Physician Assistant students boast perfect pass rate on national certifying exam

Physician Assistant students boast perfect pass rate on national certifying exam

The Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2024 at the West Virginia University School of Medicine achieved a 100% first-time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE), performing above the national average in 20 of the 22 content areas of the exam. They are the first WVU class to do so since the program was established in 2020.

The rigorous exam consists of 300 questions and is produced by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). According to the NCCPA, the exam “assesses the clinical knowledge, clinical reasoning and other medical skills and professional behaviors that have been deemed important for entry-level practice as a PA.”

“The PA Class of 2024 have demonstrated exceptional dedication and perseverance in their studies,” Jennifer Momen, M.D., Physician Assistant Studies program director, said. “Their success on the PANCE is a testament to their hard work and commitment to achieving excellence in their field. The PA faculty applaud their sacrifices and congratulate them on this outstanding accomplishment.”

The national first-time pass rate for the PANCE in 2023 was 92%. A passing score is required for licensure to practice as a physician assistant and use the title PA-C, which indicates a person is board-certified.

“Overall, the WVU PA program prepared my class to pass our national board certification exam by laying a strong foundation in clinical practice and skills,” said Payten Brown. “The faculty was both engaging and supportive. They helped me become an AHEC, CAARES, and IPE Student Leader. In the classroom, they always went out of their way to relate textbook concepts to real life. In procedural skills classes, Dr. Olgersoften utilized his own clinical experience and stories to explain the use and importance of ample procedural knowledge, which in turn, allowed us to better understand when to perform the procedure in addition to doing it correctly.”

After graduation, Brown accepted a position as an OBGYN Labor and Delivery PA-C at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital. She credits her PA Studies clinical rotations with helping her to secure the position.

“The program utilizes WVU Medicine clinics and hospitals for many of our rotations, allowing me to make connections and gain the experience I needed to secure a job after graduation,” Brown explained.

The Physician Assistant Studies program consists of four semesters of didactic coursework followed by 12 months of clinical rotations in the core medical specialties: surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, family medicine, internal medicine, behavioral medicine and rural primary care. Students also have the opportunity to choose two elective rotations based on their individual interests.

“On behalf of the entire PA faculty, I express our great pride in the PA Class of 2024,” Momen said. “We have no doubt that their commitment to providing exceptional care will make a significant impact on the lives of patients in West Virginia and beyond. We eagerly look forward to their contributions alongside the classes of 2022 and 2023 in improving the health of the populations they serve.”

To learn more about Physician Assistant Studies at WVU, visit