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Clinical Skills Assessment Medical OSCE Exam (OSCE home)

General Medical Council PLAB Part 2




PLAB 2 Objective Structured Clinical Examination 


Objective Structured Clinical Examination were first created and  implemented in the UK in early 1980s. The British are the pioneers of today's clinical skills assessment exams. 

The British General Medical Council Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test PLAB 2 exam is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination for British and international medical graduates who wish to practice medicine in the UK under limited registration. It takes the form of 14 clinical scenarios or ‘stations' as well as a rest station and a pilot station. A pilot station is one where we are checking whether the station can be used in future examinations. Your mark for this station will not count towards your result. 

PLAB 2 exam stations last only 5 minutes each, thus it will assess your skills in only one of the common Objective Structured Clinical Examination formats, such us physical examination, history taking, or counseling. You need to be well prepared and focused to pass PLAB 2 exam due to the five minutes short patient encounter duration. However, don't rush and remember that your personality, behaviour, and communication skills are also tested. A well prepared organized action plan is needed for the PLAB 2 OSCE Exam.

The PLAB 2 Exams are designed to test your ability to practice safely as a senior house officer (SHO) in a first appointment in a UK hospital. It is set at the end of Foundation Year One.

In PLAB 2 Objective Structured Clinical Exam, practical skills using manikins are not uncommon stations. Some of such PLAB 2 exam stations are wound suturing, breast exam, vaginal speculum and bimanual examination, Cervical smear procedure, testes examination, arterial blood gas and venous cannula puncture, CPR for adults and children, eye exam with ophthalmoscope, male and female urethra catheterization.


Updated August 2016

The PLAB test is becoming more rigorous and more reflective of real-life practice. The new version of the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test starts from September 2016.

 What is changing and when?

From September 2016:

New questions and practical scenarios: GMC will assess candidates’ professionalism and understanding of ethics as well as their clinical knowledge and skills. For example, testing doctors’ understanding about a patient’s right to make a choice about their care. You may wish to read the latest PLAB blueprint, which is a guide to what the test covers. This gives you links to the ethical and professional guidance which you will be tested on.


A fully revised practical assessment, including more and longer scenarios: GMC will increase the number of scenarios in the Part 2 exam from 14 to 18. Scenarios will be longer and last for eight minutes. Candidates will be given two minutes between scenarios to read the instructions and patient information. The whole exam will take around three hours and twenty minutes. There will be a minimum of two rest stations, allowing candidates a ten minute break each time. The scenarios will test candidates in settings such as a mock consultation or an acute ward, that more accurately reflect how doctors apply their knowledge and skills in real life. The situations will be more integrated rather than individual, separate tasks. This could often involve aspects of clinical reasoning, taking a patient’s history and working out what you do with the findings. Candidates will be tested on three domains: Data- 2 gathering, technical and assessment skills, Clinical management skills and Interpersonal skills.


OSCEhome note: These changes make the PLAB 2 OSCE similar to the American and Canadian OSCEs. These changes are already dealt with in the currently available OSCEhome ebook package edition.


For more and up to date information about PLAB 2 Exam, please visit the GMC website at: http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/plab/Blueprint.asp


For PLAB 2 sample stations, tips, resources and how to prepare for PLAB 2 OSCE Exams, you are in the right site!


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