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.