PANCE | PANRE

Scoring the PANCE: At a Glance

PA student trying to understand scoring the PANCE and hoping he passed

In our previous blog article, we explored the merits of studying not just to pass the PANCE but to master the concepts tested. In this article, we will examine the PANCE passing score process as outlined in the National Commission On Certification Of Physician Assistant (NCCPA)’s PANCE Performance Guide.

The NCCPA reports performance on the PANCE on a scale-score metric. PANCE scores range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum score of 800, and the passing score is 350+. But what’s in a score? How exactly would scoring 350 out of 800 ensure that a PA graduate is now ready to practice? It has to do with the method the NCCPA applies to set the score.

The NCCPA selects a diverse panel of PA content experts to determine the passing score. Charged with identifying core competencies an entry-level PA should be able to demonstrate to be trusted as a capable clinician, the panel reviews and rates each PANCE question in a meticulous process. The panel then recommends the PANCE passing score, which the NCCPA Board of Directors reviews and approves.

The NCCPA designs each test form from the same PANCE content blueprint. The blueprint is the official guide for topics and concepts tested on the certification exam. They also format the test forms according to the same criteria. This is done to standardize the PANCE test experience for each test taker.

Sure, the debate may forever rage on about the pros and cons of standardized testing. Yet it is fair to say that the PANCE score is a sufficient indication of a PA candidate’s readiness to practice with satisfactory competency. This is mainly because the NCCPA uses a thorough process to determine the PANCE passing score.

Check out the PANCE Performance Guide for the full process on how the NCCPA determines the PANCE passing score.


If you are a PA student prepping for an upcoming PANCE exam and want to optimize your chances of success, click here for your FREE trial of our PANCE QBank. We’ll have you ready to ace the PANCE on exam day.