The PA program I graduated from highly suggested that students take a board review course before taking the PANCE. As a student I did not know what to expect, or if it was even necessary. My biggest concern was how much money it cost ($400-$1000).
I decided to do the 3-day board review course instead of the 5-day, to help save money and time. Here are my thoughts on taking the course as a student:
- It was a review course. So, while I did learn new things, most of the course was about reviewing things I already knew well. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as a student, a lot of the material was still fresh in my head. Some students may need the additional help though. Our program did the PACKRAT and the PAEA exams…which are great predictors of how well you are doing.
- The review course helped build confidence. I knew a lot of the material because it was so fresh from school and that boosted my confidence, which helped lower my anxiety before taking the PANCE.
- It was fun. I enjoyed the conference and would definitely do it again in a couple years to stay up-to-date on my studies.
In case you are wondering what the conference is like…it is 3 days of lectures/studying/reviewing. The day starts around 6:45 am and ends around 5 pm. You get a break in the morning and afternoon to walk around a minute or use the bathroom. The rest of the time is spent listening to lectures. For example:
6:45 Cardiology Review
8:00 Pulmonology Review
9:15 ENT Review
10:15 Dermatology Review
11:15 Practice Questions
11:45 Break for Lunch
The conference I attended provided breakfast and lunch everyday, and the food was great. The conference itself was held at a hotel conference center and most of the attendees stayed on site. I do recommend buying the binder so you have something to take notes in during the lectures. The conference I went to sold other items, but I didn’t feel those were that helpful to me, as a recent graduate.
In summary, I think the conference isn’t going to hurt you as a student, but it may or may not be very helpful. I do think the course will be awesome in a couple of years…once I have forgotten more of the topics I don’t see everyday.
Read more about the boards here.