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Difference Between MRCP and PLAB

MRCP vs PLAB

Doctors who are not citizens of the United Kingdom but are interested to work in the U.K. must take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) exam and be members of the Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP).

PLAB has two parts, Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 consists of multiple-choice questions (MCQ). The required preparation time for this part is three months. The exam is conducted in numerous centers around the globe. Coverage of this part is found in the following books: Oxford Hand Book of Clinical Medicine, PLAB Digest: MCQ book with discussions, and Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties. The second part of the PLAB exam is clinical. The required time for preparation is two to three months. Unlike the first part, which is conducted around the world, this part is conducted only at the General Medical Council building in London. The recommended reading can come from the books “London PLAB” and “PLAB Made Easy.” Courses are also offered in cities in the U.K. for PLAB 2. Online application is also possible. Well-known courses include PLAB Trainers in London, NHS Professionals in Preston, PLAB Masters in London, and London PLAB in Birmingham.

Passing the PLAB exam does not certify a qualification or a job. New immigration rules state that non-European doctors will not be given training even at junior levels. PLAB is just an assessment whether a doctor from another continent is capable to work as a physician in their location. After passing the PLAB, another exam needs to be taken. An MRCP is needed so that a doctor can proceed to another level of specialist training.

MRCP in the U.K. consists of three parts; Part 1, 2 and 3. The first and second parts are written exams. These two parts can be taken a number of times, but the PACES exam, which is the final part taken to secure membership, must be taken no more than thrice. If the doctor didn’t pass the PACES exam, he/she must take Part 2 again.

The MRCP Part 1 examination consists of a two-paper format. Each paper consists of 100 MCQ in with 5 choices. The candidate must choose the best answer from the choices. The recommended time is around three to six months. Recommended readings include: “Basic Medical Sciences for MRCP Part 1” by Easterbrook, Philippa and “Essential Revision Notes for MRCP” authored by Philip A. Kalra.

The second part of the MRCP exam is a two-day examination with a format of three papers. All papers consist of 100 MCQ. Clinical scenarios may be included in the exams. Illustrations of it may as well be included. The time requirement for this part is around three to six months. “Rapid Review of Clinical Medicine” by Sanjay Sharma and online reviews may be read. Practice applications may also be helpful for the candidates.

The PACES exam needs clinical experiences. The time requirement is the same, that is, three to six months. The recommended readings include “PACES for the MRCP” by Tim Hall and “An Aid to the MRCP PACES” Volumes 1 and 2 of Ryder and Mir. Courses for PACES are offered in the U.K. This includes: Ealing PACES Course, Kings College PACES Course, PACES Ahead, Pastest Course for PACES, Lancashire PACES Course, Hammersmith PACES Course, and Guys and St. Thomas PACES Course.

Summary:

1.Non-European doctors are required to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) exam and be a member of the Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) before practicing their profession in the U.K.

2.PLAB has two parts, Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 is multiple-choice questions (MCQ). The required preparation time for this part is three months. The exam is conducted in numerous centers around the globe. The second part of the PLAB exam is clinical. The required time for preparation is two to three months. Unlike the first part, which is conducted around the world, this part is conducted only at the General Medical Council building in London.

3.Passing PLAB does not certify a qualification or a job.

4.After passing the PLAB, another exam needs to be taken. MRCP is needed so that a doctor can proceed to another level of specialist training. MRCP in the U.K. consists of three parts; Part 1, 2, and 3. The first and second parts are written exams. These two parts can be taken a number of times. However, the PACES exam, which is the final part taken to secure membership, must be taken no more than thrice.

5.If the doctor didn’t pass the PACES exam, he/she must take Part 2 again.


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8 Comments

  1. can you tell me that is it possible to do frcp before mrcp??

  2. Hi, I’m from Egypt & I passed the PACES exam recently & have received my MRCP Diploma from Egypt overseas center, am i eligible to apply for a GMC no. in the UK or not, please help me on this thank you.

    • please dr Hesham can you tell what did you do ?? after passing mrcp in Egypt is it easy to apply for gmc and work in the Uk ??

  3. Hi,I’m from Myanmar.
    Can I take MRCP prior to PLAB?
    Thanks.

  4. Hello,
    I’ve completed the basic MBBS, then did DTCD (Diploma in Tuberculisis and Chest Diseases) and then finished DNB Pulmonary Medicine and presently working in ICU.
    Considering the above post graduation degrees which exam should I take? PLAB or MRCP to work in the UK?
    Thanking you

  5. Hello
    I’m a fresh graduate,doing housejob.kindly tell is it necessary to do PLAB before or after MRCP in order to get job in uk?
    Kindly help me in this regard.
    Thankyou

  6. Hi sir,myself Dr.Nishit n I m anaesthesiologist working in India 7 yrs of experience I want to know and want to work with best possible good institute please provide me good references.I am interested in anaesthesiology n critical care medicine.

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