How to study for the PANCE

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 05-11-2010

I think the title of this post says it all, but let me also say that THIS METHOD OF STUDYING MY NOT WORK FOR YOU!

Basically what I’m trying to say is that you have to find your own studying method for the PANCE, but this is what worked for me.

First I sat aside a good 4 weeks to do nothing but study for the PANCE.

Ok, so to study I really used one book.  That book was “A comprehensive review for the certification and recertification examinations for physician assistants: published in collaboration with AAPA and PAEA.”

I basically went chapter by chapter reading every word.  When I hit a subject that I didn’t know much about or felt that there wasn’t enough info provided, I would use the Lange Current medical diagnosis book.

My warning with the AAPA review book that I used is that it is a REVIEW book.  It does a great job of covering almost all topics, but does not dive into great detail.  If you feel you need more details you will have to look for another book.

In my opinion the AAPA review book is just what you need.  If you have made it to the point of taking the PANCE,  you shouldn’t have to look up every single detail.  Your reviewing should be more of an overview.  A lot of the material you should already know, but just need a refresher and kick to remember all that you have learned.

Now don’t get me wrong.  There were tons of things that I read during my review and didn’t remember learning at all during my 2 years in PA school.  In that case I read the review and then used Lange and the internet to learn the important stuff.

I know what a lot of people say doing tons of questions is the right thing to do…and I think I have to agree with them.  Do as many questions as you can…be it the Kaplan online question banks or a book such as Davis’s Review book.

I actually liked Davis’s.  It starts with a bunch of questions that can have multiple correct answers.  At first it is frustrating when you don’t get all the answers, but as time goes on you figure out that it is actually a help.  It does a great job of explaining why each answer is right or wrong and the questions are labeled with the organ system they accompany so you can get an idea of what subjects you aren’t doing well in.

So that is how I studied in a nut shell. 

I spent about 4-6 hours a day for the 3 or so weeks reading.

I also spent the day before the exam having fun.  I think I went out to the beach and ate some good food before returning home to watch a movie and then hit the bed.

And make sure to get enough sleep!

Another word of advice I can give is to check out the testing location before you go.  Mine was actually kind of hidden, so it was a good thing I checked it out a few days before hand.

And my biggest advice of all is this…


Last Rotation and Finding a Job

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 01-11-2010

So my last rotation as a PA student was in Savannah, Georgia with an Orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery.

There was a lot to learn about the spine and the different techniques needed to test for spinal issues.  I have to say that I tried my best to study everything spinal I could.

I have never seen surgeries so delicate, yet invasive.  And I LOVED IT.

I guess a lot of that had to also do with the fact that the doctor I worked with was also great.

Needless to say, I was offered a job the last day of my rotation.  You can’t believe how excited I was.

I wish I could offer you tons of advice on job hunting and interviews, but this is one subject that i’m going to have to say, ‘I’m no help”.

I can say that someone who graduated from PA school with me went on my interviews before she found the job that she really liked.  Her advice was to just answer all questions truthfully.  If you are asked if you have knowledge about something and you don’t, say you don’t, but that you hope to learn as much as you can if you get the job.

As my story goes, I took a little time off after finishing PA school and getting my job offer.  I think it was 3 or so weeks.

In that short time, I studied like a mad man for the BOARD exam….more to come about that in the next post.

True Blood Pumpkin Carving Stencils

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 19-10-2010

I know this is way off topic from the typical Physician Assistant stuff, but as I am a HUGE Trueblood fan, I thought it was only right to pass this on to other fans as well.

Below you will find stencils that you can use to create a Trueblood halloween pumpkin.

I’m going to try them out ASAP so i’ll let you know how well they work.

And on a side note, i’m typing up post as we speak to update my PA experiences!


You can find the stencils after the break…in other words click the “read the rest” link below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Site Update

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 08-10-2010

Yes!  This site is still active and I am still alive.

Things have been very busy, actually becoming a PA and all :)

I’ll sit down this weekend and tell you about everything…board exam, job, learning curve…the whole deal.

So stay tuned!

Looking for a South University PA student!

