Physician Assistant Review Questions

Based on the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants format.


  • Just like you'll see on the actual exam
  • No negatively phrased questions
  • Case-based presentations
  • Image-based questions
  • Continually updated

Sample Stem:

A 59-year-old man presents to you for severe low back pain that he says he has had for 8 years. He initially injured his back while working on his home. He has just completed 8 weeks of physical therapy, and he has been receiving chiropractic care for 1 year. He had been evaluated by a neurosurgeon and has declined any surgical interventions. He elects medical management of his pain.
He has attempted multiple nonpharmacologic therapies, including tai chi, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, exercise, low-level laser therapy, and electromyography biofeedback. However, none of these modalities have reduced his pain.
Past medical history includes heroin use disorder, which is in remission. Current medications include baclofen 10 mg every 8 hours as needed for spasms and meloxicam 15 mg daily. He has tried duloxetine, tramadol, carbamazepine, gabapentin, nortriptyline, and amitriptyline for pain management, but he has had no success. He has also tried multiple skeletal muscle relaxants, but they have only minimally reduced his pain.

His vital signs are: 98.6 °F (37 °C), pulse 84 beats/minute, blood pressure 136/81 mm Hg, respiratory rate 12 breaths/minute, and oxygen saturation 100% on room air. His body mass index is 25.3 kg/m2. He rates his pain as a 9 on a 10-point scale.
His laboratory studies are normal.
X-ray of the lumbar spine shows diffuse, severe arthritis and degenerative disc disease at L4 to L5.
Which of the following is the most appropriate next treatment option?


Challenging distractors are one of the most important features of a high quality PA board review question.


  • Challenging distractors (incorrect answer options)
  • Practice Modes for self-testing instant feedback
  • Review Modes for read-friendly questions & answers

Answer Options:

 Use a risk-stratification tool such as the Opioid Risk Tool or the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (v 1) to determine risk of abuse or misuse.
 Refer him to physical therapy for extended treatment, with emphasis on ultrasonography and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
 Consider referring him to pain-management and substance use disorder specialists for additional evaluation and management given his history of substance abuse.
 Evaluate risk factors for opioid-related harms, discuss pain treatment goals, and, if the benefit outweighs the risk, begin immediate-release opioid therapy (≤ 50 morphine milligram equivalents [MMEs)/day).


Understanding why an answer choice is incorrect is just as important as knowing why it is correct for a truly effective Physician Assistant board review course.


  • Detailed explanation for the correct and incorrect answer choices
  • Integrated media for visual learning
  • Key points link associated concepts and practice guidelines

Correct Answer:

Consider referring him to pain-management and substance use disorder specialists for additional evaluation and management given his history of substance abuse.

Educational Objective:

Describe the appropriate initiation of treatment for long-term low back pain with opioid therapy in patients with a past history of substance use disorder.

Key Point:

Patients with a history of substance use disorder should be referred to pain and substance use disorder specialists prior to initiation of opioid therapy for long-term pain management.


Patients with a history of substance use disorder should be referred to pain and substance use disorder specialists prior to initiating opioid therapy for long-term pain management. The Drug Abuse Screening test is validated for the primary care setting to screen patients for substance use disorder. Given the high incidence of opioid use disorder, properly screening patients prior to initiating therapy is recommended.

The Opioid Risk Tool and the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (v 1) are not accurate for risk stratification for substance use disorder. Ultrasonography and TENS have not been shown to be effective in reduction of pain for long-term low back pain. Initiation of opioid therapy with immediate-release opioids in a patient with substance use disorder is not recommended.


Dowell D, Haegerich T, Chou R. CDC guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic painMMWR Recomm Rep. 2016; 65(1):1-49.

Qaseem A, Wilt TJ, McLean RM, Forciea MA; Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. Noninvasive treatments for acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(7):514-530.

Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Calculating total daily dose of opioids for safer dosage. Accessed May 23, 2017.

Our Physician Assistant Exam Review Gives You More Ways To Study

Study Modes

Enhanced uptake and retention

Programmed learning - the self-study progression of Practice > Review > Assess - is an educational methodology scientifically proven to enhance information uptake and retention. Our topic-based review segments provide this progression, so you can absorb content faster - and remember it for a longer time.

Tutor Modes
  • Practice - non-scored self-testing with answer feedback
  • Review - read-friendly question & answer review
Easy Self-Assessment
  • Start, Pause, Resume, Score - assess as you like
  • Flag Questions - flag questions for review
Self-Assessment Options
  • Board Exam "Smart" Simulator - exam-specific comprehensive review prioritizes missed and unseen / unanswered questions on subsequent use. Fastest path to complete mastery.
  • Board Exam "Crash" Review - comprehensive review prioritizes unseen / unanswered questions on subsequent use. Great for anytime "check up" or when time is short.
  • Chapter Exams - both Smart and Crash options, adaptive review per chapter
  • Baseline Exams - curated set of core questions for quick, initial knowledge assessment
  • Topic CME Assessments - topic-based question set, passing score earns CME credit
  • Custom Exams - exams you've built via our Exam Builder

Multimedia From Real Cases Strengthens PA Board Review

Media Banks

Integrated audio and visual media for enhanced learning.


  • Audio and visual content reinforce core concepts
  • Media banks organized by topic
  • Tables, images, diagrams, videos and more
  • Great resource for education program faculty

Our board reviews offer high resolution imagery and other media.

