Content Blueprint for Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam (PANRE) and the Pilot Alternative to PANRE

(effective January 2019)

This content blueprint provides information on how exam questions are allocated to the different content categories on PANRE and the Pilot Alternative to PANRE. The blueprint is the culmination of an extensive multi-year initiative to gather feedback from certified physician assistants, including data from the most recent practice analysis, various work groups, and a profession-wide survey to identify the core medical knowledge deemed important for all certified physician assistants, regardless of their practice discipline or setting. On that survey, PAs provided detailed feedback on whether specific diseases and disorders were considered to be part of core medical knowledge and, if so, the level at which each disease and disorder should be assessed. The new blueprint is designed to be more closely aligned with the feedback received from PAs throughout this process.

Certified PAs are involved throughout the exam development process, including: reviewing results of the practice analysis and core medical knowledge response data, writing questions that appear on the recertification assessments, reviewing assessments before they are administered, reviewing performance data for questions, and developing recommendations for passing standards. Certified PAs work with NCCPA to continuously review the content included on the recertification assessments to ensure that it is relevant and current, as the practice of medicine changes and treatment guidelines are revised or new ones introduced.

The diseases and disorders that may be covered on PANRE and the Pilot Alternative to PANRE are provided by accessing the detailed blueprints using one of the links below. Also provided is the level at which each disease and disorder will be assessed. The levels are defined as follows:

Level 1: Recognize most likely diagnosis using signs, symptoms and risks; refer appropriately.

Level 2: Make appropriate diagnosis by recognizing signs, symptoms, risks and/or interpreting results of diagnostic studies, and have knowledge of first-line treatment.

Level 3: Make appropriate diagnosis by recognizing signs, symptoms, risks and/or interpreting results of diagnostic studies and have knowledge of first-line treatment. In addition, have knowledge required to manage well-known comorbid conditions, contraindications, and complications.

In addition to covering the topics listed in the following categories, up to 2% of the questions on PANRE and the Pilot Alternative to PANRE may cover professional practice (legal and ethical) issues. Due to the limited number of questions on PANRE and the Pilot Alternative to PANRE, it is not possible to include all topics on a single exam. The percentage allocations are approximate and may vary slightly with each exam. 

Content Area

Percent Allocation*

Cardiovascular System

13%

Dermatologic System

6%

Endocrine System

6%

Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Throat

8%

Gastrointestinal System/Nutrition

11%

Genitourinary System

5%

Hematologic System

4%

Infectious Diseases

6%

Musculoskeletal System

9%

Neurologic System

7%

Psychiatry/Behavioral Science

5%

Pulmonary System

10%

Renal System

3%

Reproductive System

7%

      *May vary slightly with each exam

For convenience, the detailed content blueprint has been provided in two formats and may be accessed using the links below. The first includes the list of diseases and disorders and the respective assessment levels organized by content area.  The second provides the same listing of diseases and disorders, but it is sorted by assessment level. 

New - PANRE and Pilot Alternative to PANRE Content Blueprint (effective January 2019) – organized by content area

New - PANRE and Pilot Alternative to PANRE Content Blueprint (effective January 2019) – organized by assessment level

The blueprint for all 2018 PANRE administrations is provided here.