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 08-03-2010

I’m looking for a South University PA student.  That would be South University in Savannah, GA.  If you are a student there  currently in clinical rotations or about to be in clinical rotations could you please use the CONTACT US link on the top bar and just send me a comment saying you are a student.  I have a question that only a South Student can answer!

Thanks so much!

Google Wave Invitations

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 31-12-2009

I know this is way off topic from normal post, but seeing as I am on Christmas break, I have been playing with tons of new internet stuff.

I recently started using Google Wave and have really enjoyed it!  Its an awesome way to chat and talk with friends.

The only problem is that it is by invitation only at this moment.

And that is where I come in for you guys.

I really don’t have anyone to give my invitations away to, so i’m offering them up to all the visitors to this site.

So leave a comment or use the contact link at the top of the page and request an invitation.

If you don’t know what Google Invitation is check out the video below!

Epocrates for Iphone or Ipod Touch

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 17-12-2009

I have had a few fellow classmates and e-mails from visitors asking what programs I recommend for the Iphone or Ipod touch for PAs or medical students.

I think the one program I can say I have used the most is Epocrates.  I have only used the Free version, but it has been great for me.

Being able to pull up drugs quickly and find all the information I need about them is great.  There have even been a time or two when a doctor didn’t know something about a drug so he/she asked me to look it up on my Iphone while we were in the room with a patient.

From what I can tell some doctors are embracing the idea of Iphones and the such and think they are a great addition when treating patients.

Anyway, Epocrates is a must have for all PA and medical students on rotations.

I have not used the paid version such as Epocrates Essentials, but I hear that it is well worth the money.

I have a 50% CODE for Epocrates Essentials that you can find at the end of the post.  As far as I know it still works, if not I can try and get another one for you guys.

Look for more post on programs that I use and find helpful during my rotations!

Epocrates Essentials 50% code: ACEP94404STU

Maxwell Quick Medical Reference

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 14-12-2009

I have been getting quite a few e-mails asking me what books I used during my first year of PA school and what things have been helpful during my rotations.

I thought I would start with something that has helped me greatly during my rotations.  And that would be “Maxwell Quick Medical Reference”

At $7.95 on Amazon its not expensive and it has info that will save you during rotations.  Many times I have quickly flipped to the labs section to get a refresher on the normal lab values right before being pimped on the subject.

The pages are color coded so its easy to find the section you are looking for and the book is tiny.  REALLY tiny.  It will fit in any size pocket and you will actually forget you have it, its so small.

It contains guidelines for writing admission, discharge, and other notes commonly encountered on medicine, surgery, and ob-gyn rotations. It also includes commonly used formulas and cheat sheets for H&Ps and the neuro and the minimental status exam.

And I have to say, mine has been through hell and back and is still holding in strong!

So make sure you grab a copy before you start rotations!

You can buy it here:

Laptop a must for PA school

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 14-12-2009

I can’t think I have never blogged about this before, but it is important when thinking about going to PA school or actually starting PA school.

In the old days note taking was done with pencil/pen and paper.

In today’s world its done with a computer. All throughout my first year of PA school I used my laptop more than ever before. Heck, all the lectures were provided to use in either powerpoint form or pdf.

To take notes most people in my class would use OneNote by Microsoft. It basically takes the powerpoint or pdf and puts it into a format that allows for note taking on the slides.

I actually wrote all my notes while in class, while having the lecture up on my computer. I would just note the slide number and then wrote my note.

Heck, even now while on rotations a laptop has come in as a must.

Now I used an old laptop that I had used for quite a while. Other, well most the class, had bought new computers, mostly PCs. There were a few people that had MACs as well.

So I guess you should buy a computer that is going to last for a while. So buy something GOOD.
Make sure to get Microsoft office, but wait on this as in most cases as you can get it cheap through your school.

If you have found other software to be useful while in PA school let us know by commenting!

Proof that Physician Assistant students do have lives

Filed Under (General Talk) by Dave on 13-12-2009

The guys and gals of the 2010 Emory PA class created this cool spoof video.  A must watch.

I  think it just goes to show that even if we as PA students spend all our time studying we do still have time for fun and a sense of humor.