Jump to content

Failed PANCE twice now.

Recommended Posts


i searched this forum and haven’t found anything really recent at the moment. 


Background; Military for 7 years. 2 combat tours as infantry / medic. Honorable discharge and went to PA school at 27 years old.

Packrat score; 141

Rosh review; mid 60s with project 590

5 day CME review projected 595

I failed the once by 9 points and 5 points. I’ve done PANCE prep pearls, Lange q and a, 5 day CME course and Rosh Review. I was a B student, no more and no less. I just don’t get why I do so well on all my practice and then fail the PANCE. I’m assuming test anxiety. What have people done to help with this? I took my scheduled breaks. There was no difference in percent right across the board. When I read PPP or Rosh I know the answers. I just feel like when I take the PANCE I’m lost. I did the known known and known unknowns after I failed the first one. I don’t rush through the test, I read each question carefully, and had only 6 min to spare. 

Many advice would be helpfully. I lost my ICU offer, max out my credit cards, and have no money. 




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your pre-exam scores look good. It's most likely a combination of exam jitters and talking yourself out of right answers. Have you taken practice tests through NCCPA? You don't get feedback on the actual answers (at least you didn't when I used them to study years ago), but you can get breakdowns of various things like how well you score in each section as well as if you turned right answers into wrong ones.

Biggest piece of advice I'd have for you is you need to change something based on how you've performed the last two go-rounds.

  • When taking practice tests, you need to understand the how/why and not just what the right answer is.
  • You need to study the differences between disease states or medications rather than the similarities.
  • Familiarize yourself with how questions are written.
  • Look at your past PANCE score breakdown
    • Using https://www.nccpa.net/examscontentbporgans, create a list from most to least common organ system. Cards, GI, Pulm and MSK make up a whopping 48% of the exam. Master these sections
    • Compare your PANCE score breakdown to your new list of organ systems and grind them out
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi. I was in the same boat and everyone around me was surprised because I have always performed very well in school. I just Passed and I will say I have never had so much confidence and energy taking an exam. My biggest help was tutoring. When doing a search because I had already tried so many different programs I found Precipio learning on one of the PANCE forums and the tutors name is Dr. John Athas. He has a lot of experience, he provides a strong foundation so that you don't have to memorize INFORMATION, you just know your stuff and you answer questions the way that you would provide care for a patient. I totally recommend the investment... or atleast contact him and let him talk to you to answer your questions about it because it was the best thing I could have done for my family and myself. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh yeah and also Practice questions Practice Questions Practice Questions. Don't get so focused on what you don't know and focus on doing practice questions and setting up mini practice tests so that you can become comfortable with the test. This helped me alot with anxiety levels, insight on how and why I was answering the questions and confidence in my abilities (so that I would not change answers)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry you’re experiencing this!
It is likely anxiety, due to your performance being so different when not in a testing situation. I experienced this at the beginning of PA school. It is something that takes A LOT of planning and self insight to figure out. The higher the stakes get, or the more you “fail,” anxiety will get the best of you. You will endlessly question what you know, go blank, etc. I figured out what helped me and my results definitely showed. Passed the PANCE, using the same strategies. Some may seem silly, but, figure out what works for you.

1. Get enough sleep.
2. Figure out what time of day, you feel most confident, and schedule exam around then. (For example, my anxiety is worse in the early mornings, and makes it harder to focus at that time, so I scheduled a noon exam)
3. Figure out what foods and how much to eat the day of the exam. What makes you feel good? Watch out for caffeine. I’m a daily coffee drinker and realized having 1/2 the amount of caffeine or none at all (on test day) improved my test anxiety a whole lot. My brain fog decreased a shocking amount. Anxiety itself is enough to get me going come exam time.
4. Self talk!! Make yourself believe it is not the end of the world if the test doesn’t work out (it really isn’t). I understand this is hard, especially in your situation, but talk to yourself as if you were speaking to your best friend.
5. Meditate every night. Guided meditation is best for beginners. Tons of free ones on YouTube. I can’t tell you why it helps but I definitely recommend it.
6. Over prepare. I took a longer time to study for my PANCE than majority of my classmates, and it gave me a chance to go through all of the blueprint material twice, and some difficult topics even 3 times aside from Rosh. I definitely felt less anxiety knowing that I would at least recognize most of what I was going to see on the exam. This takes a great amount of pressure off.
7. Drive to your exam location prior to your exam date.
8. If there is one specific thing that worries you (aside from not passing the exam) have a plan and resources to deal with it so it becomes less of a stressor. Ex. Migraine: have meds available.

Best of luck to you!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is NOT universal advice and is what worked for me....and it probably isn't what the general public would suggest but I'll throw it out there as another option:

I took the test QUICKLY.  Did Rosh/PPP/kaplan/yada yada yada and took the exam 2 weeks after graduation.  Typically Rosh over estimates your score (just FYI).  My program said a packrat of 140 is the bare minimum to have a high likelihood of passing PANCE (just based on their experience).  So from that, while your scores were good, they weren't slam dunk good.

I took all my breaks (basically just a quick bathroom break, I didn't sit and ponder for 10-15 mins each break) and was done start to finish in like 3.5 hrs.  For me this meant going with my gut.  There were very few questions I needed to think through.  I either knew it or didn't and I didn't let myself second guess myself.  Usually the first answer you pick is the right one..with the rare exception you ACTUALLY remember factual information to help make an informed answer change.

Also remember that there are some 'test' questions in there - that aren't scored and NCCPA is just testing them out.  This helped me not ponder on questions.  The minute I start to think 'oh man, I don't know this' my confidence is shot and it's all downhill.  Anything that seemed way out of left field I just chalked it up to a 'test' question, answered the best I could, and moved on.

FWIW I didn't ace the test.  I'm not a savant who just knows everything.  But I did pass with a very comfortable margin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Part of your issue may have to do with the difficulty regarding the length of the test: it is a marathon and takes some mental endurance which takes sustained effort to build up. Since it is a 5 hour test, and the questions are quite difficult, there is nothing quite like it in PA school. It might be helpful to make yourself do longer blocks of questions in such a way very similar to the PANCE.

I used some old packrats plus an NCCPA practice test and created my own 300 question test. I went through it over 5 hours, and gave myself 45 minutes of breaks. I didn't grade the test or look at answers until the end. I did this 5 days before taking the PANCE.

You're SOOO close, and I think the next time you take it you will pass.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, r3pnit12 said:

Would suggest you search a guy by the name John Bielinski . He teaches a diffeent way than most people. he is associated with a group called CME 4 life. I went to his course and this was one of the best things I could have ever done.  

just wish they didn't change $799 for their conferences 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More