8 Tips on Passing the PANCE And PANRE Exams

Dedicated physician assistants (PAs) play an indispensable role in the modern healthcare system, serving as essential members of medical teams and contributing significantly to patient care. Working under the supervision of physicians, PAs perform a wide range of clinical tasks, including examining patients, diagnosing illnesses, developing treatment plans, and providing ongoing care and support. Without the invaluable contributions of PAs, it would be challenging to imagine healthcare functioning smoothly and efficiently.


In preparation for their roles, physician assistants undergo PANCE exam preparation. This exam ensures that PAs possess the knowledge and skills necessary to provide safe and effective patient care under the supervision of physicians. In primary care settings, PAs often serve as the first point of contact for patients, conducting initial assessments, ordering diagnostic tests, and prescribing medications as needed. Their ability to efficiently triage patients and address urgent medical concerns helps alleviate strain on physicians and ensures timely access to care for patients.

In specialty areas such as surgery, PAs collaborate closely with surgeons to assist in surgical procedures, manage pre-operative and post-operative care, and provide continuity of care throughout the treatment process. Their expertise and proficiency in surgical techniques enhance patient outcomes and contribute to the overall success of surgical interventions.

Moreover, in underserved rural or remote areas where access to healthcare may be limited, PAs play a vital role in bridging gaps in healthcare delivery. By providing essential medical services, conducting outreach programs, and delivering preventive care initiatives, PAs help improve health outcomes and enhance the overall well-being of communities. The role of efficient and dedicated PAs is integral to the functioning of healthcare systems worldwide. Their versatility, clinical expertise, and commitment to patient care make them invaluable assets in delivering high-quality, accessible, and patient-centered healthcare services.

Difference Between Certifying & Rectifying Exams For PAs

Certifying Examination PANCE 

  • The certifying examination, such as the PANCE, is taken by physician assistant (PA) graduates upon completion of their accredited PA program.
  • It assesses the candidate’s knowledge and competency in key medical areas, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, clinical medicine, and patient care.
  • Passing the certifying exam is a requirement for PA licensure and certification, enabling PAs to practice medicine under the supervision of licensed physicians.

Rectifying Examination PANRE 

  • The rectifying examination, like the PANRE, is taken by certified PAs as part of the recertification process.
  • It evaluates the PA’s continued proficiency and competence in medical knowledge and patient care, typically every six to ten years.
  • Successful completion of the rectifying exam is necessary for maintaining PA certification and licensure, ensuring that PAs remain up-to-date with current medical practices and standards.

Preparing for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination (PANRE) can be daunting, but with the right approach, you can increase your chances of success. Here are eight tips to help you pass these crucial exams:

  1. Start Early and Stay Organized

Begin your exam preparation well in advance to allow sufficient time to cover all the material. Create a study schedule that breaks down topics into manageable chunks, ensuring comprehensive coverage while avoiding last-minute cramming.

  1. Utilize Reliable Study Resources

Invest in high-quality study materials, such as review books, online courses, and practice exams, from reputable sources. These resources provide structured content review and realistic exam simulations, helping you familiarize yourself with the exam format and content.

  1. Focus on High-Yield Topics

Prioritize studying topics that are commonly tested on the exams, such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and clinical medicine. Allocate more study time to these high-yield areas while ensuring a balanced review of all relevant content areas.

  1. Practice Answering Questions

Practice answering exam-style questions regularly to develop familiarity with the question format and improve your test-taking skills. Use practice exams and question banks to simulate the testing environment and assess your strengths and weaknesses. Identifying areas for further review and improvement before the actual exam is a crucial step in maximizing preparedness and ensuring success. This process involves analyzing performance on practice exams, reviewing feedback from instructors or peers, and assessing personal strengths and weaknesses in various subject areas. 

  1. Review and Reinforce Weak Areas

Identify areas where you need additional review based on practice exam performance and self-assessment. Devote extra time to these weak areas, utilizing targeted review materials and seeking clarification from instructors or peers as needed. Devote extra time to these weak areas, utilizing targeted review materials, seeking clarification from instructors or peers as needed, and actively engaging in hands-on practice to reinforce understanding and mastery of challenging concepts.

  1. Stay Healthy and Manage Stress

Prioritize self-care during the exam preparation period to maintain optimal physical and mental well-being. Get regular exercise, eat nutritious meals, stay hydrated, and prioritize adequate sleep. Additionally, practice stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or meditation to manage exam-related anxiety. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or meditation to manage exam-related anxiety and maintain a calm and focused mindset during the exam.

  1. Create Mnemonics and Memory Aids

Use mnemonic devices, acronyms, and memory aids to facilitate memorization of complex information and medical terminology. These creative tools can help you recall key concepts and facts more effectively during the exam.

  1. Simulate Exam Conditions

Prior to the exam, simulate exam conditions as closely as possible by timing yourself and completing practice exams under realistic testing conditions. Mimic the environment of the actual exam, including time limits, distractions, and exam rules, to build confidence and reduce test-day anxiety. Try timing yourself, completing practice exams under realistic testing conditions, and practicing strategies to effectively manage time constraints and maintain focus throughout the duration of the exam.


The role of physician assistants in healthcare is indispensable, serving as integral members of medical teams and significantly contributing to patient care. PAs benefit from favorable working conditions and a balanced work-life dynamic, which include opportunities for professional growth and development. Their expertise, versatility, and dedication make them invaluable assets in delivering high-quality, accessible, and patient-centered healthcare services. As vital contributors to the healthcare ecosystem, PAs play a crucial role in improving health outcomes, enhancing patient experiences, and advancing the overall well-being of the communities they serve.

Lucy Mitchell
Lucy Mitchell
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