Hi there, my name is Vanessa and I just graduated with my bachelor's in February. I am looking to pursue into a PA program but not quite sure where to start. I am currently studying for the GRE and have about 250 internship hours done at an ENT clinic with an audiologist. I'm not sure in what I am doing and need any guidance or suggestion in what to do.
I'm currently in my undergrad program taking my prerequisites for PA school. I plan on graduating in the Spring of 2023 and applying for PA school that same year.
As I begin my PA school research, I keep having self-doubts on my ability to learn the content in PA school, which questions my ability to "make it" as a PA.
While I am doing well in my undergrad/prerequisite courses, I fear I am not genuinely learning the information - just merely memorizing and doing well on exams. My question is: Will I/How badly will I struggle in PA school if I don't remember/didn't efficiently learn the coursework from prerequisites like Biology/A&P/Chemistry?
I do not fear applying for PA school/getting accepted (aware that it may not happen the first time I apply), but my current GPA is 3.8 and I've been working full-time as a medical assistant for 3 years (plenty of PCE, HCE & shadowing). However, I fear getting into PA school and having the feeling of "what did I get myself into". I've had PAs that I work for all tell me that I can do it, but I keep having this lingering self-doubt that my ADHD brain and I will not be able to grasps concepts like others will due to my lack of deep understanding during prerequisites (and just having recently been diagnosed with ADHD & still learning what medication works best for me).
Is this feeling normal?
Thank you to whoever can give me some honest insight!
So my particular PA school uses the PACKRAT to determine if students are ready to take the PANCE or not at the end of clinical year (this is new and never counted like this before). This year's most recent PACKRAT version national average is apparently a 167, 20 points higher than the last 3 averages on PAEA's website and 40 points higher than last years national average of 128 (according to my PA school). They have informed us that if we do not get within the 2 point standard deviation, they will not allow us to take the PANCE until we reach an adequate grade on the PACKRAT. Can they legally do this?
According to PAEA, the PACRAT can be done open book so these scores are skewed and shouldn't count for my class.
There is nothing in our program handbook about the PACKRAT being a requirement for graduation.
By Aunt Val
Hi, everyone! There have been several questions about taking the PANCE lately, so I want to add my experience in the hopes that it will help those who are preparing for it. I just took it a couple weeks ago, so the experience is still fresh on my mind.
I took a couple of months after I finished school to study before I sat for the exam. I think that for me, it was good timing, though two months may be too long for others. I used two main resources: PANCE Prep Pearls and Rosh Review. I like both of those and found them to compliment one another well. I also used Anki for making flashcards, and I listened to podcasts from physicianassistantexamreview.com over all the body systems that I scored low in. Highly recommend! Additionally, I took the two NCCPA practice exams to gauge my progress. They're $50 each, so not cheap, but it was worth it to me to make sure I was on the right track.
Before I started studying, I made a calendar that mapped out what I needed to study each week in order to fit everything in. A couple of friends and I got together over Zoom in the mornings to study, and then in the afternoons we studied individually. The accountability of having others who knew my study schedule and expected me to be on our calls was really helpful. Study time was six days a week (I took Sundays off).
On the two days right before the exam, I didn't study at all but gave my brain a break to rest up for the PANCE "marathon". It was tempting to want to cram in a few last-minute things, but I decided not to, following the advice of Brian Wallace, the host of physicianassistantexamreview.com. He only recommends one day off beforehand, but I went ahead and took two just because one of those days was really busy with other things.
On the morning of the exam, I got to the testing center and did their check-in process (wearing a mask, of course). The exam has 5 sections with 60 questions each, and you get a break between sections. Toward the middle to end of the second section, my mind started wandering off and I had to stop and refocus. Same thing happened with the last section. I finished each part with a few minutes left on the clock. Some questions were super basic, and some were a lot more challenging. There were a few that I had to completely guess on.
After the exam, you have to wait up to two weeks to get your score back. My score report actually came in 3 days; I don't know if that's normal. And I passed! Not with as high a score as I had hoped, but passing is all that really matters.
So that's my story. I hope it's helpful.