Advanced Didactic Semester

At Barry University, after we finished clinical year we entered what was called advanced didactic semester prior to graduating in December.  We only had class 2 days a week, but it was honestly just as busy as the rest of the time in PA school.

Our course schedule:

Clinical Therapeutics

Primary Care Review (Boards Review)

Transition to PA

Library Research

Thanatology

Biomedical Ethics

The main goal of this semester was to finish out required coursework for the program, write our research paper and prepare for the PANCE exam.  Some classmates had an additional elective rotation set up during this time as well.  What actually happened during that semester was so much more.  On top of finishing out PA school and preparing for the boards, we planned our graduation, searched for jobs, a handful of our classmates got married (KATE being one of them) etc.  You may think, well you only had class two days a week, I’m sure there was plenty of time to do all of that.  However, studying for exams for these courses, writing a research paper, and preparing for the boards exam became a full-time job. In addition, we were required to take mock PANCE exams regularly on Exam Master and PA Easy that took a lot of time to complete.  Although neither of us can quite remember how we had our individual schedules laid out, we still woke up early each day and had a set study schedule.  The flexibility of having class only two days a week did allow us to have weekends free if we wanted and we got to see our friends and family more often which was great. Life did start to normalize again, however with the PANCE exam looming in the near future, school continued to be our main focus.

Although some programs end directly after clinical year we are thankful for this post clinical opportunity to prep and get life back together prior to graduating.  We felt like it gave us the opportunity and time to find the jobs we truly wanted and to truly prep for boards without being rushed or more stressed than we already would have been.

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is: What did you use to prep for the PANCE Exam?

  1. Davis’s PA Exam Review: Focused Review for the PANCE and PANRE: 2nd Edition 2013. Morton A. Diamond, MD. F.A. Davis. ISBN-10: 0803629516. Includes CD to 1000 practice questions.
  2. A Comprehensive Review for the Certification and Recertification Examination for Physician Assistants. O’Connell. Fifth Edition 2014. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN-13: 978-1451191097 Davis’s PA Exam Review: Focused Review for the PANCE and PANRE: 2nd Edition 2013. Morton A. Diamond, MD. F.A. Davis. ISBN-10: 0803629516. Includes CD to 1000 practice questions.
  3. Pance Prep Pearls: 2nd edition. Dwayne A. Williams  (Katie used this book for the last week of her studying plan and recognized a lot of pathology questions on the actual PANCE straight from this book.  I wish I would have used this book more while I was preparing.
  4. ExamMaster On Line
  5. PA Easy On Line which is currently free to all students.
  6. Mock exams provided by NCCPA
  7. PACKRAT’s
  8. Katie used the AAPA PANCE/PANRE review by HIPPO Education and would HIGHLY recommend.  I needed a lot of structure with my board studying versus just reading from a book.  These were short video lectures that went through the entire blueprint that you could watch on your laptop and print out documents that went along with the lecture to take notes.  It was short and sweet and I feel they did an amazing job with it.   I plan to use it again for my PANRE review.

Our advice is similar to the advice we gave for studying during didactic year.  Come up with a study schedule early and stick to it.  Allow some flexibility because well… life happens, but stick to it as much as possible.  Remember not to get too stressed out if your study schedule doesn’t match up with your classmates because after all, everyone learns differently and this is the biggest, most important exam you will ever take.  Take a lot of practice tests if you can get your hands on them.  The more questions you are exposed to, the more you will learn HOW to take the test while learning content you may be weak on.  Remember your blueprint, be sure to know the top percentage topics the best and trickle what time you have left to focus on the smaller percentage topics.

We’d love to know what is your favorite PANCE review book or resource is!  Send us an email or shoutout on our instagram page @theboneafiedpac

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