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The Ultimate PANCE Passing Score Guide 


The Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) is a pivotal exam for aspiring physician assistants (PAs). Excelling on the PANCE is vital for obtaining your PA-C credential and embarking on a fulfilling career in healthcare. 

So, you’ve come to the right place for help! Dive into important PANCE information and learn valuable tips on how to prepare and pass with this guide.

How is the PANCE scored? What is the passing score for the PANCE?

PANCE scoring is on a scale ranging from 200 to 800. The PANCE passing score (aka the passing standard) is 350 and you can either exceed it or meet it. This standard is determined via standard setting, a process where a panel of PA experts review questions and rate if someone who is barely qualified to practice can answer them correctly. Then, their ratings are compiled to determine a passing score which is then reviewed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) Board of Directors for approval.

How many questions are on the PANCE?

The PANCE consists of 300 multiple-choice questions divided into five blocks of 60 questions each. Points are not deducted for incorrect or skipped questions. Your score is based on how many questions you answer correctly, so you should try to answer as many questions as you can.

How long is the PANCE exam?

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Test pacing is everything, so read this PANCE breakdown for tracking time! First, you’ll have 15 minutes to complete the PANCE tutorial. Then, you’ll have a total of 5 hours split into five blocks of 60 minutes, and there are 45 minutes allotted for breaks between blocks. You are responsible for managing your break time, and you can’t go back to review or change your answers after you exit a block of questions or if time expires for that block. Proper time management and test-taking strategies are essential to ensure you have ample time for each section without feeling rushed.

What is a good PANCE score?

A good PANCE score meets the minimum passing requirement but also reflects your knowledge, competence, and readiness to practice as a PA. While a score above 350 is considered passing, any score above 400 is regarded as an excellent score.

What is the pass rate for the PANCE?

The pass rate for the PANCE has been historically high for first-time test-takers. The most recent pass rate in 2022 for first-timers was 92% and 89% for total exams administered. You can take a look at the past five years PANCE results here.

What happens if you fail the PANCE?

Try again! Failing the PANCE can be discouraging, but you are able to retake the exam. You can only take the PANCE once every 90 days or a max of three times a year. However, the NCCPA only allows up to six attempts in the six years from your graduation date. You lose your eligibility to take the PANCE if you fail all six times or if it’s been six years since you finished PA school. 

How can Picmonic help me succeed on the PANCE?

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Picmonic is a valuable study tool that can contribute to your success on the PANCE. Here are some ways Picmonic’s PA plan can help you pass:

  1. Memorable studying: Picmonic is research proven to increase memory retention. Using picture mnemonics, videos, stories, and built-in quizzing, Picmonic will help you form associations that serve as memory aids for intricate medical information. These memory hooks make it easier to remember and recall knowledge for the exam, and visual learning serves as a powerful tool to aid in long-term retention for your future as a PA.
  2. Need-to-know PANCE facts: Picmonic covers a wide range of topics relevant to the PANCE, ensuring you have a solid foundation in the subjects you’ll be tested on. 
  3. Unlimited quizzing: Practice your test-taking skills, test your knowledge, or master a topic with multiple choice questions covering PANCE topics. Picmonic’s spaced-repetition algorithm will also assign you a daily quiz to prevent the forgetting curve. 
  4. Helpful resources: Access PANCE study guides, webinars, infographics, and helpful articles to help you prepare appropriately. A helpful article to start with is how to study for the PANCE.
  5. Personalization: With Picmonic, you’ll have a personalized dashboard with customized study recommendations to help you pass the PANCE.
  6. PANCE Guarantee: Picmonic’s pass guarantee is there to help you pass the PANCE® exam on your first try and launch your PA career as quickly as possible.

Ready to pass the standard? Sign up for Picmonic now.

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