Should I Sign Up For The PANRE Pilot?

July 26, 2018
Are you wondering what all of the hype surrounding the alternative to the PANRE (PANRE pilot) is or if you are eligible? And will it change your PANRE review strategy?

The PANRE pilot was designed to offer a test that adapts to modern-day living. Gone are the days of setting a test date, sitting in a testing room or having timed test sections. This test can be taken anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

All physician assistants due to recertify in 2018 or 2019 are eligible to register through June of 2019. Registration is through the NCCPA website, if you are eligible there is a link within your account. For example, if your certification expires in December of 2018, all CME and fee requirements must be completed prior to that time. At that time, the certification expiration will be extended to December of 2019. Then as CME, fee requirements as well as the first 100 pilot questions have been completed by December of 2019, the certification expiration will be extended to December of 2020.

The pilot is different from the traditional PANRE in many ways:

  • There is no need for a testing date or testing location, eliminating a stressful commute and minimizing test anxiety
  • The test is also available through any digital device so questions can be answered at home, the library, or even on the go
  • It is not a timed test, so the questions can be taken in one sitting or over a period of time

Each quarter, beginning in January 2019, the test-taker will receive 25 questions, and this will continue each quarter for 2 consecutive years, for a total of 200 questions. The questions can be answered in one sitting, one at a time, or 8–9 per month within the quarter. Physician assistants are encouraged to answer the questions without consulting references in order to identify gaps in general knowledge.

After answering each question, there will be immediate feedback. This feedback will include whether your answer is correct or incorrect as well as an explanation of why it is the best choice. There will be references included to support the answer choices. Following the question response, there will be an additional 4 feedback questions to guide analysis of the pilot.

The pilot will cover core medical knowledge. This includes medical knowledge all physician assistants should maintain regardless of their respective specialty. The content of the exam follows the same blueprint as the PANRE. The NCCPA website has detailed content breakdowns, including percentages of content (for example, 13% cardiovascular and 11% gastrointestinal/nutrition). It is then further broken down into three levels with increased medical knowledge needed for each higher level, including diagnostic interpretation, first-line medical therapies, and comorbidities, contraindications, and complications.

As the test progresses over each quarter, the test-taker will know how many questions have been answered correctly. The NCCPA goal is to have the passing criteria by the middle of 2020 established. The recommended passing criteria will be determined by a panel of clinically practicing physician assistants in the same way it is achieved for PANCE/PANRE.

There are several advantages to this test pilot. Topping the list are convenience and minimizing test anxiety. In addition, medical knowledge will increase with the format of explanations after each answer, similar to Rosh Review questions and explanations. In addition, if you want to have input in the recertifying process of physician assistants in the future, this offers a unique opportunity to help influence the direction for your future exam. The risk of this design is minimal. If the physician assistant does not pass the pilot, there will be an automatic extension of the certification through 2020 as long as CME, fee, and pilot requirements are up to date.

The NCCPA created a podcast to answer more of your questions. Give it a listen.

And if you are looking for content in a similar format, check out the PANRE review from Rosh Review, which also includes 100 credits of category 1 CME.

By Dawn Miller, PA-C

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