INTRODUCTION

Hello !!!

Being a doctor myself, I know how important it is for a person to progress in this field in their chosen speciality. And like me, most of the people dream about working and living in UK.

So I’ve made this blog to share my experience and knowledge about working and living in UK.

Let me tell you, it is very much possible to find a job in UK and start working here for an International Medical Graduate.

I’m going to talk about how one can proceed and land up in a job in UK.

I am a medical graduate from United Arab Emirates, and as compared to rest of the world we have very very limited opportunities here and it’s very difficult for a newly graduate to get registered here and find a job (YES even for a UAE graduate). So I decided to choose the PLAB pathway in order to start working in UK and also to get registered in UAE (passing PLAB and having GMC registration helps you in getting registered in UAE).

I graduated in 2015 and at the same time started my internship. and it was during my last 2 years of university and internship period that I have been doing research about PLAB and working in UK. I have completed my intersnhip in 2016 and had started the PLAB journey during my internship itself. I gave my PLAB 1 exam in March 2016 and PLAB 2 exam in February 2017.

Now that’s much said, let me take you to the world of PLAB.

In order for a person to get registered in UK as a doctor, one has to either clear PLAB exam or apply through alternate route.

http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/applications.asp

http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/plab.asp

PLAB Journey:

Step 1: IELTS

Step 2: GMC online account

Step 3: PLAB 1

Step 4: PLAB 2

Step 5: GMC registration and ID check

 

 

FAQs:

1. Can I give PLAB during my internship?

Yes PLAB can be given immediately after passing your final year of MBBS.

2. Do I need to get registered with GMC before giving PLAB?

No, you just have to make an account on GMC online and apply for PLAB. Registration process comes after passing PLAB 1 and 2

3. Do I need IELTS for PLAB exam?

Yes, before booking for PLAB 1 you need to clear IELTS with atleast 7 in each section and overall band of 7.5. Without this you’ll not be able to book a date for PLAB 1

4. Will PLAB change to UKMLA in 2018?

PLAB is not changing anytime soon. There were plans by GMC to change it by the end of 2018 but now they have changed that plan and decided to implement it by 2022. It’s still not clear, when they’ll bring about the change. But by 2022 it’ll be for all, IMGs and UK graduates. For further information visit GMC website.

 

If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

P.S: Don’t copy anything from my blog without my permission.

Dr. Mona Qasim

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OTHER USEFUL PLAB BLOGS

HELLO ALL !!!

As most of you must already be aware that this is not the only blog for PLAB, and there are other blogs which have a lot more information. So I’ll be posting the links to those blogs here so you can read them too and then ask us any questions for if you have any.

But before that, I would like to thank Dr. Naseer Khan and Dr. Omar Alam for their help and support, without which I wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t have thought of making a blog to help all you people out there. So thank you guys from the bottom of my heart.

And these are the links to their amazing blogs which I have been following for whole this journey.

I really hope these blogs help you all.

Regards,
Dr. Mona Qasim

UK FOUNDATION PROGRAMME (UKFPO)

UK Foundation programme or UKFPO, is a 2 year internship program (training or LAT program), which in most of our countries is for the duration of 1 year. The whole application process is through Oriel system

Who are eligible for UKFPO?

  • if you’re a fresh graduate with no internship experience
  • if you have provisional GMC registration
  • have to right to work in UK (British citizen, EU citizen or spouse visa)

Eligibility Criteria:

  • completed MBBS
  • IELTS overall score of 7.5 with 7.5 in each section
  • completed PLAB 1 and 2 by end of June of the year they want to start FP and get GMC registration
  • RIGHT TO WORK IN UK

How to apply for it?

  • One has to apply a year in advance, to start working next year. For eg, to start working in FP 2018, one need to apply during August 2017
  • Make an oriel account
  • Apply for the eligibility criteria to UKFPO, send all the required documents to them by the deadline provided on their site
  • Start the application process once the applications open
  • Sit for Situation judgemental test (SJT) which is held in UK in December only. (people applying through the eligibility criteria have to appear for this test)
  • once the scores are out, you’ll be ranked
  • after that choose your preferences
  • wait for the offers to be released
  • once the offers are released wither accept it or decline it, keeping in mind that if you decline it you’ll not receive any more offers. The other option is to accept it with upgrade to get into your higher preference, if it becomes available you’ll get your higher preference place.
  • For those people who need to prove right to work in UK need to do that by January otherwise their application will be withdrawn.

