Physician Assistant Exam – PANCE

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The physician assistant exam required of all applicants before he or she can become licensed is called the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE). The physician assistant exam is multiple choice. It consists of a variety of questions that ascertain an applicant’s level of surgical and medical education.

Eligibility for the Physician Assistant Exam – PANCE

Physician Assistant ExamTo be allowed to take the PANCE exam, you must have graduated from a Physician assistant program that meets the requirements of the “Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA)” as a Physician Assistant Program or a Surgeon Assistant Program. Even if you earned a medical degree in another country, it does not exclude the requirement that you graduated from an accredited PA program. You must meet this requirement to sit for the physician assistant exam.

When you can take the physician assistant exam

You cannot apply for this test until 90 days before you are expected to complete your training program as provided by your program director. The earliest date that you will be able to test is seven days after you complete your program. You can only take the PANCE test once in any 90-day period or three times in a calendar year.
There are two main subject areas the physician assistant exam questions are organized into for the exam:
1. Diseases and the Organ systems , disorders and medical assessments that physician assistants encounter within those systems; and
2. An overall overview related to the typical experience, skills, and knowledge a physician assistant should be able to bring to bear when they are presented with those disorders, diseases, and situation.


The test is multiple-choice and computer-based. It is divided into four blocks of 90 questions each. Ninety minutes are allowed for the completion of each block or a total of six hours. It is given at more than 300 Prometric testing centers throughout the U.S. You must answer at least 198 questions in order to receive a score report. It is doubtful though that with 162 or more unanswered questions that you would reach the scaled score of 75 or better which is considered passing. About two weeks after you take the exam you should recieve your score report.

Physician assistant exam questions – Sample questions

To give you some idea of what the PANCE consists of, here are two sample questions.
Question: Six days ago, a 2-year-old boy had a temperature of 40.0ーC (104.0ーF). No specific cause was found. His fever has persisted and he now has injected conjunctivae, strawberry tongue, dry fissured lips, erythema and desquamation of his hands and feet, and bilateral cervical adenopathy. Which of the following is the most likely complication of this condition?
Question: A 31-year-old African American woman has had worsening malaise, dyspnea, and low-grade fever for the past four weeks. She was recently treated for iritis. On physical examination, red nodules over the anterior lower legs and mild hepatomegaly are noted. Chest x-ray study shows bilateral hilar adenopathy. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?
Without question, the physician assistant exam in a tough one, but all the hard work can be well worth it because the opportunities for physician assistant employment are good and getting better all the time.. There are ways a person can prep for this physician asssistant exam. One way is practicing test questions or by paying for physician assistant exam review classes.  Physician assistant exam review course providers can be found in the resources section.