6 Weeks To Pass the PANCE
*****UPDATE: Using this study style, I am so happy to say that I DID pass the PANCE on my first attempt!******
First, a disclaimer. When writing this article, I had never taken the PANCE. My study guide comes with no pass-guarantee or even any evidence that it works! With that being said, I spent some time developing a six week guide to structure my studying and keep me on track to cover ALL the material before test day. I like to have a day-by-day plan for standardized test preparation of any kind. I learned this daily systematic approach while preparing for the GRE using Magoosh.com.
The resources I’ll be using are the PA-school bible also known as PANCE Prep Pearls, A Comprehensive Review For the Certification and Recertification Examinations for Physician Assistants (which I rented from Amazon for $12), PANCE and PANRE Question Book: A Comprehensive Question and Answer Study Review Book for the Physician Assistant National Certification and Recertification Exam, PAEasy (which I have access to through school), and a BIG empty notebook. I also took a 3 day conference set up by my school through Certified Medical Educators, which did a really good job of hitting the high points to remember. If you have the opportunity to go to one of those conferences, definitely do.
My calendar of topics to cover (with corresponding PPP page numbers) and practice exams to take is as follows:
Let’s now go through a typical study session on any given day. Let’s say today is optho day. What I like to do is open all of my resources to that section and choose one book to keep highlights or notes in. I’ll be writing additional info from other textbooks on a particular topic in PANCE Prep Pearls (my A1 from day 1). After comparing the info across the different books, I jot down any missing info in my PPP. It looks something like this.
After that, I summarize the highpoints very briefly IN MY OWN WORDS, OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD in the notebook. Any buzzwords or mnemonics relating to the topic or things to know that are simply rote memorization go in your notebook as well. Here’s what my little brain dump after studying acute angle closure glaucoma looked like (forgive my chicken-scratch).
Any time you get the chance to write out key points relating to a topic, just do so. For example, whenever you answer a question about Chron’s Disease (inevitable), jot down “string sign, cobblestone appearance, granulomas, etc.” EVERY time! Hand writing notes has been my go-to strategy since my freshman year of undergrad and when something just won’t stick, I write it until it does. For example, Hep C serology interpretation – I had to write it over and over again until I could commit it to memory. In my opinion, rote memorization questions are low-hanging fruit. Don’t miss them because you were too lazy to hand write something a few (hundred) times.
If you’re not yet ready to take on the PANCE but still need some strong study strategies, check out my articles on how I studied during PA school here ! If you use this study plan and like it, drop a comment and let me know! Follow me on Instagram @coutureinclinic