Physician Associate National Examination -
Changes to standard setting methodology for the recertification examination


Candidate information

The role of the Physician Associate National Recertification Examination (PANRE) is to assess all core areas of practice that a physician associate is expected to maintain knowledge in, regardless of whether they are working in a specific specialty.

In order to remain on the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR) physician associates must pass the Physician Associate National Recertification Examination every 6 years.

Ensuring the PANRE continues to be robust and reliable is essential, and the Royal College of Physicians continually monitors the performance of the examination to help maintain standards.

With the above in mind, and to ensure the continued robustness of the PANRE as we prepare for regulation of the profession by the GMC, we will be making changes to the recertification examination. These changes will come into effect ahead of the application period for the September/October 2021 assessment period, which opens for applications on 28 June 2021.

This new approach does not apply to candidates who sat the recertification examination during the March and/or May 2021 assessment periods.


What are the changes?

Changes are being made to the way in which your results for the recertification examination will be calculated:

  • We will continue to use the Angoff method of standard setting, a widely used and recognised way of setting the pass mark for multiple choice, knowledge-based, examinations. However we will now also be including one ‘standard error of measurement’ (or ‘SEM’) in this total score calculation, which will provide the final pass mark for each recertification examination.

The addition of an SEM acts as a safeguard against measurement error, further enhances the reliability of the written examination and is in line with accepted best practice.

  • To achieve a pass in the recertification examination you must achieve or exceed this overall pass mark.
  • No changes are being made to the content or structure of the examination, nor the duration of the examination. You will still be assessed in line with the PA National Examination SBA blueprint.


The Physician Associate National Recertification Examination Regulations have been updated to reflect the above changes.

A list of frequently asked questions has also been put together to answer any further questions you may have.