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What You Need the Day of the Physician Assistant Exam

There are several items you will need to make sure you have for test day. Checking in to take the PANCE or PANRE is roughly equivalent to boarding a commercial airline flight, except you don’t have to submit to a random search.

When you arrive at the test center, you must show two forms of valid, current identification. One ID must have a “permanently affixed photo with your printed name and signature,” and the second ID must have your printed name and signature. The first amounts to a driver’s license, a passport, or a military ID. The second one can be just about anything.

You won’t get in if the names on your IDs don’t match or if they’re different from your name as listed in NCCPA’s record. These are not trusting people, folks — they fear that you’ll send in a ringer to take the test for you. You should expect to be subjected to a digital fingerprint or palm scan and to be photographed.

The list of things that the test administrators do and don’t allow is unfortunately long. Get ready. The NCCPA website informs you about these restrictions numerous times.

Items that are not allowed at the Physician Assistant exam

You can’t take paper, pens, pencils, calculators, watches, cell phones, and other gadgets into the test room. Bring nothing personal into the test room except essential medical aids and the clothes on your back.

You receive a locker outside of the test room to store your personal items. Although snacks aren’t allowed in the test room, bring along whatever munchies you need to make it through a long day, and store them in your locker. You’ll be at the test center for at least 5 or 6 hours and will need to maintain your energy. You can access your locker during breaks.

Items that are allowed at PANCE or PANRE

You can bring in some medical aids without applying for a special dispensation. Just as when you travel by air, pack your small items in a plastic bag no bigger than quart size. Acceptable items that need to go in a bag include the following:

  • Tissues

  • Cough drops or pills (must be unwrapped and not in a bottle/container)

  • Eye drops

  • Hearing aids

  • Earplugs (or the proctor can provide you with a set of disposable earplugs)

  • Eyeglasses (without the case)

  • An inhaler

  • A paper face mask

  • A glucose meter

Here are some allowable items that don’t need to be in the bag:

  • A pillow for supporting your neck, back, or an injured limb

  • Braces (for your wrist, leg, neck, and so on) and neck collars (for neck injuries)

  • Bandages or casts, including eye patches, slings for broken or sprained arms, and other injury-related items that can’t be removed

  • Crutches, canes, walkers, or other medical walking aids

  • A wheelchair or motorized chair or scooter

  • An insulin pump or other medical device attached to the body

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