Everything To Know About PLAB Exam In Nigeria

plab exam in nigeria
Want to know about PLAB? Hop in!

What have you heard about PLAB Exam in Nigeria?

Let’s kick it; almost every medical doctor in Nigeria wants to head abroad to practice.

Be it to the UK, US, Australia, or even South Africa. Anything better than the system in Nigeria is way more beneficial, currently.

And if you’ve been quite observant in medical school, you might have heard someone discuss PLAB.


  • What is PLAB?
  • How does the exam look like?
  • What are the requirements?
  • How much does the examination cost?

Okay, we’d cut it here. There is a lot of quality information we’ll be dishing out in this guide. And yes, we’ll also be providing answers to important questions concerning PLAB in Nigeria.

In our last post in the career section, we discussed everything to know about USMLE in Nigeria.

In today’s guide, we’ll be diving deep into PLAB exams in Nigeria. You will get every single basic information you need to know about the UK exam

So sit tight, take some drink, and let’s go on amazing learning experience!

What is PLAB?- PLAB Exam In Nigeria

The Popular Acronym PLAB stands for Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board Test. PLAB is an examination body that assesses international medical graduates to allow them to practice in the United Kingdom.

Like how the USMLE is the channel for practicing in the US, the PLAB is the channel by which you go to the United Kingdom for your medical practice.

This examination tests your skills and knowledge necessary to work in the UK.

The plab exam is a two-part assessment test for IMG’a outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

This test is conducted by the General Medical Council(GMC) of the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the test aims to assess the depth of knowledge and expertise in the medical sciences

Asides that, it checks whether you’ve got great communication skills required from a good doctor in the United Kingdom.

In all, the Plab exam sets out the pace by which medical doctors in the UK are meant to demonstrate in their clinical practice.

The Plab examination consists of two types called parts- parts 1 and 2.

PLAB Part 1

Part 1 of the Professional Examination board test consists of 180 Single Best Answer SBA) questions in a multiple-choice format. Furthermore, this examination lasts for 3 hours under which you are expected to have finished your work.

The Plab part 1 tests your ability to apply clinical knowledge based on proper patient care. Unlike medical schools in Nigeria, it doesn’t assess how well you can remember and recall information. Instead, the questions assess the best clinical practice in the UK and equipment available in UK hospitals.

This examination first lays down a brief clinical scenario, and a short question following it. You’ll need to select the best answer from five possible options given.

PLAB 1 contains a small portion of basic medical sciences, while most of the questions come from clinical sciences.

Another thing to know is that Plab 1 covers questions from the following topics:

  • Obstetrics
  • Gynecology
  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics
  • Ear, Nose, and Throat
  • Ophthalmology
  • Anatomy
  • Medical ethics
  • Community medicine

What is the Pass score for PLAB 1

Like getting admission in Nigeria medical school, the PLAB test has cut off marks. The pass mark usually varies, but it usually falls in the 120-126 score range, about 60-62%.

Where is the PLAB 1 Exam In Nigeria conducted

Unlike the USMLE, the PLAB part 1 exam is conducted in Nigeria. And yes, that’s great news because you won’t have to stress traveling to write your test.

The exam is also available in the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Canada, Ghana, Sudan, UAE, and South Africa.

The PLAB 1 is thrice a year in Nigeria- March, June, and November. Asides that, you can take the PLAB 1 in three states in Nigeria- Enugu, Abuja, and Lagos.

The results for the PLAB 1 usually takes six weeks to be released. And what about preparations? You’ve got no need to worry as there are many popular online materials including:

  • Oxford handbook of Medicine and Patient
  • Plabable
  • Samson notes, etc.

PLAB Part 2

Part 2 of PLAB is an objective structured clinical examination(OSCE). This second and final part is usually taken at the GMC building in Manchester, United Kingdom.

The exam consists of 18 clinical stations with each station lasting for 8 minutes. In total, the exam lasts for 3 hours.

Like PLAB 1, this part 2 doesn’t test fact or your ability to memorize. Instead, it focuses on your ability to deal with general issues seen by a UK trained medical doctor who is yet to begin their foundation year two program.

Also bear in mind that the Plab 2 assesses your knowledge concerning the UK best practices. So it’s important to be in alignment with their system while preparing for the examination.

The Plab 2 assess your ability in the following areas:

  • Data gathering, technical, and assessment skills
  • Clinical management skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Like we said earlier, the Plab 2 consists of 18 clinical stations. Each clinical station is scored 12 marks. Furthermore, the maximum score achievable in Plab 2 is 216 marks.

Asides that, the pass mark for this examination varies depending on the performance for that day. You must generally pass at least 11 stations out of 18 to be considered successful in this examination.

