Practice Questions for Pediatrics on the Physician Assistant Exam

By Barry Schoenborn, Richard Snyder

More complex pediatric conditions are covered in other disciplines on the Physician Assistant Exam (PANCE) like cardiology, infectious disease, and pulmonary. These practice questions are similar to the ones you may see on the PANCE about pediatric development and conditions confined to pediatric practice.

Example PANCE Questions

  1. Which one of the following is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?

    (A) Advanced maternal age

    (B) Newborn lying on his or her side

    (C) Exposure to cigarette smoke

    (D) Newborn lying on his or her back

    (E) Macrosomia

  2. Which one of the following is a risk factor for developing testicular cancer?

    (A) Cryptorchidism

    (B) Varicocele

    (C) Hydrocele

    (D) Paraphimosis

    (E) Hypospadias

  3. Which one of the following is true concerning the characteristics of childhood autism?

    (A) Kids with autism do well with changing routines.

    (B) Childhood autism is usually diagnosed before the age of 3 years.

    (C) Females are more affected than males.

    (D) Environmental factors likely do not play a role in this condition.

    (E) Benzodiazepines are a mainstay of treatment.

  4. You’re evaluating a 4-month-old infant who presents with a fever of 39.4°C (103°F) and tonic-clonic seizure. There’s no prior history of seizures or epilepsy. A lumbar puncture is unrevealing. Which one of the following is the likely cause of this infant’s seizures?

    (A) Meningitis

    (B) Encephalitis

    (C) Malignancy

    (D) Fever

    (E) Epilepsy

  5. Which of the following is a risk factor for the development of Down syndrome?

    (A) Gestational diabetes

    (B) Maternal alcohol use

    (C) Advanced maternal age

    (D) Folate deficiency during pregnancy

    (E) Lead poisoning

  6. In addition to physical examination, which one of the following is most useful in diagnosing congenital hip dysplasia in the newborn?

    (A) Radiograph

    (B) Ultrasound

    (C) CT scan

    (D) MRI

    (E) Bone scan

Example PANCE Answers and Explanations

Use this answer key to score the practice pediatrics questions. The answer explanations give insight into why the correct answer is better than the other choices.

1. C. Exposure to cigarette smoke is considered to be a risk factor for the development of SIDS. Lying on the stomach is the risk factor, but lying on the side or the back, Choices (B) and (D), is not. Choices (A) and (E), advanced maternal age and macrosomia, are wrong as well; the risk if SIDS increases with a younger mother or a low birth weight.

2. A. Cryptorchidism is an undescended testicle, and it increases the risk of testicular cancer. The other choices — varicocele, hydrocele, paraphimosis, and hypospadias — are not known risk factors. Choice (E), hypospadias, is a genetic condition where the urethral opening is in the wrong place on the penis.

3. B. Childhood autism is diagnosed before the age of 3 years. Autistic kids are usually better with a fixed routine, making Choice (A) incorrect. Males are way more affected with autism than females, so Choice (C) is incorrect. Environmental factors, Choice (D), likely play a huge role in this condition. Benzodiazepines, Choice (E), are used as adjunctive therapy for panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in adults.

4. D. This infant is having febrile seizure (a fever fit). A normal lumbar puncture rules out meningitis and encephalitis, Choices (A) and (B). It would be very highly unlikely for a malignancy, Choice (C), to be a cause of a fever and seizure in an infant this age. The question says that the child has no history of epilepsy, making Choice (E) incorrect.

5. C. Advanced maternal age is a risk factor for the development of Down syndrome in the child. Choice (A), gestational diabetes, increases the risk of macrosomia, and Choice (B), alcohol use, increases the risk of a low birth-weight baby and the development of fetal alcohol syndrome. Choice (D), folate deficiency, increases the risk of spina bifida in the newborn. Choice (E), lead poisoning, can cause basophilic stippling and a microcytic anemia. It can also cause peripheral neuropathy in addition to other symptoms.

6. B. Many PANCE questions concerning congenital hip dysplasia in the newborn focus on the Barlow and Ortolani maneuvers. The best imaging study for the newborn is the ultrasound. In the first few months of life, much of the joint may not be well visualized on standard radiologic imaging.