The Savvy IMG

Should I apply for FY1 or not?

If you're an IMG who hasn't completed internship, should you apply for FY1 (UK internship) or should you complete internship overseas and come to the UK for FY2? We'll tackle these question in this post.

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What if my internship experience is rejected by the GMC

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UDPATED: June 26th, 2023

The full question usually goes something like this:

I’m an IMG who hasn’t completed internship. Should I apply for FY1 (UK internship) or should I complete internship overseas and come to the UK for F2?

Answer: Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what is best for you. I can only provide you the information to help you make a decision.

Here are some points for you to consider:

  • As long as you’re eligible for FY1, then you have a good chance of getting a job without needing to attend any interview.
  • Starting from FY1 will mean you integrate into the system better and applying for specialty training after FY2 will be easier.
  • The exams you need include IELTS with 7.5 in all sections or OET with 400 in all sections + PLAB
  • If your FY1 year is due to start more than 2 years after your graduation, then you will need to undergo the clinical assessment as well.
  • If you decide to complete internship overseas, you’ll have to attend an interview when you decide to finally get a job in the UK.
  • You can apply for Standalone FY2 but you are not limited to this, you can apply for any other SHO level position as a first job.
  • If you do complete internship overseas, just make sure it meets the GMC criteria for internship. 

Now, I understand that timing can often be an issue for IMGs as FY1 only starts in August and the application process can take up to a year. The question then becomes:


Should I wait for FY1 or should I go ahead with internship overseas and apply directly for FY2?

To answer that, I’d say the exact same things as above and add the following:

  • It’s up to you what you do in that gap year. It will have no effect on your application to FY1. Many have worked as healthcare assistants, phlebotomists, or even shop assistants.
  • The gap between graduation from medical school and FY1 will also have no effect on your application to FY1 or GMC registration.
  • The gap also does not affect your application to specialty training in the future.

Bottom Line

It’s really down to you to do your thorough research of the pros and cons and come to a decision that’s best for you. Unfortunately, no one can really do that and make the decision for you.

I hope this FAQ has given you some ideas and concepts to think about. Best of luck on your journey!

Further reading

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Looking for a step-by-step guide?

Subscribe to the Savvy IMG and grab your FREE 2-year roadmap to UK residency as an IMG.


Looking for a step-by-step guide?

Subscribe to the Savvy IMG and grab your FREE 2-year roadmap to UK residency as an IMG.


20 Responses

  1. So I graduated in June 2022 , and i want to apply for fy1 next year ton get in in 2024 , will I need to do the clinical skill exams ?

    1. Hi there, yes you will need to sit the clinical assessment I’m afraid as it will be 2 years between your graduation and starting FY1.

  2. I have a 3 year gap between graduation and internship.
    First two years I was studying for an exam I didn’t not end up doing + was looking after sick family member and the third I did an observer-ship while waiting to get a spot. I now completed my intern year, finished plabs and was wondering if it’s all for nothing to get full registration?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated

    1. Hi there, I would contact the GMC directly in your case. If you graduated from Ireland then you shouldn’t need to take PLAB to get GMC registration these days. It was previously the case that non-EU nationals who graduated from an EU medical school needed to sit PLAB, but since Brexit, all EU graduates can gain GMC registration regardless of nationality. However there is a requirement to have recent clinical experience so it would be good to speak with them about that as well. Hope it works out, all the best!

  3. iam going to finish my medical school in(July 2022) and my internship will start in September 2022 and end in August 2023 will i be eligible to apply in the fy1 application process(2023) if i’dont complete my internship, or should inot go to my internship at all in order to be eligible!!

    1. You can apply for FY1 and see how it goes. If you get in, you can leave your internship to avoid becoming ineligible. If you don’t, then you can complete internship and apply for other suitable jobs. Good luck!

  4. Hello
    I’m a British citizen studying abroad in the gulf. I’m planing on doing FY1 and 2 but I really don’t want to take a gap year. What is the alternative ? The internship in my country doesn’t pay for expats and I don’t wanna live through that at the same time not waste a year just doing exams and having the potential to lose a lot of knowledge and experience. I’m in my 6th year which is equivalent to 4th in the UK.

    1. Hi Bilal, unfortunately if you need to sit PLAB there’s really no way around it. Currently you can only sit PLAB after you graduate, and you can’t start FY1 until you’ve passed PLAB and gotten your GMC registration. 1 year is really not such a long time where you’re going to lose knowledge and experience. You’ll be studying for the exams and you can always go on clinical skills courses shortly before starting FY1 to refresh your skills.

      You can use the year productively and in a way that will help you get into ST1/CT1 on your first application by building up your portfolio. A lot of UK graduates take a year out after FY2 just to build up their portfolio for applications to training because they struggle to do it while working full-time. You can avoid this and get it all out of the way so you can “relax” more during FY1/FY2. I wish I had utilised my gap year better (also a British citizen who applied to FY1), building my portfolio during FY1/FY2 was a lot of stress!


  5. Hi there , i graduated a month ago and if were to apply for FY1 , i would only be able to join FY1 in 2023 . Is there a time limit from graduation to starting work as FY1 ? and is it alright if i clear all the necessary exams in 2022 , and start internship in my country while waiting to start working in the uk ? by working a few months in my country , do i need to resit plab and join FY2 i mean . Thank you

    1. Hi Sasha!
      1. No, but if there is a more than 2 year gap, you need to take the Clinical Assessment as well as PLAB.
      2. Yes you can do that, but you should not complete internship if you want to be eligible for FY1.
      3. No, no one needs to resit PLAB for any reason. If you don’t finish the internship, you can still go for FY1

      Good luck!

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Meet the Team

Hi, we’re Drs Nick & Kimberly Tan, the two IMGs behind The Savvy IMG. We write comprehensive guides, create courses, and provide one-to-one guidance to help other overseas qualified doctors on their journey to the UK.
We have scoured the official guidance to put these posts together, but we can make mistakes! If you spot anything that is incorrect, please get in touch and we’ll put it right.
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