Data Gathering, Technical, and Assessment

In this area, Plab 2 will assess your ability to undergo proper testing of the patient. This area includes history taking, practical procedures, and any investigation that will lead to the diagnosis of patients cases.

In this data gathering, the test doesn’t assess whether you can get a potential diagnosis, but essentially how you gather the data and relate it to a possible case.

History taking may include basic medical requirements like past medical history, drug history, psychosocial history, ideas, concerns, and Expectations(ICE).

Conversely, the examination of patients involves testing on the patent r using anatomical modes. Areas of examination skills tested include the regular everyday examinations(e.g., respiratory, cardiovascular, lower limb) test or a model examination such as breast, kidney, eye examination.

Practical procedures focus on the techniques of carrying out medical knowledge in a typical ward in the UK. Examples include taking blood, inserting a cannula, calculating common drug doses, urinary catheterization, etc.

Clinical management

This course assesses how you handle both clinical and non-clinical situations. For instance, if you have the right diagnosis from an ailment, how do you relay your patient’s information?

How do you handle the case such that the patient has correct and safe information about the diagnosis?

In your approach, are you in line with the UK’s current best practices? Now you’ have the adequate data and proof of disease, are you managing the case adequately as a UK young doctor?

These are typical scenarios this course assesses in the Plab 2.

Interpersonal Skills

You would need communication skills to relate information to your patients. For this reason, the Plab 2 tests how efficiently you combine data gathering and clinical management in a patient-centered way.

The course tests relationship skills. For example, are you regularly engaging your patient? Do you rapport well with your patient? Are you effectively asking open and closed questions?

What about medical ethics? Are you complying with them? How do you handle challenging situations such as informing a patient about the bad news of death?

In general, the Plab 2 assesses how you can handle a patient with a relative point of view, and also if you can handle it professionally or not.

PLAB Exam In Nigeria Requirements

Before getting your hands down on the UK journey, you’ll need to know the requirements and eligibility for the Plab exam in Nigeria, and also how to plan adequately. Read on to know the eligibility conditions to take this exam.

To be eligible to write the Plab 1 can, you will need the following:

  • Completed Primary Medical Qualification
  • Required score in IELTS/OET

N.b: it’s not necessary to complete your housemanship in Nigeria before sitting for Plab 1. However, you should do it so you’ll have something to fall back on; perhaps the journey wasn’t successful.

1. Primary Medical Qualification for PLAB 1

Your primary medical qualification(PMQ) simply means the degree you got after graduating from medical school. That is the degree by which you became a medical doctor.

You should know that the title of the degree differs. For example, in Nigeria, it’s called MBBS(Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery). But in the United States, the first professional medical degree is the Doctor of Medicine(MD).

To be eligible to write Plab 1, you’ll need to have written and passed your final medical exams, leading to the degree’s award. That is, you’ll need to get your results from your medical school.

Because of this reason, medical students can’t write Plab except if you’ve finished for final exams.

2. English Proficiency Examinations

To be eligible for PLAB, you must take and pass the English Language proficiency tests approved by the GMC. There are two tests in this area; the IELTS(Academic), and OET(medicine). IELTS is common in Nigeria, but the OET recently started.

Generally, these language proficiency tests are you to assess your English language, especially if you’re from a non-English speaking country.

The reason is that all the courses, including the clinical activities, will be taken in English. Asides that, the majority of all clinical interaction, personal contact with families one conducted in English.

It’s pertinent to note that the IELTS can be different types. That is Academic, Life Skills, and General training. But since you’re aiming for professional practice in the UK, your concern is the Academic Version of IELTS.

What is the IELTS requirement for PLAB

How much do you need to pass in the IELTS? For the Plab, GMC expects you to have a minimum of 7.5 score average with at least 7.0 in all four areas– reading, writing, listening and speaking.

This requirement is challenging as you’ll need to b highly proficient in all areas. If you get 8 overall, but you scored 6 in reading, you’re not eligible for Plab.

PLAB Exam In Nigeria Fees

The Plab exam fees are considered cost-effective compared to the USMLE. Most medical graduates in Nigeria do save up their housemanship salary for Plab.

PLABPound Sterling (from April 2023)
Part 1£255
Part 2£934

Which Countries Accept PLAB?

What’s more exciting about PLAB is that it doesn’t only give access to the UK but also serves as a means by which international medical graduates can practice in other countries.

The following countries accept PLAB as a requirement for IMGs to practice in their country:

New Zealand- PLAB 1 + IELTS/OET + NZREX

If you intend to head over to New Zealand, you will only need to write PLAB 1, and IELTS of course! However, there’s an extra OSCE examination called the New Zealand Registration Exam clinical.

This clinical exam is like PLAB 2, which assesses history taking, clinical examination, investigation, management, and clinical research.

