Intense preparations don’t always mean success will prevail but I was not letting that mindset drive my thoughts for the day. The Plab 1 exam day had finally come and all my hardwork was tied down to this very day. I was extremely nervous on my way to the exam venue. I had worn a nice soft sweater with jeans to ward off any cold in the hall. Previous candidates had warned us that we might feel cold, so I wasn’t taking any chances for distractions. I got to the venue and walked into the main gate. I saw a whole bunch of people seated under a canopy, while some were loitering about. I scanned through the crowd to spot my friends which was a bit difficult as I am short sighted and forgot to carry my glasses.
With a huge smile on my face, I spotted few of my friends and went to meet them. We all spoke about our expectations for the exam and all we hoped for. We met several others ranging from junior residents to consultants who were also seeking to work in the UK. With the kind of health system we had in our country and disregard for the health workers, I wasn’t surprised. After about an hour, we were asked to come into the hall. My heart began to race knowing what was about to go down. We all went in showing our confirmation emails.
I was seated practically in the middle of the hall, waiting to receive the exam papers as I kept looking around. It was finally time to begin. The paper contained 180 questions to be answered in 3 hours. I relaxed my mind, closed my eyes and took in a deep breath. The first few questions seemed okay, it gave me a little confidence but as I went on, some questions began to look confusing. Some were extremely long and tiring. One would have to read it 2 to 3 times to understand what it meant. I kept at it for 2 and half hours and finished. I used the last 30 minutes to go through the questions I had left blank and the ones I wanted to revisit. The hall was super tense.
Before I could think twice, time was gone and the exam was finally over. Some candidates looked relieved, some looked confused, some looked concerned and some were smiling. I wasn’t sure if it was a good smile or the sheepish smile. We left the hall in batches and of course people began to discuss all that happened. I wasn’t sure where I stood. I knew it wasn’t so bad but exams are tricky. You could feel great and fail or you could feel horrible and pass. I wasn’t sure how I felt. I saw a couple of my friends before leaving. I couldn’t stop talking about the exam, I couldn’t stop thinking about each question and even worse I couldn’t stop thinking about what my result would be. It was going to be a long 6 weeks ahead.