PACKRAT Exam (Meaning, Benefits, Outlook)


There exists a constant desire as human beings to be better than we are; due to this desire for perfection, we keep testing ourselves and our limits. This burning desire has been the soul of several inventions in the world, leading to the introduction of PACKRAT Exam.

However, they are limited tools to evaluate our position in whatever field we find ourselves in. Given this, the PACKRAT exam was created to be one of the best self-assessment tools to enable us to review where we are.

What is PACKRAT Exam?

The PACKRAT exam being an assessment tool stands for “Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool” under (PAEA). It serves as one of the best assessment tools for students; it is also valid for curricular evaluation.

Various examination board members use this indispensable tool to guide the creation and formation of exams and exam forms. This exam is quite helpful to students because it can also indicate how their exam might appear.

PACKRAT Exam – Benefits To Students

The PACKRAT exam lists topics and tasks that physician assistant (PA) students are expected to review to help prepare for their exams.

Although, it is important to realize that these topics do not reflect the entire topics on the curriculum, and the tasks are not the exam questions.

However, this program organized by the Physician Assistant Clinical Knowledge Rating and Assessment Tool (PAEA) is designed to help PA students study for exams.

At the same time, students are still advised to consult their topic lists, curriculum, and blueprints while preparing using the PACKRAT exam.

PACKRAT Exam – Benefits To Exam Board Members

The PACKRAT Exam was not designed to help only students; that’s one of the beauties of this program.

The program helps teachers or exam board members have a less complicated job by making the topic lists and blueprints readily available especially multi-choice questions, which are one of the most challenging exam questions to make available.

However, with the help of the PACKRAT exam, members can prepare questions that cover the entire scope of the topic lists.

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Outlook Of the PACKRAT Exam

The PACKRAT exam is often said to be two-dimensional because it applies the two most important aspects of learning contents and tasks.

The exam is designed according to standard topic lists and blueprints, although this may not tally 100% with topic lists of certain schools.

The questions usually found in PACKRAT exam covers a wide range of various patients need. It helps to note transition times for students while providing a means of comparing them to other students. Below are important notes to take about the PACKRAT exam.

  • The exam is designed to assess students’ ability to solve problems and think critically, hence the need for the vignette format.
  • Students will usually find two versions when they try to take the exam; however, the recent version is usually recommended.
  • The exam is strictly for self-assessment and not for trading purposes.
  • The exam is usually secured by the PAEA and is free from manipulation.
  • It is 225 multiple-choice exam questions which are usually written every year.
  • The questions are usually randomized to increase exam efficiency.
  • The report gotten at the end of the exam help students see where they stand compared to other PA students. It also helps them know areas to focus more attention on and recommend study plans.
  • It helps in making informed choices concerning courses and their curricula.

How the questions are spread

  • Cardiovascular – 16%
  • Dermatology – 5%
  • Endocrinology – 6%
  • NOT – 9%
  • GI/Nutrition – 10%
  • Hematology – 3%
  • ID – 3%
  • Neurology – 6%
  • OBGYN – 8%
  • Ortho – 10%
  • Psychiatry – 6%
  • Pulmonology – 12%
  • Urology – 6%

How To Succeed in your PACKRAT Exam

Although this is not a grade assessment exam, it is still important that you perform well in this exam. Below are some of the things you should be looking to do to make sure of that.

Read the end of the question first:

You should read the end of the question first to know what the question requires of you. This is helpful as it helps reduce time wastage on irrelevant things.

Use Your scratch paper:

While writing the exam, you should have a scratch paper where you take down important details about the question, especially during calculation questions.

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Get to what you know:

Like with every exam, you are better off answering questions you know first before delving into unravelling those you do not. This is another time-saving technique that is tested and trusted.

Go with what you know:

One other major enemy of exam writing is doubt. However, you must try as much as possible to avoid having doubts about your answer. This has made many people choose the right answer only to come and cancel it due to doubt.


The PACKRAT exam is an important tool if you decide to evaluate your progress as a physician assistant student.

Although some may argue that students are the major beneficiaries of this program, all will agree that exam board members have their fair share of this help.

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