I am a doctor

For overseas qualified doctors, there are generally three examinations that you will need to pass in order to satisfy the GMC’s Registration requirements:

To satisfy the English language stage:


You can choose either the academic version of the International English Language Testing System aka IELTS or the Occupational English Test aka OET.  You do not have to do both and which one you choose is a personal decision. Almost every day, we speak to doctors who choose IELTS or OET and they have compelling reasons for their preferences.


  • IELTS (Academic) tests your Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing in a generalized academic context. Generally if you need the IELTS for visa purposes, the best version of the IELTS to opt for is IELTS (Academic) UKVI. If, however, you do not need to apply for a visa at the same time, then you can save yourself approximately £40 and opt for regular IELTS (Academic).


You’re in the right place for tailored courses that aim to help you reach the high standards required by your regulator. We have IELTS courses in person and online.


  • OET (Medicine) tests your Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing in a professional medical context. If you have practiced medicine and want to opt for an exam that is intent on emulating your workplace, then this is the exam for you.


We have OET courses in person (see www.oetdoctors.co.uk) and online (see: www.oetonline.net).


Once you’ve cleared the English language stage, if you’re an EU doctor, that’s it! If you’re an overseas qualified doctor, the next stage is the medical theory stage:

  • Plab 1

The exam tests your ability to apply theory to patient care and the questions relate to best practice in the UK. This includes testing your knowledge of equipment that is readily available in hospitals all over the nation. The exam covers acute, common or important conditions typically seen by trainees entering their second year of the UK Foundation Programme (F2), as well as the management of long term conditions seen in primary care. It’s made up of 180 MCQs (5 choices) that you need to answer in three hours.


The final stage is the medical practical or Objective Structured Clinical Examination also known as:

  • Plab 2

The exam tests your ability to deliver practical care. It is made up of 18 scenarios that last for eight minutes. The aim is to place you in scenario that mimics real life and it includes a mock consultation or an acute ward. The examination covers everything that a UK trained doctor would be exposed to on the first day of Foundation Year Two (F2). Like Plab 1, all of the questions relate to current national best practice guidelines.

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