You have to know the rules and you have to know the resources. If you are signed up for the PANRE, whether it is the high-risk exam or the alternative PANRE, you have to know the rules have changed. You now know that if it’s the alternative PANRE, you get 25 questions per quarter for two years straight. That’s 200 questions over a two-year period. You have five minutes to answer the question once you open it and it’s an open resource test. This means it’s a much better learning tool and doesn’t put people in a position that could cost them their jobs. This is a huge benefit to the NCCPA and our profession.
Any testing that makes us stronger clinicians, that better allows us to serve patients is a good thing. I feel that’s exactly what’s happening with the new curriculum. Also understand that the content that we have to study is much more focused in the clinical realm. You now need to study diseases based on how we would do it clinically. If it’s a Level 1 disease process, we would diagnose it or make a presumptive diagnosis and immediately get consultation. If it’s a Level 2 disease process, we’ll make the presumptive diagnosis and understand diagnostic tests and first-line treatment. If it’s a Level 3 disease, we need to know all of it. Therefore, your exam prep strategies require understanding each disease state and what level of content it is.
There are a number of old review books that will still be relevant, but I must warn you: do not jump down the rabbit hole. Do not study deeper than you need to study because you will waste a lot of time. In economics this is called the law of diminishing returns. If you are studying Red content, you need to study pathophysiology, signs and symptoms. That is it. You don’t need to study diagnostic tests, you don’t need to study the virtues of a CAT scan versus an ultrasound. You just need to make a presumptive diagnosis and refer on to help.
If it’s Yellow, you need to know more details and think about pathophysiology, presentation, diagnosis and treatment. With Yellow disease processes, you have to think of four questions:
- What’s a pathophysiology?
- How do they present?
- How do I diagnose it?
- How do I treat it?
If it’s a Green (Level 3) disease process, you need to know not only those four questions; you need to know comorbid states and how to do patient education.
PANRE Exam Prep Strategies
Therefore, the exam prep strategies for PANRE really have changed dramatically. Make sure you find resources that give you efficient study modalities. Be it a live conference with an immersive learning environment, a review book or test questions in this new paradigm. I feel all test banks that do not use new criteria will be useless, antiquated and an utter waste of time.
As someone who’s taught thousands of people board review courses, I’m against test questions as a primary study strategy anyways. I have seen too many people fail their boards because they spend lots of time answering questions but not enough time learning content.