What is SJT?

Situational Judgemental Test or SJT is a exam which mostly test ethical knowledge and how you’ll react in particular situation. There are 5 options and the options are ranked from 1-5 with 1 being the best option and 5 the least good option.

this is one of the most important step as this has more score in your application and helps in getting a higher rank.

RIGHT TO WORK IN UK

This is one of the most important thing especially for IMGs who are planning to apply for UKFPO.

The best people to apply for UKFPO are the British or EU IMGs or IMGs on spouse visa (that is spouse of someone who is British or EU national or has valid UK visa with no restriction to work)

The rest of the people are advised to complete their internship in their home countries and apply for full GMC registration. Because 99.9% chance that your application will be withdrawn if you can not prove them that you have right to work in UK.

IMGs requiring Tier 2 visa or work visa will also be rejected or not offered any post because from this year onwards HEE (higher education of England) can not sponsor IMGs applying for FP posts who require Tier 2 visa because of the new salary threshold of £30,000 and above, as the salary for foundation year 1 is very very less and will not reach upto that level.

Think carefully before applying.

 

STAND ALONE POSTS:

People who were not able to apply in August can apply for stand alone posts, which open in oriel in February/March. These are posts that are left vacant due to a number of reasons. For e.g. if due to some reason, like maternity leave a person is not able to continue with their FY1 or FY2 post before the start date, there will be a post available for that and will be available to other person to apply.

Full GMC registration is required for these posts.

There are 2 types of Stand alone posts, FY1 and FY2.

Stand Alone FY1 posts:

  • Go to oriel and see if the application is open.
  • Fill the application and submit it before the deadline.
  • There is no SJT for this post
  • if you’re longlisted, you’ll be invited for interview.
  • Select the interview slot thorough the Oriel system, they have option of both skype and face to face interviews. Skype interview is only held in Scotland.
  • After the interviews you’ll be given score and ranked
  • After the ranks are released you’ll be able to choose your preferences
  • wait for offers to be released
  • once they are released accept/decline/accept with upgrade

 

STAND AONE FY2 POST:

The application process is same as stand alone FY1 post. These are usually announced by individual deaneries and so one can apply in all the available deaneries who offer the post. The interviews are held face to face. Only Scotland might offer Skype interviews.

The Good news is that IMGs who require Tier 2 visa can apply for this post if they have fulfil all the criteria. Keeping in mind that some Deaneries do require IELTS score of 7.5 in each section with overall score of 7.5. It’s easier for those who are already working in UK in non training posts to get in as they already have right to work in UK (which is not necessary in this case) and also will not require IELTS as just a letter from their hospital will work. But again anyone can apply for this.

 

WHAT if I have a gap of 2 years or more after my graduation?

If a person has a gap of 2 years or more, then he/she needs to appear for one more test along with SJT. That is the Clinical Assessment Test, which is similar to PLAB 2. This test is to prove that you’re still upto date with clinical practise and have not forgotten your clinical skills. This test is also held only in UK. Keep in mind that this is a very expensive test and held once per year.

 

If you have any queries please feel free to ask me. 🙂


 

UK NARIC

As most of the people think that only UKVI IELTS is required for Tier 2 visa, let me tell you all, there is an alternate option too, and that’s UK NARIC.

YES, your heard me right.

What is UK NARIC?

UK NARIC is a statement of comparability where they compare you qualification to British degree and also your English language verification. And this can be used to apply for Tier 2 visa instead of UKVI IELTS ( NARIC CAN NOT BE USED FOR GMC REGISTRATION!!!) 

How to apply for it?

It’s a very easy process. Everything is done online and you get your documents in 10 working days.

Documents required:

  • Your Degree
  • Transcript
  • Letter from your university that the course taught was in English

Steps:

  • Go to the UK NARIC website
  • Choose the RED ROUTE
  • Make an account online (they’ll ask few questions about why you need this during the process)
  • Upload and submit the documents
  • Make the payment (£133 if using international signed Royal mail post and £205 if using DHL postal service. This includes the whole fee)

That’s it done. Wait for their response and you’ll get your documents within 10 working days. if your degree is comparable to British degree and English language verified, you can use this for TIER 2.

PLAB VISA

PLAB 1 exam is held both overseas and in UK. but PLAB 2 is only held in Manchester, United Kingdom. So the most important thing for it is to obtain a visa to appear in those exams (part 1 too if planning to appear in UK).