Physician Assistant Board Review Options You Won’t Find Anywhere Else

Custom Tools

Use our "out-of-the-box" content & exams - or build your own. Your call.

It's important to know, Med-Challenger courses require NO exam building labor on your part - unlike other board review QBanks. Our courses come with pre-built, exam-mapped, adaptive self-assessments so there's no set up required - you can just dive in. However, we also include custom build tools, so if you DO want to build something special - you can.

Custom Exam Builder

Build custom exams that dynamically issue selected content based on your specifications and create a personal review solution that fits your study preferences and lifestyle.

  • Build your own adaptive exams using Q&A from one or more course assets
  • Set how many questions are issued from your selected question pool on each attempt
  • Save your custom exams and re-use them. They'll follow your content specifications every time.

Build custom exams and more.

Themes and Settings

Select from light and dark themes and customize your experience within your account profile.

customize your screen

Custom CME Certificates

Review completed work, batch claim CME credits, and produce printable CME certificate PDFs. Review, reproduce & email CME certificates anytime.

print cme certificates on-demand
More authoring tools for program directors

Our program director suite also includes custom question authoring, custom assignment creation, scheduling and more.

Each Physician Assistant Review Question Has A Detailed Answer

Prescriptive Learning

Receive targeted self-remediation in detected "weak areas"

Every board simulation self-assessment analyzes missed questions and issues both full answer keys and a post-assessment self-remediation prescription to targeted review content so you can address any and all "weak areas" of knowledge on the spot - and save valuable time.

  • Get a comprehensive breakdown of assessment performance in all categories and sub-topics
  • View full answer keys - filter by question results - view missed, unanswered, and flagged questions
  • Understand specific areas of knowledge that should be improved
  • Receive suggested links to targeted self-remediation - and dive deeper on the spot

See If You’re Ready For The NCCPA Board Exam


Know what you've done, how well, and where you're headed.

Med-Challenger provides you with key statistics and robust analytics to create an efficient and effective learning strategy - and predict outcomes.


Quickly see what's complete and what's left to review.

15 / 15 Topics Complete

4 / 10 Topics Complete

Keep track of what's been completed and what's not.

See how you're performing and improve your knowledge in problem areas.



Evaluate your performance on board exam simulations and more.

See the likelihood of you passing your exam at any time.

Excellent - 98%
Predict the likelihood of passing board exams

"Outstanding board review & continuing education with lasting value. Web-based system is fantastic and easy to use. Makes exam review and CME super easy. Best investment I've ever made for my career."

Don Hill, MD

Physician Assistant Test Topics

Blueprint-based Exam Simulation

NCCPA publishes a content blueprint of the material that will appear on the exam.

This is how we determine which material appears in exam simulations.

Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Throat7%
Neurologic System6%
Infectious Diseases3%


PA Board Review

Interested in group subscriptions of 10 or more?
Request Quote | 1-800-676-0822

Learn about Program Director
Physician Assistant Board Review

PANRE Recertification Exam

Crush your MOC Boards & Earn CME.


One-time purchase. One year of initial access.
Includes low cost Premium renewal option.

+ 100% Pass Guaranteed
+ Over 2500 Questions & Explanations
+ Exam Simulation, Study by Topic & Custom Exams
+ Continuous Updates
+ 195 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits
+ 20 AAPA-Approved Category 1 CME Credits

Physician Assistant Board Review

PANCE Certification Exam

Crush your Boards & Earn CME.


One-time purchase. One year of initial access.
Includes low cost Premium renewal option.

+ 100% Pass Guaranteed
+ Over 2500 Questions & Explanations
+ Exam Simulation, Study by Topic & Custom Exams
+ Continuous Updates
+ 195 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits
+ 20 AAPA-Approved Category 1 CME Credits

More Than Just A Physician Assistant Board Review Course

Account Benefits

Premium Membership - A Better Plan

"You can treat the symptoms or you can cure the condition."  We're known for high quality board review courses, but we're built to protect your practice and quality of life throughout your medical career. The others aren't. It all starts with your single online account.

Everything in one spot. Useful forever.

With your single Med-Challenger account you can add multiple MOC products under one login, use them all year. Then, simply renew your Premium Membership for one low annual fee ($199/yr). You'll get another full year of access to EVERYTHING you've ever bought. We'll keep everything in your account up-to-date and on-call to serve your MOC & CME needs every year throughout your career. Buy once. Use assets year after year. Never pay full price again!

New Content Weekly

Just by having a free Med-Challenger online account, you can stay up-to-date and informed to changes in current practice.

  • Our Medical Education Blog offers practice pearls, guideline news, and diagnostic challenges from our clinician authors.
  • Our popular Free CME Quick Quiz game let's you try new board review questions each week. No purchase necessary to play.
Free Board Review Questions
free board review questions
CME Credit On-Demand

Most Med-Challenger products include required continuing education credit(s). Any earned credits will accrue in your account's CME Claims manager. Easily batch-claim earned credits and produce custom CME certificate PDFs, anytime. Makes MOC a snap.

100% Risk-free

We offer a money-back pass-guarantee on all exam review courses. We only succeed, when you do. Start a no-obligation full trial of any product today.

Free Support

We provide free, live US-based support and a 24/7 knowledge base, so you'll never be without clear answers to your questions and needs.