PANCE Practice Test (PA Certification) 2024 NCCPA Exam

PANCE Practice Test (PA Certification) 2024 NCCPA Exam Questions Answers: Try our free Physician Assistant Exam Prep review question answers. The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) administered the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE).

To become certified and maintain their recertification status, physician assistants (PAs) are required to successfully respond to multiple-choice questions that appear on Board exams. Passing these exams requires not only medical knowledge but also test-taking skills.

PANCE Practice Test (PA Certification)

These exams are designed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). The PANCE and PANRE are timed, multiple-choice tests that are presented and answered on a computer screen in local commercial testing centers. Information about exam development and scoring is available at the NCCPA Web site ( Examination candidates are encouraged to review the content blueprint to better understand the types of practices, tasks, and diseases covered by the Board examinations.

PA certification

To attain certification, PAs must pass the PANCE. Administered year-round at more than 200 testing centers across the United States, PANCE is a multiple-choice test that includes 360 questions that assess medical and surgical knowledge. After passing PANCE, PAs are issued an NCCPA certificate, entitling them to use the Physician AssistantCertified (PA-C) designation until the end of the second year after its issuance.

To maintain NCCPA certification and retain the right to use the PA-C designation beyond the date of the initial certificate’s expiration, they must follow a multifaceted process, involving documentation of continuing medical education (CME) hours and now, after 10 years, successful completion of the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Examination (PANRE; recertification by exam was required every 6 years until 2014).

Test Name Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination
Total Questions 120
Question Type multiple-choice questions
Total Time Limit  two hours
Test center Pearson VUE
Retake Exam Wating Time 180 days
Certification Maintenance Cycle 10 years


  • Graduation from an accredited PA educational program
  • Passage of the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)

PANCE Exam Content

The examination is categorized in two dimensions:

  • 1. Knowledge of the diseases and disorders physician assistants encounter; and
  • 2. Knowledge and skills related to tasks physician assistants perform when treating patients.

Certified PAs work with NCCPA to continuously review the content included on PANCE to ensure it is relevant and current, as the practice of medicine changes and treatment guidelines are revised or new ones introduced.

Medical Content Categories with Percent Allocation*

  • Cardiovascular System 13%
  • Dermatologic System 5%
  • Endocrine System 7%
  • Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Throat 7%
  • Gastrointestinal System/Nutrition 9%
  • Genitourinary System (Male and Female) 5%
  • Hematologic System 5%
  • Infectious Diseases 6%
  • Musculoskeletal System 8%
  • Neurologic System 7%
  • Psychiatry/Behavioral Science 6%
  • Pulmonary System 10%
  • Renal System 5%
  • Reproductive System (Male and Female) 7%

Task Categories Percent with Allocation*

  • History Taking and Performing
  • Physical Examination 17%
  • Using Diagnostic and Laboratory Studies 12%
  • Formulating Most Likely Diagnosis 18%
  • Managing Patients Health Maintenance, Patient
  • Education, and Preventive Measures 10%
  • Clinical Intervention 14%
  • Pharmaceutical Therapeutics 14%
  • Applying Basic Scientific Concepts 10%
  • Professional Practice 5%

*Medical content comprises 95% of the exam. All medical content questions are also coded to one of the task areas, with the exception of the professional practice task category. Questions related to professional practice issues comprise 5% of the exam. In addition, up to 20% of the exam may be related to general surgical topics. The specific percentage allocations may vary slightly on exams.

CAQ Exam

The CAQ is a voluntary credential that Certified PAs can earn in seven specialties: Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Nephrology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry.

The CAQ exam consists of 120 questions. PAs are provided with two hours of exam time, 15 minutes of break time, and 15 minutes to take the tutorial. The exam is currently offered twice a year.