How to apply for PLAB visa?

Make sure you have all the documents in hands first before applying (which I’ll be mentioning shortly)

Make an account on GOV.UK website so that you can apply for visa. The category to choose is standard visitor visa and then select business visa which has a sub category of PLAB/Clinical attachment visa.

After making an account fill in the application form. It may vary from individual to individual.

The documents that I submitted for my visa were:

  • PLAB 1 results
  • PLAB 2 booking confirmation
  • Hotel booking
  • Provisional flight booking
  • MBBS degree
  • Internship certificate
  • Emstrex exam mark sheet (which is UAE residency programme entrance exam)
  • our family business bank statement of 6 months
  • my mother’s passport copy along with emirates ID
  • NOC and letter of support from my mother (my mother is one of the owner of our business)
  • Company license
  • passport copies of my siblings
  • Cover letter explaining why you want to write plab and what you’ll do after giving plab and coming back to your country

I had to apply for visit visa twice. I was rejected the first time as I didn’t submit my internship certificate (didn’t receive by that time). I applied again within 2 weeks on priority basis and explained them the reason and attached my internship certificate and got the visa for 6 months.

Most people said me that I’ll be rejected again because I wasn’t working and stuff but since I had the answer to their rejection and with my family’s support and blessings of ALLAH, I went ahead and applied and was successful.

GMC Registration

Congratulations to all those who have passed PLAB 2. The big step is almost done.

The next step after getting PLAB 2 results is to get yourself registered with GMC.

You can begin the registration process immediately or wait for the congratulations email from GMC which you will receive 2 days after passing your exam.

The following are the steps to begin with the GMC registration: 

Step 1: Login to your GMC account and click on the registration.

Step 2: Go to my application

Step 3: Click on apply

Step 4: Click on continue with application

Step 5: Route selection, where they ask Do you have EU rights. Click NO (yes if you have one)

Step 6: Next question is Do you want to apply for entry into either the Specialist register or GP register. Click NO (unless you are choosing that path)

Step 7: If you have completed internship which is accepted by GMC, then click Yes, if not then click no (You will get full GMC registration if completed internship, if you haven’t then you’re eligible for provisional registration)

Step 8: Click on apply.

After you have completed the above mentioned steps, you will then be directed to the registration form where you have to give the details of your internship, any gaps and work done within last 5 years.

Registration Form:

1. Your Internship Details:

You fill in the internship details here. Don’t mention the whole internship year in a single line. Fill in the detail of each rotation separately.

GMC _ Your internship details

2. Name Details:

Write you name as per you passport and degree certificate

3. Recent Professional Experience:

In this section you provide details of your work experience in the last five years. You’ll also provide details for any periods when you were unemployed or not engaged in medical practice including, for example, extended holidays or maternity leave.

Make sure you don’t leave any gaps, not even of a single day and that all the dates are in continuity.

4. Registration and Licensing History:

In this section you provide details of registration with any medical authority that you are registered with.

Since I was not registered, I did not fill in any details and moved to the next section.

5.  Fitness to Practise – Your Health:

GMC wants to know if you have any health problems that might affect your job once you start working in UK. If you have any medical condition answer accordingly. Almost all the answers will be no if no medical conditions.

I’ve ticked no for all the boxes

6. Declaration of Fitness to Practise:

In this section GMC wants to know if you ever had any trouble with the law. (Read carefully and answer)

I had ticked no for all the boxes.

7. Final Declaration:

By signing this declaration, you’re agreeing to GMC’s rules and regulations.

8. Payment:

After signing the final declaration, you proceed to the payment.

I paid 203 GBP, as I’m a recent graduate with only internship experience and the period between my graduation and registration is less than 2 years.

 

After you have submitted the application, GMC will send you and email, mention what all documents you need to email or post them.

You’ll need to email them the PDF copies of following documents:

  1. Passport.
  2. Primary medical qualification certificate (MBBS degree).
  3. Certificate(s) of good standing.
  4. Evidence of your knowledge of English (IELTS).
  5. Evidence of completion of an acceptable pattern of internship (Internship/House job certificates).

You can also use the evidence of internship form (link of which will be provided in the same GMC email) and submit. This is what I did because we only get internship certificate which just mentions all the rotations in one line and the starting and ending date of our internship and not the details. So I used this form to provide the details.

