End of Curriculum™: Content

The PAEA End of Curriculum exam is an objective, standardized evaluation of a student’s medical knowledge as one component of their readiness for graduation.

These resources are used by exam development board members to guide the creation of exam content, and by the exam development staff when constructing exam forms. They will be useful to students when studying for the exam, and for faculty when determining which other summative evaluation components and program objectives may require additional assessment tools.


The  End of Curriculum exam Content List, Blueprint, and Core Tasks and Objectives are resources  used by PAEA to guide in the creation of exam content and construction of exam forms.  Questions on the exam are considered only a  sample of all that might be included in PA education, it is not  intended  to be all-inclusive, and my not reflect all content identified in the Content List.  These resources will be useful to faculty when determining which other summative  evaluation  components and program objectives may  require additional assessment tools.  These documents are also a useful resource for students when studying for the exam, however the  Content  List is not a comprehensive list of all the exam question topics. PAEA’s goal is not to provide a list of all the topics that might be on the exam but rather to provide students with a resource when preparing for the exam. PAEA recommends that students review the Topic List, Blueprint, and Core Tasks and Objectives in conjunction when preparing for the exam.

Guiding Principles

Several cross-cutting criteria guide the development of PAEA’s End of Curriculum exam. The goal of these ideals is to assist the exam development team in ensuring that the exam, to the extent a multiple-choice exam can, evaluates a wide breadth of dimensions critical to a PA student’s preparation. The purpose of this exam is to assess a PA student’s general medical knowledge as one component of their readiness for graduation. It is designed to complement other tools that assess core medical knowledge as well as interpersonal skills, patient care skills, and professionalism, as required by accreditation standards.

  • The End of Curriculum exam blueprint has dimensions that include, but are not restricted to: life course (with specific targets for questions referencing Pediatric, Adult, and Geriatric patients).
  • The exam is inclusive of the types of patient students may see across different settings. The settings include specific targets for questions in the Outpatient, Inpatient, Emergency Department, and Perioperative settings.
  • The exam targets the following stages of the life course: Pediatric (birth to age 17), Adult, and Geriatric (older person with considerable impairment or frailty).
  • This exam employs the principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy to ensure that examinees who pass the exam have demonstrated a thorough mastery of the content.
  • The End of Curriculum exam assesses how one undertakes the types of cases PAs may see: how one gathers patient information, develops and implements a patient plan, provides preventative health education and service, and applies the scientific evidence to patient care.
  • Questions reflect topics in broad categories and do not necessarily indicate a greater importance or emphasis on that area in the exam.
  • Questions are geared toward a PA student who has completed the relevant supervised clinical practice experience.

  • Questions are typically presented in vignette format so the exams can better assess problem-solving and critical thinking.
  • The End of Curriculum exam contains 300 questions (250 scored) and should be delivered in the last four months of PA education.
  • The End of Curriculum exam contains five 60-question sections.
  • The exam is 5 hours long and scheduled for 1 day.
  • ADA accommodations for time are available. These exams must be given over two days, with no more than seven days between parts. Each day’s part includes five 30-question sections.

  • The End of Curriculum exam is intended to be used as one component of the summative evaluation of a student’s readiness for graduation.
  • End of Curriculum exams are delivered in the PAEA Assessment Center.
  • End of Curriculum exams must be actively proctored.
    • Security: The PAEA End of Curriculum exam must be proctored in person–the use of remote proctors is strictly prohibited for this exam. The PAEA End of Curriculum exam must be administered using PAEA’s selected lockdown browser, SecureClient.
    • Graduation/Completion Date: The PAEA End of Curriculum exam must be delivered within the final four months of the program. Programs will not be able to schedule the exam before this point, so it is important to ensure that the graduation/completion date is accurate in ExamDriver.
    • Program Director Attestation: The Program Director must truthfully complete the below Attestation of Eligibility prior to requesting to schedule the PAEA End of Curriculum exam.
    • For more information on requirements, read the PAEA Assessment Exam Policies. If your program would like to administer the End of Curriculum exam, the Program Director must complete this attestation that you will meet the requirements.
  • The exam has a set time of five hours with a 10-minute break between sections.
  • Exam items are peer-reviewed and statistically validated for accuracy and consistency.
  • Items are randomized for each student administration, within each section of the exam, and form assignments are randomized within each cohort to ensure exam security.
  • Scores are reported in a way that allows students and programs to see where students fall compared to other PA students taking the same standardized exam nationwide.

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