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Date of Graduation


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Latha Reddy, PA-C

Second Advisor

Jonathon W. Gietzen MS PA-C


Context: Physician Assistants must prepare for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination in order to pass the examination successfully and become certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the most common study methods used while preparing for the physician assistant national certifying examination.

Design: The study included ,a survey of recent Pacific University physician assistant alumni. Participants were notified via email and telephone and were asked to complete the questionnaire on, a web-based survey tool.

Setting: This study was conducted at Pacific University's Physician Assistant Program in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Participants: The research population was comprised of alumni from Pacific University's physician assistant graduating classes of 1999 through 2004 (N = 121). Main

Outcome Measures: This population based descriptive study will provide Pacific University physician assistant students with statistical information concerning the most common study methods used while preparing for the physician assistant national certifying examination. The study will be described using nominal data and each survey response will be reported using frequency distributions. Data was collected regarding participant demographics, pass rates, preparation time, study materials used, the influence of the Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool, the influence of the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination preparation courses, and the overall attitude of preparedness by the participant before and after the exam.

Results: A total of 72 out of 121 alumni responded to the survey. Four participants declined to take the survey. A total of 68 survey responses were. analyzed (n = 68).

Conclusion: The data shows that the majority of alumni spent 3-4 hours per day, 5-7 days per week, and 1-3 months studying for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination. Three of the alumni participants in the study did not pass the examination on their first attempt and one participant did not pass on their second attempt. Less than half of the respondents took a preparation course to help them prepare for the examination. Those who did not take a preparation course had a better PANCE passing percentage: The most common materials used by the alumni are books and the top three references that were used are those recommended by the National Commission Certifying Physician Assistants. The Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool was proven to be somewhat useful by alumni and Pacific University has been proven to provide a prepared student for the certification examination.


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