For those who can’t get Certificate of Good Standing, like me, you can fill the employer’s reference form (Link also within the same GMC email) and get it filled and signed by your supervisor. In my case I had to get it filled and signed by the Ministry of Health under whom I was doing my internship. (MOH does not provide GSC for interns as they are not registered with them and also are not considered to be their employees)

You have 28 days to send the documents to GMC otherwise they’ll close your application and refund the fee, and you have to make a new application.

 

NEXT STEP:

Now the next step is to wait for the response from GMC. They’ll let you know if they require any further documents or if your documents have been verified and approved.

For me it took around 1 and 1/2 month to get registration because GMC wanted and letter from MOH stating that registration was not required which MOH was refusing to give me. And after lot of explaining and emails to GMC they finally agreed (keeping in mind I was the second IMG from my university to apply for GMC registration after internship, it took around 3 months for my colleague to get it done). Also MOH was not replying to their emails so I had to keep on calling, emailing and visiting them frequently.

If GMC asks you for any further documents, you need to email them ASAP.

If GMC has verified your documents, they’ll then send you an email stating that your documents have been verified and you need to come for an ID check and they’ll mention what documents you need to carry with you for your ID check.

ID CHECK

So after GMC has emailed you that you need to come for an ID check, you need to book an appointment for ID check. You’ll have 3 months from the date you received the last email to go for ID check otherwise you start the process all over again.

How to book appointment?

  1. Go to you GMC account and login.
  2. Click on my appointments
  3. Book the date.

It might be easier for you to book an appointment after your PLAB 2 results as the dates get filled up soon. You might consider booking 4-6 weeks after you PLAB 2 results have been announced if you have all the documents ready. Incase you’re not able to get things done by that time, it’s ok, you can book another date for ID check but make sure its before the 3 months time gets over.

WHAT HAPPENS AT ID CHECK?

So finally I’m done with my ID check and got full registration with license to practise.
So after you book your ID check date either in London or Manchester office, go there 10-15 min before time and they’ll give you a visitor card and tell you to wait.

for the time you are waiting take out the documents they told you to bring for ID check and keep them ready.

One of the person working there will call you in and make you comfortable, will confirm your identity and ask for the documents to verify them and give you a declaration form to sign. usually takes around 30-40 minutes and that’s it done.

They’ll send you the registration documents within 5-10 days (5 days if within UK and 10 days if outside). Your name will be on the registered doctors portal and on your GMC online account on the same day of your ID check itself.

 

 

 

PLAB 2

After getting done with PLAB 1, the next step is to book for PLAB 2, as the seats get booked fast (book as soon as you get your results if in hurry to finish with PLAB).

PLAB 2 (Book though your GMC account)

PLAB 2 has 20 stations with 18 working stations and 2 rest stations which are for 10 min each. You are given 2 minutes to read the task outside the station (I have heard it’s been reduced to 1 1/2 minute now) and 8 minutes for history, examination and management. There is a 6 minute bell, which when rings means you have to jump to management where ever you are in the station.

After you have finished booking the desired date, then apply for PLAB 2 visa if you don’t have a UK visa already.

Next step is to choose the academy you want. There are 3 academies that mostly people prefer :

  1. Common Stations by Dr Hamed Salehi
  2. Samson Academy by Dr Samson
  3. Dr Swamy Plab course

Different people choose different academies based on the recommendations by their friends or colleagues who have taken the course from particular academy. And to my knowledge you can join any academy and you’ll pass, because the most important thing id your own hard work and dedication

My PLAB 2 Journey:

I choose Common stations for PLAB 2 preparation as I had heard a lot about it and also because it was recommended by one of my friends who attended the academy and passed the exam.

The course is for the duration of 15 days where we were taught history, examination including mannequins all based on the new pattern which was changed in September 2016.

My exam was in February and I had joined the academy during January which gave me around 2-3 weeks after the course to practice and prepare for the exam. Passed my exam the results for which were announced in March.

The whole course is taught by Dr Hamed himself and the examination part is covered by Dr. Almira who is as expert (beauty with brains). They will make sure you know everything that might come in exam. By the end you are able to approach the case even if there is some small change in that station. Also there is Review class where Dr Hamed will teach you about any new station that has come in the previous exam. There is also an option for supervised examination session with separate fee, if you feel you need a to practice more examination, then it’s a must join. I didn’t join it because we were taught the examinations similar way in our university.  