Ireland- PLAB 1 + PRES 3

Like in New Zealand, the requirement to enter Ireland is PLAB 1 and an extra PRES 3 OSCE test, which examines your communication, interpretation, and practical skills in the clinic just like PLAB 2.


To head to Australia, you must have passed PLAB. The Medical Board of Australia recognizes PLAB, and thus, you will not write the Australia Medical Council(AMC) exams.

How to Apply for PLAB

Before you think of applying for PLAB 1, you must have passed the required score in IELTS/OET. Now lets to an overview of how to apply for PLAB.
Booking for PLAB 1 is simple. You just need the following:

  • Your passport
  • Primary Medical Qualification(PMQ)
  • Requires score in IELTS/OET
  • A GMC online account– this is entirely free.

Things to Know about PLAB Exam in Nigeria

We all hear different stories about PLAB. Most times, it’s hard to decipher, which is true and which is not. From research, here are some great tips to know about the PLAB Exam in Nigeria

1. PLAB Exam is a Clinically Oriented Examination

Like most medical school exams in Nigeria, you’ll have to know every nook and cranny of your tests. You might begin to worry if you’ve forgotten an important enzyme or a structure.

But in PLAB, the case is different. It’s about the application of the medical knowledge you learned in clinical practice.

And yes, don’t just think the questions from clinical will be random- they’re common presentations GMC expects a UK FY2 doctor to know!

2. Housemanship is not a Requirement For PLAB.

In Nigeria, to register for most programs like the NYSC, you must have finished an internship program. But this is not the case with PLAB.

According to the GMC website, there are only two requirements to book PLAB 1- the evidence of English proficiency, and PMQ.

So literally, you don’t need to sign up for housemanship. Once you’ve finished with medical school, you’re eligible to open a GMC online account to book PLAB 1. Asides that, you also don’t need your medical certificate at hand.

3. PLAB is Not Hard

In our opinion, PLAB is not difficult. This UK exam tests the most fundamental clinical knowledge and skills expected of any junior doctor in the UK.

PLAB is not like the USMLE that tests for the most intelligent candidates. It’s not based on competition. Instead, it assesses whether you have the must-know knowledge and skills required from a UK doctor.

4. PLAB will Stop Existing by 2024

According to a new initiative, PLAB will be phased out by 2022. And, a new examination body, the United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment[UKMLA] will come in.

This new assessment body will be in charge of both Medical graduates in the UK and IMGs.

Factors to Consider Before Applying for PLAB Exam in Nigeria?

Before heading on any new adventure, there are some things to put into consideration. And the PLAB is no exception! Here are some things to check before considering PLAB Exam in Nigeria?

1. Finances

Before you step your feet into this UK journey, you must check the costs. Budget for your visa fees, accommodation, tutorials, transportation to PLAB centers within Nigeria and Outside.

If you’ve got much on your hands, you could use the help of a sponsor. And also, note that after your PLAB 1, you’ll need to write and pass PLAB 2 within two years. So, it’s pertinent you get ready for all the finances you’ll be making.

2. Preparation

You need to prepare sufficiently for the PLAB Exams. According to research, you can take up to 6 weeks to prepare for PLAB 1. For better results, join tutorial groups, sign up for PLAB academies.

Final Thoughts on PLAB Exam in Nigeria

We haven’t exhausted all you need to know about the PLAB exam in Nigeria. This post is an overview of the basic concepts you need to grab about the Professional examination

In all, PLAB Exam in Nigeria has to be properly planned to make your journey to the UK a successful one.

If PLAB in Nigeria isn’t the right choice for you, read our post on USMLE in Nigeria. But if PLAB is perfect, come back here for super awesome guides on PLAB.

If you’ve got questions or any addition to this post, kindly let us know how you feel using the comment box.

Don’t forget to share this amazing piece with your family, friends, and loved ones. Cheers!

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Anaso Emmanuel
Anaso Emmanuel

My name is Anaso Emmanuel and I’m the founder of MedicsDomain; an SEO Expert, Content Writer and an Enthusiastic learner. To the outside world, I’m an ordinary Medic but secretly I use this blog to help aspirants get into medical school, provide insightful guides and connect with others like me.


    • Hi Samad👋. First of all, we say a big “thank you” for dropping by, we truly appreciate.
      Now off to your question; “do I need IELTS in addition to USMLE?”
      The Answer is No. IELTS or TOEFL or any other English Proficiency test is not a requirement to write USMLE Exams.
      But recently, ECFMG made it a requirement for IMG’s to take the Occupational English Test(OET) medicine before getting their certification.
      So in summary, IELTS is not needed for USMLE but OET is a requirement to get the ECFMG certification.
      Hope this solves your question, Samad? 😉

  1. This was informative! What do you advice ,
    writing PLAB or USMLE if one is aiming a competitive residency position. It is easy to get into ortho, Neuro or OBG in the UK? Thanks

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