USMLE is an essential exam to work in US as a doctor. The good thing about US is that you don’t have to take loads of exams, like in UK, to progress in your careers. Job prospects are relatively better than UK.
Conducted by ECFMG, website www.ecfmg.org
The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States and is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).
USMLE has 3 Steps: Step 1, 2 & 3. Step 2 has 2 components, Step 2 CK (clinical Knowledge) and Step 2 CS (clinical Skills)
Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS can be taken in any order. Step 3 is taken once the individual has successfully passed the above exams.
All of the steps are Computer Based Exams (CBE) except Step 2 CS, where you will be assessed on your clinical skills and English language proficiency.
All exams can be applied online through ecfmg website www.ecfmg.org. However, you have to access the Prometric website to schedule your exam. Please note, Step 2 CS and Step 3 can only be taken in United States, whilst the remaining parts can be taken in centres all around the world.
USMLE Step 1:
Required time: 3- 6 months
By Kaplan or usmleworld
Usmle Step 2 CK:
Recommended Time: 3-6 months
Online Course by usmleworld
Step 2 CS:
Recommended Time: 4- 6 weeks
Online course by USMLE World
USMLE Step 3:
Recommended Time: 3 months
Online course by usmleworld.
The only way to work in UK is to pass PLAB or be exempted from PLAB and get registered with GMC. Details on exemption can be found on GMC website www.gmc-uk.org
IELTS the greatest milestone! You have to pass this before you set on the pathway to PLAB/ exemption. The new immigration rules have made sure they mint their money through this exam.
PLAB has 2 parts;
Part 1 is MCQ- Required time to prepare is around 3 months.
Exam is conducted in various centres around the world.
PLAB Digest: MCQ book with explanations
Oxford Hand Book of Clinical Medicine
Oxford Hand Book of Clinical Specialities.
Part 2 is clinical – it is held less frequently than used to be in recent past.
Required Time: around 2- 3 months
The only examination centre is located at General Medical Council building- London.
There are numerous PLAB 2 courses in various major cities in UK, which you can apply on line. We would recommend you to do one such course. Information can be found online. Famous courses are;
PLAB Masters- LONDON
PLAB Trainers- London
London PLAB- Birmingham
NHS Professionals- Preston
Further Guidance on PLAB can be obtained from GMC website, www.gmc-uk.org
Passing PLAB – we should remember will not guarantee a job nor it is a qualification. Prospects for getting jobs for non-European doctors are extremely slim. As per new immigration rules, non-European doctors would not be offered training job, even at junior level!
Anyway, PLAB is just an entrance exam, which indirectly lets the GMC know that we can work as a doctor in UK.
Now that you have PLAB, you will start to apply for jobs in the speciality of choice.
Information on jobs in UK can be obtained from following websites:
www.mmc.nhs.uk, www.jobs.nhs.uk & www.bmjcareerrs.com
Now we have Foundation Programme (F1 and F2) a 2 year programme, which includes training as a house officer in the first year and as Senior house Officer in the second year. You can voice your preferences in your letter of acceptance for the job after a successful interview, but the specialities are usually allocated in ranking order.
As you are aware the overseas doctors’ chances of getting into speciality registrar jobs (ST3 /or SpR) has become very very slim.
Anyway, you have to pass membership exam, eg: MRCP (UK), to proceed to higher specialist training. Unfortunately I don’t know much about other membership exams except MRCP. However, information about other member exams can be found at relevant royal colleges.
Contains hundreds of free plab 1 questions.
Free resources and links to jobs after passing PLAB.
Has 3 parts
Part 1 and 2 are written parts
PACES is the clinical, final part which has to be taken to secure Membership.
Part1 and 2 can be taken unlimited number of times, but PACES can only be taken 3 times after which we have to take part 2 again.
However, there are going to be new changes implemented, which will be updated in the www.mrcpuk.org
The MRCP (UK) Part 1 examination has a two-paper format. Each paper contains 100 multiple choice questions in one from five (best of five) format, where a candidate chooses the best answer from five possible answers.
Required Time: around 3-6 months
Essential Revision Notes For MRCP- Philip A Karla
Basic Medical Sciences for MRCP part 1– Philippa J Easterbrook
On line courses: onexamination.com (highly recommended)
The MRCP (UK) Part 2 Written Examination is a 2 days exam, with a three-paper format. All Papers in the MRCP (UK) Part 2 Written Examination contain up to 100 multiple choice questions. The questions will usually have a clinical scenario, may include the results of investigations and may be illustrated.
Required time: around 3- 6 months
Rapid Review of Clinical Medicine- Sanjay Sharma
Online Courses: onexamination.com (highly recommended)
Would also advise to practice picture test books for MRCP.
PACES: needs loads of clinical experience.
Required Time: 3- 6 months
An Aid to the MRCP PACES Vol: 1 & 3- Ryder & Mir
There are specialised courses for PACES in many major cities of UK. I would highly recommend you to do one of them. These can be found online. Famous ones are as below:
Ealing Paces Course
Hammersmith Paces Course
Lancashire Paces Course
Kings College Paces Course
Walton Neurology Course for Paces
Pastest Course, for PACES
Guys & St Thomas Paces Course
Basic Science Notes
Clinical Pharmacology Notes
Infectious Disease Notes
Wish you all the best.
Dr Mahboob Ali Dahani
Clinical Fellow- Cardiology
Southampton University Hospital- UK