Top 16 Questions About Qbanks for PA Students, the PANCE, & Rotation Exams

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September 10, 2020
Researching the best PA exam review methods and details can be overwhelming. Rather than doing the time-intensive searching yourself, you’ll find the answers to common questions here. This post will help clarify what types of study options exist, which one(s) are right for you, and what you need to know to prepare for your didactic year, rotation exams, and PANCE. Is there a question you’d like to see here? Let us know and we’ll get the answer for you.

Should I use a PA Qbank?

There are many ways to study, such as live courses, self-directed study, and Qbanks. You need to choose the option that’s best for you. We’re a Qbank company, so we (not surprisingly) think Qbanks are an excellent way to prepare for your test. The article How to Select the Best PANCE Review will help you answer these questions (regardless of whether you’re studying for didactic year, your rotation exams, or the PANCE):

  1. Do I need to use a Qbank?
  2. What criteria should I use to make a decision?

If you’d like to see what using a Qbank is like, watch this episode of The Reveal (it’s less than 4 min long) to get a look at the Rosh Review interface.

Which PA Qbanks should I compare?

If you don’t have the time to read through the “How to Select a Qbank” article but know you’re interested in a Qbank, these are the companies we suggest trying. Compare them by signing up for a free trial and see which one is right for you:

  • BoardVitals
  • Exam Master
  • Hippo Education
  • Kaplan
  • NEJM Knowledge+
  • PAEasy
  • Rosh Review
  • UWorld

If you can’t decide which Qbank to use after trying out a few, pay attention to the details. Do you receive a response when you contact customer support? Do the company’s values align with your own? Will your subscription be extended if you don’t pass your exam?

Can I use a Qbank in didactic year?

Absolutely. A Didactic Qbank can help PA students tame the whirlwind of first year, build a strong foundation for clinical year, and ace the subject exams. Doing 10–25 Qbank questions at home after attending a lecture and reviewing your notes will help you reinforce what you learned earlier that day. Plus it teaches you study habits for your rotation exams and the PANCE!

How do I study for the PANCE with a Qbank?

The detailed article How to Boost Your PANCE Score includes our favorite study tips. Spoiler alert: you should target your “unknown unknowns.” Here’s how you do that:

  • Answer a question from a Qbank
  • If you answer incorrectly, read the explanation
  • Take notes about why the correct answer is correct, and make sure to take notes on anything in the explanation that you didn’t already know

If you do this for every question you answer incorrectly, and if you regularly review your notes and add information to topics as you do more questions, you’ll eventually determine your unknown unknowns. In return, you’ll uncover most of your blind spots that questions on the exam can ask about. 

The “How to Boost Your Score” article also includes day-of exam tips like which grammatical mistakes to keep an eye out for to help you narrow down answer choices. Our goal is to help you succeed, so read as many of these tips as you can before exam day.

If you’re looking for even more tips and strategies, try these out:

How do I study for the rotation exams?

Find a strategy that works for you. Use the tips above to figure out your unknown unknowns, and read the Rock Your Rotation Exams blog series to learn about the podcasts, resources, and note-taking strategies four PA-Cs swear by. And remember to pay attention to the topic lists and blueprints for each rotation exam because the content changes for each one.

How many questions are on the rotation exams?

Each rotation exam has 120 questions.

How do I register for the PANCE?

You must graduate from an accredited program to qualify for the PANCE. According to the NCCPA website, you can apply for the exam anytime within 180 days before your program completion date. The soonest you can take the exam is 7 days after your program completion date. For more information, read Everything You Need to Know for the PANCE Exam.

How hard is the PANCE?

That’s a subjective question—everyone’s experience is different! In January 2019, the NCCPA updated the Content Blueprint, which resulted in lower pass rates for first-time test takers. This doesn’t mean the test is harder (just different), so keep studying, and remember that you’ve been preparing since day 1 of PA school.

How many questions are on the PANCE?

There are 300 multiple-choice questions, which you will take in 5 blocks of 60 questions each. You have 60 minutes to complete each block.

What is a passing score for the PANCE?

350. The minimum score is 200, and the maximum score is 800.

How is the PANCE scored?

A panel of PA experts reviews the test questions to determine whether someone with the minimum qualifications could answer each question. The panel’s ratings affect how each question is scored. Read more on the NCCPA site.

How long does PA certification last?

For five 2-year cycles, or 10 years total. Read more about maintaining certification.

What happens if I fail the PANCE?

Life happens. Between practicing medicine, studying for the boards, having a personal life, and dealing with a global pandemic, there is always the possibility that you might not pass the exam. We believe in you, which is why your subscription comes with a pass guarantee: your subscription is extended for free until you pass your exam. Even if you didn’t use Rosh Review before taking your exam and you didn’t pass, you get a complimentary subscription until you succeed. We’re here to stand with you throughout your career—not just sell you a product and move on.

How many times can I take the PANCE?

Once in a 90-day period, 3 times per calendar year, and up to 6 times within 6 years after you’ve graduated from an accredited program. Once you’ve taken the PANCE 6 times or have reached 6 years since you’ve graduated and you haven’t passed the PANCE, you are not eligible to retake it unless you complete an accredited program again. 

How do I get a discount on Rosh Review?

If you’re part of a group purchase or program purchase, you can receive a discount based on the number of people in your group or program. Active military personnel and attendees of certain conferences can also get a discount. Otherwise, individual discounts are not available. We believe in what we offer, and we strive to continually elevate our Qbanks rather than racing to the bottom with constant discounts. You can read about Rosh Review’s Discounts, Promo Codes, and Coupons for more details. 

Are Qbanks worth the money?

Depends on who you ask! Some people do better with live courses, some swear they wouldn’t have passed their exam without a Qbank and that the cost was reasonable and well worth it. Your best bet is to try a free trial and determine what’s right for you. And if you choose Rosh Review, we’ll be with you every step of your career.


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