Surviving PA School


This book is about the secrets you must unlock to excel as a Physician Assistant Student (PA-S).

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Surviving PA School: Secrets You Must Unlock to Excel as a Physician Assistant Student

This book is about the secrets you must unlock to excel as a Physician Assistant Student (PA-S).

Are you on your way to PA School and searching for the authoritative guide that will help you get through the adventure ahead? In “Surviving PA School — Secrets You Must Unlock to Excel as a Physician Assistant,” John Bielinski guides you through the process, from selecting a school to selecting your first job, with practical advice and the tips you can only gain with experience. The first chapter gives you the rundown on what you need to know and do before you even arrive at PA school. You may be surprised by how big this section is; it delves deeply into how to position yourself even before PA school, because as with most things in life, preparation is the key to success. You can prevent a lot of problems by gaining the right tools and mindset from the beginning. Setting this groundwork will be incredibly valuable down the line.

In the next chapter, John provides an overview of the major landmines of your didactic phase, as well as guidance on how to avoid them. The didactic phase of PA school—your first year, made up of traditional academic classes—is like studying for a big final exam, but for a whole year straight. For the entire year, you spend eight hours a day in class, and then you go home and still have four or six hours of studying left—and that lasts for two semesters. It is almost like you’re learning four years of medical school content in one year. This book shows you how to study the material, move to the next level, and not get overwhelmed. After reading, you will know the scoop, the pearls, and the tools for keeping up academically.

In chapter three, you’ll find a guide for your rotations, your second year of PA school, where you spend three-or-four week cycles in various healthcare facilities in order to gain hands-on experience. A good student who can really get the most out of rotations will be five times further ahead than a student who passively goes through rotations. You’ll learn how to develop a deep knowledge base and interact effectively with patients, while also learning the political elements of working with doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff.

In the fourth chapter, John takes you through preparing for your Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). PA Students have a big test to take that a whole lot is riding on. Make no mistake about it, the PANCE is a comprehensive and difficult test. It’s a primary care-based exam that’s almost like an endurance event. To be ready for it, you need to have the right strategy in-place from day 1. With this book in-hand, you will. From the right tools to utilize to managing board anxiety, you’ll finish this chapter with a full understanding of what lays ahead and how to give yourself an edge on your competition.

In the final chapter, you’re guided into the workplace. It’s time to turn all the effort and commitment you’ve invested into a successful career. But, with so many options, how do you choose the right path? What do you need to start doing today so that, upon certification, you’ll be able to find and pick the right job for you? How do you start building a network today that will serve you when hiring time comes around? With John’s grounded advice, you’ll be well positioned to make the right decisions as you set out into your new profession.


Chapter 1 – So, You’re Going to Be a PA Student
Chapter 2 – Your First Year: The Didactic Phase
Chapter 3 – Your Second Year: The Clinical Phase
Chapter 4 – Passing Your Boards: Preparing for the PANCE
Chapter 5 – Life After PA School
Total pages: 110

AAPA Credit Value:

This program is not currently approved for AAPA Category 1 Credit CME.


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Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 3.5 × 14 in


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Surviving PA School

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