Offered at testing centers throughout the U.S., the multiple choice Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) assesses general medical and surgical knowledge.

PAs are eligible to take PANRE during the final two years of the certification maintenance cycle.

**PAs may take PANRE up to two times in the fifth or ninth year and up to three times in the sixth or tenth year, with a maximum of four total attempts.

PANRE Registration

Eligible PAs can register for PANRE online; the exam registration fee is $350. You may schedule your exam anytime (depending on testing center availability) within the 180-day timeframe established for you to take the exam based on the successful submission of all required materials to NCCPA. The four-hour PANRE exam includes 240 multiple-choice questions administered in four blocks of 60 questions with 60 minutes to complete each block. There is a total of 45 minutes allotted for breaks between blocks and you will be responsible for managing your break time. You will have 15 minutes to complete the PANRE tutorial.

**Before registering for PANRE, be sure to review the policies and procedures.


When registering for PANRE, please consider the following requirements:

  • You may only take PANRE once in any 90-day period. (The 90-day limit on PANRE attempts will be waived when (1) there are fewer than 90 days left in the sixth or tenth year and (2) you have not already exhausted all PANRE attempts available for the year. In such cases, one final attempt to pass the exam will be permitted.)     

  • You have up to 180 days from the beginning of your exam timeframe to take the exam. These dates will be reflected in your exam application acknowledgment email.

  • If you apply late in your sixth year, your timeframe will be shorter than 180 days, ending the last test date prior to your certification's expiration.

  • There will be no testing between Dec. 18-31, 2018.

The Practice-Focused Component

Beginning in 2019, the PANRE will be focused on core medical knowledge deemed important for all certified physician assistants, regardless of their practice discipline or setting, therefore; PAs will not have to select a practice-focused component. The last year to take PANRE with a practice-focused component is 2018.

If applying for and taking the PANRE in 2018, PAs will be able to choose one of the following focus exam areas:

  • Adult medicine

  • Surgery

  • Primary care

While all exams, regardless of the focus selected, are built to the same content blueprint, 60% of the exam will cover all areas of practice in primary care. The remaining 40% will contain questions in the focus area chosen.

This option gives PAs the opportunity to focus more of the exam on their general area of practice.

The PANRE will still be an exam based on general knowledge, you will just have the option of having more generalist questions in one of the areas listed above. No matter which option you choose, the content blueprint remains the same because it is still an exam based on general knowledge.

As always, each exam will be equated for difficulty, so no matter which version you take, your exam will be no harder or easier statistically speaking. The exam will still be scored as a single exam, and you will still receive a single score. In fact, your score report will not even show whether you chose to focus your exam in adult medicine, surgery or primary care. When you pass, you will receive the same credential as always. This is not a vehicle for specialty recognition, just a way to better align the general certification exam with your area of practice.


Questions about the practice-focused PANRE? Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Pearson VUE testing centers are located throughout the U.S. and other select countries. After registering for the exam and receiving your exam acknowledgement email, visit www.pearsonvue.com/nccpa to schedule your exam date and for directions to testing centers in your area.

To view a tutorial of PANRE, go to www.pearsonvue.com/nccpa.

When preparing for PANRE, you will want to familiarize yourself with the content blueprint. Want to see what the PANRE is like and focus your exam preparation? Check out our Practice Exams.

Sign in to your personal certification record to register for PANRE.