The Physician Associate National Examination

To become a qualified physician associate (PA) in the UK, the Faculty of Physician Associates (FPA) requires all PA students who have completed a PA programme to take the Physician Associate National Examination (PANE).

The PANE is developed and delivered by the Assessment Unit on behalf of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). The PANE is open to any candidate who has completed the requirements of the Competence and Curriculum Framework for the Physician Assistant within a UK university postgraduate programme in Physician Associate Studies (either as a postgraduate diploma or a master’s course) and had completion signed off by their relevant university exam board. 

The PANE is made up of a 200-question, single best answer, knowledge-based assessment, taken online, and a 14-station objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), held at the Spine, Liverpool.

On successful completion of the PANE, providing they are a member of the FPA, a candidate can then be registered on the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR).

Please note, the RCP and FPA do not accredit or endorse any commercial preparation courses for the PANE.

Get Involved

We rely on hundreds of healthcare professionals to volunteer their time to help deliver our highly regarded Physician Associate National Examination (PANE), and we are always looking for recruits to join this dynamic and professional team.

All volunteers are trained through a formal induction programme and receive support from our staff throughout their involvement in our assessments. Roles vary to suit interest and time commitments.

Benefits of working with us:

  • Network with colleagues across different specialties and healthcare roles
  • Keep knowledge up-to-date
  • Take part in challenging discussions with like-minded colleagues
  • Become involved with the next generation of physician associates
  • Shape the future of the profession
  • Promote multidisciplinary working
  • Gain continuing professional development.

By getting involved, you can shape the future of the Physician Associate through written and clinical (OSCE) examinations. We have rolling recruitment and training process for our OSCE examiner and question/scenario writer roles.

If you are interested in becoming an OSCE examiner or joining our question or scenario writing groups, please visit the question writing group section, and explore this area of our website to review our current and ongoing opportunities. 

Please note all our roles are non-salaried positions, though all reasonable expenses and travel costs will be met in line with the RCP expenses policy.


'I have always enjoyed being an Examiner at the OSCEs – it's a really nice way to keep up to date as well as continuing to support the profession and our students. It is a great way to network with other PA examiners that you may not normally run into, and particularly when working in academia the experience of going there in person is invaluable to understanding the process.' Ria, OSCE examiner and exam Board member

'As a qualified PA, I wanted to give back something to the profession and help to ensure only those safe to practice pass the national examination.' Cymone, OSCE examiner 

'Being a member of the exam board, the time commitment is minimal for the experience and process insight this also offers, and would benefit anyone who wants to be more involved in supporting the profession.' Ria, OSCE examiner and exam Board member

Become an examiner 

To apply to become a PANE OSCE examiner please complete our online application form. Successful applicants will need to attend a half-day training workshop, which are held regularly throughout the year in both Liverpool and London.

All individuals wishing to become PANE OSCE examiners must demonstrate during their application that they meet the following criteria:

  • are currently registered on the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register (PAMVR) or other relevant statutory regulator (for example the GMC, NMC or HCPC)
  • are in good standing with the Faculty of Physician Associates (or relevant regulatory body)
  • have at least three years’ post-registration experience (or, where the applicant is not a physician associate, three years demonstrable experience of working with, training, teaching, or supervising the physician associate role)
  • be up-to-date as appropriate with relevant national guidelines, CPD requirements, employer’s equality and diversity training and appraisal process
  • be in active clinical practice at the time of appointment, or be able to demonstrate current and substantial involvement in a PA educator role (individuals may continue to examine for a maximum of three years after they retire from clinical practise or their role as a PA educator).

Examiner appointments are for a term of three years, subject to satisfactory performance (see below), and renewable every three years thereafter, following review by the PANE clinical examination lead and (in respect of continuing eligibility) by the RCP assessment unit. Terms will begin from the first scheduled OSCE date after an applicant has successfully completed their training.

Successful applicants also need to commit to the following in order to retain their status as an examiner following each three-year review:

  • Maintain adherence to the above eligibility criteria and inform the RCP Assessment Unit without delay if they become aware that they are no longer compliant
  • commit to examining a minimum of six days across each three-year window
  • have, at the at the time of appointment, a reasonable expectation of being in the role for at least three years
  • abide by the PANE examiner code of conduct and misconduct policies (downloadable below)

Question Writing

Become a question writer

Our question and scenario writing groups are responsible for several key areas of the PANE’s development:

  • Generating new content that is appropriate for the knowledge-based assessment and OSCE, in line with the relevant assessment’s blueprint and style guide
  • Generating content that includes a good mixture of primary and secondary care settings
  • Ensuring content flagged for review by the PANE board or PANE Question Paper Review Group remains clinically relevant, amending questions or scenarios as appropriate
  • Ensuring questions test knowledge in line with current guidelines across all four nations of the United Kingdom


Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible to apply:

  • Be in active practice as a Physician Associate, or be able to demonstrate substantial experience in working with, training, or supervising the Physician Associate role
  • Have at least 2 years of post-qualification experience
  • Be registered and in good standing on the Physician Associate Managed Voluntary Register or equivalent
  • Be up-to-date as appropriate with relevant national guidelines, CPD requirements, employer’s equality and diversity training and appraisal process
  • Abide by the PANE question/scenario writer code of conduct (downloadable below).

Previous experience in writing and reviewing examination content (either written questions or clinical scenarios as appropriate) would also be desirable but is not a mandatory requirement.

How to apply

Individuals are welcome to apply for the question writing group and/or the scenario writing group, depending upon their level of interest and desired level of contribution (please note the anticipated time commitment in terms of attendance before applying)

To apply, please email a copy of your brief CV and a cover letter outlining your suitability for the post(s) to [email protected]. Please clearly state which of the groups you are applying for.



Other vacancies

The PA National Examination is supported by several individual roles and groups that are responsible for different areas of governance and the development of the assessments. These include the exam board, development group and question/scenario review groups.

Vacancies for our governance and development roles can be found below. Please download the relevant document(s) required below for more information on each role.

Current vacancies

Role Closing date

Members of the PANE Question Paper Review Group


Members of the Scenario Review Group


Applications, including a CV and cover letter outlining your suitability for the role, should be sent to [email protected] by the relevant closing date. Please include the title of the role you wish to apply for in the subject heading of your email.