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SOS advice on failed PANCE attempts

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Hi guys,


I am a new PA graduate student. I have taken the PANCE exam twice already, both times scoring within 10 points of passing. The second time i went through CME 5-day course in which i scored slightly above average. Today, i found out that i failed my second attempt. What's next? I feel that clinically i am a strong, but it just does not reflect on standardized tests. Are there any states where a PA degree is sufficient to find work, and one can practice without having to pass the PANCE exam?



PA Dreamer

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The PANCE is the ticket you need to obtain licensure in any state jurisdiction. I will defer to federal folks on this forum, but I think that there are some federal jurisdictions in which you can work without NCCPA certification. Hang in there and keep studying. You need to obtain your NCCPA. You might also consider taking a course in generic test taking. Many people are very smart, but just don't do well on standardized tests.

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Not anymore.

You MUST pass PANCE on your next attempt. Two failures will already limit your licensure in many states and you cannot afford to fail a 3rd time.

Talk to your program. Get some help. I recommend LOTS of sample test questions--at least 2000 of them. Simulated exams are critical for you. Another review session with passive learning will not benefit you at all.

Consider the Kaplan PANCE prep qbank.

Remember passing PANCE is MINIMUM competency. I don't care if you're within 10 points of passing--it's not enough. Shoot for as high a score as possible and your anxiety will be much less.

Good luck.

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OK, here is my honest advice, and please don't take offense to any of this. I'm just being honest and trying to give you the information you need, not what you want to hear.


You're a new grad and have failed a test twice so far that the vast majority of people pass the first time. That means you have some work to do, even though you were very close on your attempts. Now is not a time to say things like "I'm very good clinically". Now is the time to say "I need to review because I don't know what I need to know to be a successful, competent PA". That's not saying you won't be proficient and impact thousands of lives (as you probably will), but you need to get to work. I would honestly forget doing those live courses. They spoon feed you the material in a funnel and it's rapid fire. It's like trying to take a drink from a fire hose; just not very efficient. If you don't already own them, but Comprehensive Review and also the Auth review book. Everything you need to pass are in these two books.


Now you need to focus study. Start from scratch and review EVERYTHING that has to do with the major groups. Remember, nearly half of the questions you'll see are from Pulm, Cardio, and GI so study the hell out of them. Don't assume you know something and then skip over it. Go in depth and review. I don't know how you study but switch it up. Make chart, index cards, powerpoints, whatever you need to. Switch it up. If you study solo, find a study buddy. If you usually study in groups, go solo. Whatever you're doing didn't work so take a new approach. I'd study hard for a couple weeks before switching to practice questions. The NCCPA has an online test, take advantage. Go through your old PACKRATs. There are plenty of materials out there.


When going through test banks, not only identify the correct question, but identify WHY the other's are incorrect or what would have to change for those wrong answers to be right. Rewrite the question so that the incorrect choices are now correct. Compare and contrast. Don't spend a lot of time on the parts that only count for a small percentage of the test. Sure, review environmental disasters, but don't spend more than an hour. Spend time reading about murmurs, and COPD, and the things that will make up the bulk of the testing material.


Put in the work, swallow your pride, and go into your next PANCE confident you did EVERYTHING possible to show that test who's boss.

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