Comprehensive Guide to Best Books for PLAB Preparation | Academically

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Books for PLAB Preparation

Feb 13, 2024 4 min read
Best Books for PLAB Preparation

Key Takeaways: 

  • Ample practice questions and mock exams are crucial for reinforcing knowledge, familiarising candidates with the exam format, and honing time-management skills.
  • Access to reliable study materials builds confidence, helping candidates approach the PLAB exams with a calm and focused mindset, ultimately reducing anxiety and optimising performance on test day.
  • High-quality study materials offer detailed explanations for each question, helping candidates understand the reasoning behind correct and incorrect answers, thereby enhancing critical thinking skills.

Setting off on the journey to becoming a licensed medical professional in the United Kingdom is no small feat. The Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) examination is an inevitable step for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) seeking to practise medicine in the UK. Adequate preparation is key, and a plethora of study materials are available to guide aspiring candidates. With its rigorous assessments of medical knowledge and English language proficiency, success in the PLAB exam requires diligent preparation and access to high-quality study materials. One of the key resources for PLAB preparation is books, which provide in-depth coverage of essential topics and help candidates build a solid foundation of knowledge.

Let us flick through some of the most recommended books for the preparation for the PLAB exam, offering a roadmap to success in this challenging yet rewarding endeavour.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Books for PLAB Preparation

  • Books for a Successful PLAB Preparation
  • OHCM (Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine)
  • PLAB: 1000 Extended Matching Questions
  • Clinical Medicine for MRCP PACES
  • Get Through PLAB Part 1
  • PLAB 2 Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Manual
  • PLAB: 1700 Multiple Choice Questions
  • Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties 
  • The Importance of Choosing the Right Study Materials During the PLAB Preparation
  • Comprehensive Coverage of Topics
  • Accuracy and Relevance
  • Structured Learning Pathways
  • Practice Questions and Mock Exams
  • Explanation of Concepts
  • Targeted Preparation for Each Part
  • Expert Guidance and Insights
  • Builds Confidence and Reduces Anxiety
  • Conclusion

Books for a Successful PLAB Preparation

Given below is a list of books that will be your best friends during your PLAB preparation journey.

OHCM (Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine)

A revered resource in medical education, the OHCM is a must-have for PLAB aspirants. Its concise yet informative approach is perfect for quick revision, and its pocket-sized format makes it a convenient companion. The OHCM covers a wide range of medical topics, making it an invaluable tool for both PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 candidates. The book's emphasis on clinical reasoning and practical applications aligns well with the PLAB examination's focus.

PLAB: 1000 Extended Matching Questions

Practice is paramount when preparing for any examination, and the "PLAB: 1000 Extended Matching Questions" offers a wealth of practice questions for PLAB 1. The questions cover a diverse range of topics and are designed to mirror the format and difficulty level of the actual PLAB 1 examination. This book not only serves as a tool for self-assessment but also aids in identifying areas that may need further review. Its extensive question bank makes it an essential component of a comprehensive PLAB 1 study plan.

Clinical Medicine for MRCP PACES

While initially designed for the MRCP examination, the "Clinical Medicine for MRCP PACES" book is a valuable resource for PLAB 2 candidates. PLAB 2 assesses clinical and communication skills in a manner similar to the PACES (Practical Assessment of Clinical Examination Skills) exam. This book provides detailed insights into the PACES format and offers practical tips for succeeding in clinical scenarios. Its inclusion of case histories and examination techniques makes it relevant and beneficial for PLAB 2 preparation.

Get Through PLAB Part 1

As the title suggests, "Get Through PLAB Part 1" is specifically tailored for candidates tackling the first part of the PLAB examination. Authored by experienced medical educators, this book provides comprehensive coverage of the PLAB 1 syllabus. Its structured approach, coupled with a variety of practice questions, aids in reinforcing key concepts and enhancing exam readiness. The book's user-friendly format facilitates effective self-study, making it a popular choice among PLAB 1 aspirants.

PLAB 2 Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Manual

The "PLAB 2 OSCE Manual" is an essential companion for candidates preparing for the practical aspects of PLAB 2. Authored by clinicians with extensive experience in medical education, this manual offers a systematic guide to mastering the OSCE format. It covers essential skills such as history-taking, clinical examinations, and communication, providing a step-by-step approach to tackling each station. The inclusion of sample scenarios and tips enhances its practical utility for PLAB 2 candidates.

PLAB: 1700 Multiple Choice Questions

For candidates looking to sharpen their multiple-choice question (MCQ) skills, "PLAB: 1700 Multiple Choice Questions" is an invaluable resource. This book contains a vast array of MCQs covering all areas of medical practice, from basic sciences to clinical medicine. With detailed explanations accompanying each question, candidates can understand the underlying concepts and reinforce their understanding of key topics. Regular practice with MCQs is essential for improving speed and accuracy, making this book an essential component of PLAB preparation.

Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties

In addition to the "Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine," the "Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties" provides focused coverage of specific medical specialties commonly tested in the PLAB exam. This compact yet comprehensive guide offers practical advice on diagnosis, management, and patient care in various clinical settings. With its easy-to-use format and up-to-date information, the "Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties" is an essential resource for PLAB aspirants seeking to deepen their knowledge in specific areas of medicine.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Study Materials During the PLAB Preparation

Choosing the right high-quality study materials is an important aspect of PLAB preparation, playing a significant role in determining a candidate's success in the exam. The Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) exams, divided into PLAB 1 and PLAB 2, are known for their rigorous assessments of medical knowledge, clinical skills, and English language proficiency.

Comprehensive Coverage of Topics

High-quality study materials provide comprehensive coverage of the diverse range of topics tested in the PLAB exams. From basic sciences to clinical medicine and ethical considerations, these materials ensure that candidates are well-versed in all aspects of medical practice, meeting the exam's demands for a broad knowledge base.

Accuracy and Relevance

The medical field is dynamic, with constant advancements and updates. High-quality study materials are frequently revised to incorporate the latest medical guidelines, research findings, and clinical practices. This ensures that candidates are studying information that is not only accurate but also relevant to contemporary medical practices, aligning with the evolving nature of the profession.

Structured Learning Pathways

Well-designed study materials provide structured learning pathways, guiding candidates through a logical sequence of topics. This helps in building a solid foundation and allows for a systematic approach to learning. A well-organized study plan is crucial for efficient preparation, ensuring that candidates cover all necessary content without feeling overwhelmed.

Practice Questions and Mock Exams

Practice questions and mock exams are integral to PLAB preparation. High-quality study materials include a plethora of practice questions covering various question formats, such as multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and extended matching questions (EMQs). Regular exposure to these questions not only reinforces knowledge but also helps candidates familiarise themselves with the exam's format and time constraints.

Explanation of Concepts

Understanding the rationale behind correct and incorrect answers is crucial for effective learning. Top-notch study materials provide detailed explanations for each question, helping candidates grasp the underlying concepts and reasoning. This not only aids in addressing weak areas but also enhances critical thinking skills, a key component of success in the PLAB exams.

Targeted Preparation for Each Part

PLAB consists of two parts, each with its own set of challenges. High-quality study materials are tailored to the specific requirements of each part, addressing the distinct content and skills assessed. Whether mastering basic medical sciences for PLAB 1 or honing clinical and communication skills for PLAB 2, the right materials ensure focused and targeted preparation.

Expert Guidance and Insights

Reputable study materials often come with insights from experienced medical educators and professionals. These experts provide valuable tips, strategies, and additional context to help candidates navigate challenging topics and understand the nuances of medical practice. Access to such expertise can be instrumental in refining one's approach to the PLAB exams.

Builds Confidence and Reduces Anxiety

Having access to high-quality study materials instils confidence in candidates. Confidence is not just about knowing the answers but understanding the reasoning behind them. Well-prepared candidates are more likely to approach the exam with a calm and focused mindset, reducing anxiety and optimising their performance on test day.


Preparing for the PLAB examination is a multi-faceted journey that demands dedication, comprehensive study materials, and strategic planning. The books mentioned above collectively form a robust toolkit for PLAB preparation, addressing the diverse challenges posed by both PLAB 1 and PLAB 2. It's crucial for candidates to tailor their study plan to their individual needs, focusing on areas that require strengthening.

While these books serve as valuable resources, candidates should also complement their studies with other forms of preparation, such as mock exams, online resources, and practical skills workshops. Additionally, staying updated with current medical guidelines and practices is essential for success in both parts of the PLAB examination.

The significance of choosing the right high-quality study materials for PLAB preparation cannot be overstated. It is a strategic investment that goes beyond acquiring information; it shapes the learning experience, enhances understanding, and ultimately positions candidates for success in one of the most critical exams for medical professionals aspiring to practice in the United Kingdom.

Ultimately, success in the PLAB examination is not just about acquiring knowledge but also about applying that knowledge in a clinical context. The recommended books provide a solid foundation, but candidates should approach their preparation with a positive mindset, integrating theoretical understanding with practical application. With the right resources and a disciplined study plan, aspiring medical professionals can navigate the PLAB journey with confidence and competence.

Nuha Mariyam
Nuha Mariyam
about the author

Nuha Mariyam has more than three years of experience in content writing. She strongly believes in the power of creativity and the impact that it makes. With a keen eye for detail and a love for words, Nuha specialises in creating engaging and informative content across various fields, including healthcare.