After the course, you’ll be given 2 mock exams the dates of which will be close to your exam around 2 weeks before. The mocks are the best way to know where you stand and the feedback given during it is amazing and will help you improve.

After the course, I tried to study at home at least read the notes once for 3-4 days (which wasn’t very successful :p). I made a group with 3 people who were my study partners and we used to practice everyday in the academy as all of us had exams one after the other. (All of us passed)

During the exam I had a very bad feeling that I was performing badly in all stations for the initial few stations. Try your best not to think about pervious station or else you’ll mess up the next station too. After I had finished my exam, I felt as if I will fail (That’s what most of them say), but it’s easy to pass.

ADVISE:

Choose whatever academy you want, depends on your intuition.

Make sure to have atleast 3-4 weeks after the course so that you have enough time to prepare yourself. But people do pass with a 1-2 days or 1-2 weeks post course preparation.  

Forget about everything else for the duration of time you have and study hard during that time.

Go to Manchester 1 day before your exam, so you call relax yourself and look around to find the location where the exam will take place.

Night before the exam don’t stress yourself much by studying, have a good sleep. Make sure you are well rested and hydrated before your exam. (Have a good breakfast or lunch)

 

That’s all about it. All the best for your exam folks.

Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

Dr. Mona Qasim

PLAB 1

So the next step after getting the required score in IELTS is to make an account with GMC and apply for PLAB 1.

http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/registration_applications/30305.asp

PLAB 1 is held multiple times in a year. It is held almost every month in UK and twice in overseas mostly in March and November.

http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/plab/test_dates.asp

http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/plab/23446.asp#Part1

My PLAB 1 journey: 

I gave PLAB 1 during my internship, March 2016, while I was doing my internship. Because of which I didn’t have much time to prepare for it. But the good part about this test is that it examines our basic clinical knowledge and ethics followed in UK.

Materials I used to prepare for this was the 1700 questions and Samson mocks that are available on various facebook PLAB groups. I studied for duration of 2 months mostly at night giving around 2-3 hours to study each day. I also referred patient.co.uk and NICE guidelines sometimes if I was in doubt and needed some clarifications.

During the time I gave PLAB 1 exam ethic questions were not started. In order to be able to answer the ethical questions it might be a good idea to go though the GMC good medical practice as it’ll give you an idea how things work in UK. Please be aware that UK is looking for SAFE doctors

http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/good_medical_practice.asp

The exam overall is easy. There are 200 questions to be answered in 180 minutes. Make sure to mark on the answer sheet directly as you might not get time at the end to transfer your answers to the answer sheet

I had cleared the exam in first attempt. I didn’t immediately apply for PLAB 2 as I wanted to finish my internship and then give PLAB 2.

ADVICE

It is very easy to clear PLAB exam both part 1 and 2. It just requires some dedication and hard work.

Even 3-4 weeks preparation is enough for most people to pass PLAB 1 exam, but it requires at least 5-6 hours of study or more if time permits.

IELTS

Im sure most of you have done research and have knowledge about how to proceed about it.

So the first and the most important step is to clear IELTS first.

In order to apply for PLAB 1, a person needs to give PLAB with an overall score of 7.5 with score of atleast 7 in each domain i.e. listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is valid for 2 years and one needs a valid IELTS for GMC registration.

If your English is good, this is very much achievable. but I’ve seen people struggling with the writing section which requires a bit a knowledge and idea on how to approach it and some practise. I’m sure most of us have a good command of English and even writing as being doctors I thinks that’s one of the thing we do commonly (writing patient notes :p)

I had given my IELTS during my internship period and that too while in surgery rotation, so I didn’t have much time to prepare for it. I used was the Cambridge IELTS books 9 and 10 and also the Road to ILETS which is the same practise tests offered by British Council when you book your IELTS exam with them.

I would strongly advise those people who have difficulty with English to practise Cambridge IELTS books 1 to 10 (if you have got a lot of time) or else do from 6 to 11 and also do the online practise test provided by British Council. for those who are having tough time with the writing section please go through Ryan’s IELTS book or IELTS by Liz as these will give you a basic structure on how to approach the writing section and score 7 and above.

Since IELTS is also required for UK Tier 2 visa which is a working visa, it’s a good option to give UKVI IELTS instead of Academic one (though both are same except UKVI charges abit more). But if you have already booked for Academic IELTS, it’s still totally fine.

And All the best to all those who are gonna give IELTS and you guys can do it.

Dr. Mona Qasim