Physician Associate National Certification and Recertification Examinations – changes to the limit on attempts and eligibility period

The role of the Physician Associate National Certification Examination (PANE) is to ensure all physician associates seeking to join the Faculty of Physician Associates, be included in the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR) and practice in the UK, are suitably qualified and have met the standard of knowledge, practical skills and professionalism required.

The Physician Associate National Recertification Examination (PANRE) is designed to ensure all physician associates on the PAMVR are maintaining a sufficient level of knowledge to safeguard the patients in their care, across all core areas of practice, regardless of whether they are working in a specific specialty.

Ensuring the PANE and PANRE continue to provide an environment within which candidates can undertake an examination to the best of their ability is essential, and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) continually monitors the eligibility criteria for both the PANE and PANRE to help maintain standards and ensure candidates are supported throughout their examination journey.

What are the changes?

Changes are being made to the number of attempts permitted at each examination component, for both the PANE and PANRE. Changes are also being made to the maximum eligibility period of a previously passed PANE component:

  • The number of attempts permitted at a component of the PANE or PANRE will be increased from three to four.
  • The maximum eligibility period of a previously passed PANE component will be increased from 14 months to 18 months.

The implementation of these changes has been carefully timed to ensure its impact maximises fairness to all candidates. To provide sufficient notice to affected candidates, particularly those who are currently out of attempts and who may wish to undertake a period of further training in preparation for a fourth attempt, the changes will come into effect via updated PANE Regulations and PANRE Regulations on 27 June 2022, ahead of the assessment period in September and October 2022.

All those affected by the changes will be contacted directly via email to explain the next steps, should they wish to continue with the PANE.

These changes do not apply to candidates who sit the PANE knowledge-based assessment, PANE OSCE or PANRE during the May 2022 assessment period.

No changes are being made to the content, structure, or standard setting of any PANE or PANRE examination component.

A list of frequently asked questions has also been put together to answer any further questions you may have, including contact details for more information. This can be found here within the guidance and resources tab, titled PA national exam – changes FAQs.