Sour-Sweet Romance With PLAB & My Journey To Becoming a UK Medical Practitioner - Find Out How I Did It

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My name is Dr. Oghenekevwe Daniel Ogidigben and this is a short narrative about my sour-sweet romance with the Professional & Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB)  / journey to becoming a United Kingdom (UK) Medical Practitioner.  A lot of Medical Doctors and even Nurses back in Nigeria continue to ask me how I did it and my initial response is: first; total dissatisfaction with your impoverished comfort zone and second; WILL POWER even in the face of adversity. All directed by the grace of the Almighty Creator of course; depending on what you personally believe in.

📷 (@fotorolla)

As a result of frustration with the Nigerian system and total dissatisfaction within my impoverished comfort zone, I had put my sweat and soul into writing my personal statement and was eventually rewarded with a conditional offer to undergo Masters degree training in Public Health Promotion at The London School Of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine(LSHTM) in 2016. This warranted me to quickly take The IELTS Professional Test for proof of English Language and my result came out to be an overall of 7.5 with minimums of 7 in reading and writing. Was I a lucky chap or what? I only needed 5.5 or there about to meet LSHTM proof of English Language proficiency and by all standards, I had scaled that fence. Little did I know that my IELTS result was eventually going to be used as my registration criteria for the PLAB 1 examination and minimum score in all sections of the test was expected to be 7. It took wise counsel from a friend and former schoolmate who was already working in the UK to make me think of the PLAB path though but very importantly as well, it took grace to listen to that counsel and take positive action towards eventually becoming a qualified medical practitioner with full licence to practice in the UK General Medical Council Register.
👀: Wikipedia

All of the pursuits along this path was started from a financial standpoint of N0:00 Nigerian Naira or £0:00/$0:00 as the case maybe. My monthly wage was about N170K at the time, barely £350 and many of my friends felt that I was living above my means, always getting into debt to pay my rent on an expensive part of the Island, in Lagos,Nigeria. This is to let all those complaining about funds know that, money is a secondary factor compared to WILL POWER, when it comes to pursing ones dreams in whatever sector of life. I eventually registered in October 2016 for the PLAB 1 having only 3 weeks or there about to study till exam day and yet during the same period,I had to be up in the morning at 5am to prepare,beat Lagos traffic, work from 8am to 5pm, get on Lagos traffic again to eventually return home at 9pm. Only God knows how I managed to study. I somehow did a crash with Dr. Khalid's 1700 study Multiple Choice Questions, reviewing with The Oxford Handbook Of Clinical Medicine and Oxford Handbook Of Clinical Specialties.  I cannot even deny it; the exam was a tough one for me. The romance with the questions tasted sour 😄. You can ask those who have failed it over and over how it feels. With resilient time management however and critical medical reasoning; digging deep into residual knowledge and making the best from my short period of study, I managed to attempt all the questions. The result came out a few weeks later and I passed with  just 6 marks above cut off.

📷: (@fotorolla)

I had initially thought that PLAB 2 will go the same way for me, working till the end of September 2017; travelling to the UK at the beginning of October to do a self study crash course and taking the purely clinical communications examination on the 17th of October in 2017. My friend had warned me not to attempt the almost £1000 examination without attending a preparatory Academy. I actually would have loved to attend one at the time but of course I didn't have the funds. I had however booked to attend one of those with a credit facility for International Medical Graduates but I  got the terrible information about cancellation of the course, the same weekend I was to travel to the UK . I had only paid £50 to register and the rest of the fee was going to be paid after  I started working so, what could I do when they cancelled abruptly? My advise is stay away from such Academies and deals unless you must. Some people have passed using them anyway. I eventually took the exam and of course your guess is as good as the reality; I failed it; 20 marks below cut off! I had sold my Nissan Altima to pay for this exam. Got a loan from my Partner and any other source I could find to sponsor my ticket/accommodation  and now all of that had gone down the drain. I had earlier missed the Masters Degree opportunity in 2016 because of lack of funds. Deferred to 2017 and still no way, then this.....sour was an understatement for this sorry romance. Was I ever going to make it to the KINGDOM?
To cut a long story short, I was able to summon WILL POWER with my God given grace and with the help of those who saw the X-Factor in me. I registered for the PLAB 2 again;came down from my high horses to study such that, I was reading almost everyday on my way to work in Lagos public transport- remember that I had sold my car to fail the first attempt 😇. I borrowed as much as I could get in addition to the little funds I had gathered from my lean wages, better half,family, friends and Samaritan colleagues(the PLAB whatsApp Group I belonged); attended SAMSON ACADEMY in East London with another 3 weeks to spare after the end of my preparatory course and eventually went for my second attempt on the 7th of February,2018. Result came out 4 weeks later and I passed 20 marks above cut off 👯👯👯. The process between passing PLAB 2 and getting into the UK General Medical Council Register is a story for another day but I eventually registered and the rest they history. I currently work as a Medical Practitioner in the United Kingdom and though my romance with the PLAB examination was sour-sweet, I am a true evidence of the fact that, IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING. Whatever profession you find yourself, refuse to settle for less and pursue your dream life like you have no limitations.  Until we meet again in my next article on "DR KEVWE'S BLOG", do well to stay HEALTHY and remain blessed.

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