Here’s the question that I was able to ask Sheila Mauldin from the NCCPA. Sheila is the Grand Poobah of the NCCPA when it comes to preparing for the boards. She’s the vice president of research and exam programs, and she is incredibly connected and a wonderful advocate for our profession. I was lucky to have the privilege of meeting and talking to her at the AAPA conference.
My question to her was, “What happens if someone fails the alternative pilot PANRE that starts in 2019?”
First and foremost, as you guys all know, there are over 12,000 people signed up for the alternative PANRE starting in 2019. The alternative to the PANRE gives you 25 questions per quarter for two years straight and the content’s going to be more clinically focused, with a narrower breadth of information. All of this is a really good thing. The questions will come in three different levels: level one, level two and level three.
Now, the content levels are really aligned with what we do clinically. Level one, or what we call red light topics here at CME4LIFE, are those topics that you have to get a consulting physician or an appropriate consultation ASAP, like a thoracic dissection or cauda equina syndrome. For level two problems, or yellow light problems, we need to know initial management and definitive diagnostic testing. Then we get the appropriate consultation. A level three topic, or a green light topic, is a topic that we need to know everything about, like atrial fibrillation or diabetes mellitus.
The question that I asked Sheila was, “What happens if someone fails their alternative pilot exam? What happens then?” First, Sheila stated that they don’t know the exact criteria for failure as of yet, as this is a pilot program. It’s going to be constantly evaluated as people start receiving the questions and responding to them. But for the integrity of any testing process, there has to be a passing grade and a failing grade. To think that everybody is going to pass the alternative pilot PANRE exam is not reasonable.
Therefore, I asked the question, “How do we know if someone fails?” Sheila stated that they don’t know the exact rating criteria of yet, but that will be determined. She told me that if you fail the alternative pilot exam in the third year, you have to take the high-risk exam. You have two years to adjust your studies in a way that makes you successful on the pilot-style PANRE questions. Understand these questions will be modified based on your profession and your responses to the question.
Let me explain.
Questions Catered to Your Practice
I work emergency medicine critical care, but I’m asked a question about birth control pills and hormone replacement. I would be asked the question and then asked, “How pertinent is this to your job?” Relative to the risk factors of hypercoagulability of birth control pills, I don’t know all about the different types of hormones and hormone replacement and how to prevent birth control, other than the mini pill. Therefore, that’s not very relevant to my job. I would respond as such when asked that question.
Sheila told me that as the two years go by, those questions will be more catered towards what serves you in your particular field. If I answer, “That’s not very pertinent in my job,” I will get less of those questions in the future, which I think is absolutely fantastic.
Preparing for the Alternative PANRE
In moving forward as you prepare for your alternative PANRE starting in 2019, you really do need to be prepared and you need to study effectively. With each disease you study, make sure you know which level the disease process is, because I don’t want people to over-study content. I want you to be adequately prepared, but not over-studied.
If you visit ipanre.com, you can get a bunch of information to help you prepare for your boards, including a downloadable study resource that includes a color-coded copy of all the diseases and what level they are. We also have a couple resources for you, including a video on demand of CME that’s specifically designed for the alternative pilot PANRE and board review courses coming up in November and January that are specifically to prepare PAs for their PANRE in 2019. It’s specific content for the 2019 pilot PANRE.
With the different levels of content, your studies need to be more efficient and effective. If you come to one of our live curriculums or watch our video on demand, we’ll do that for you, period. We’ll teach you what you need to know so you don’t over-study content.