will be in English language as well. Since you are going for a professional practice, the version of IELTS that you are expected to take is the academic version.
The GMC expects you to have a minimum average score of 7.5, with at least 7.0 in all four areas of your IELTS test such as reading, writing, listening and speaking for you to be eligible to take the PLAB exams. This requirement is very challenging and you need to bring your A-game when taking the IELTS test. If you have an overall score of 8, but your score in reading was 6, you will not eligible for the PLAB exam.
COST OF PLAB EXAMS IN South Africa CURRENTLY (2022)
The PLAB exams is very important to many South African graduate medical doctors and majority of them don’t mind saving up their housemanship salary for it. In South Africa today, the cost of writing the PLAB 1 test is £239, which equates to R$ 6,193 according to the current Pounds to Naira exchange rate in the country, while the amount required to write the PLAB 2 test is £875 which equates to R$ 22,674. Altogether, both PLAB tests in South Africa costs £1,114, that is R$ 28,867 in total this 2022.