Monday, 10 August 2015

How I prepared for the Canadian PA Cert Exam

Hello All, It has been a long time!

I have been asked by the graduating class on what I did to prepare for the Canadian physician assistant certification exam. My original plan (which I failed to do :P ) was to create exam preparation material specifically for the Canadian exam. Here I'll talk about what I did to study for the exam.

First take a look at the exam blueprint which is found at the CAPA website.


This will give you the general overview on the exam and what you need to focus on.

The PA Cert Exam is 4 hours in duration and consists of 250 multiple choice questions.


1. LANGE Q&A -I RECOMMEND the APP version so you can study anywhere. ie. waiting for the bus, waiting for at appointment, if your bored. That way you don't have to carry the book around. I got both :P first the book then the app. I used the APP consistently, the book maybe once.

 2. THIS GUY. Physician assistant boards - Andrew PA-C
 Since the exam is so comprehensive it was hard to narrow down the real important information that you NEED to know. I bought his review pdf file which includes organized system based notes and quick associations/facts which was good to jog my memory for daily review. If I need more information I would use my school notes or textbooks to go through it in more detail. **Keep in mind this is focused towards the PANCE the PA certification exam in the states so use the CCPA exam blueprint to keep you focused.

3. PODCASTS - again by Andrew PA-C
I've tried a few different ones but his worked well because the topics were in a simple and organized matter. This worked for me because I have a 50min - 1 hr commute to work. I was able to study while I was sitting/driving.

 Again I primarily reviewed my adult medicine course notes. I tend to stick with most common presentations that you would see in family medicine and emergency. 

I was lucky to have this. I'm sure not everyone will be able to have a great resource such as the doc you worked with. With my supervising physician we reviewed different systems each week and correlated with the patients I saw. This was great as it was a good way for me to review for my exam plus orientate to my new job.

Overall I gave myself approximately 4-5weeks before the exam to study (keep in mind I was working during the time). I would listen to the podcasts daily, review my notes/practice questions daily and discuss topics with the doctor I worked with. There was of course breaks in the middle. 

I hope this helped. This might not work for everyone but this should give you a starting point. I still hope to create an exam guide. (Some day :P) 

Good luck to those writing the exam this year!! Don't worry school is almost over :) :)


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