PA-CAT®  FAQs for Programs


1. What is the PA-CAT?

The Physician Assistant College Admission Test (PA-CAT) is a comprehensive standardized assessment comprising 240 multiple-choice questions. It serves as a targeted examination specifically tailored to evaluate the prerequisite subjects commonly required for admission into various Physician Assistant (PA) programs.

These 240 test items have been meticulously developed and extensively reviewed by subject matter experts and seasoned PA educators. The aim is to ensure that the PA-CAT effectively assesses a candidate's proficiency in fundamental subjects essential for success within PA programs.

The content covered in the PA-CAT aligns with the crucial academic areas considered vital by many PA programs during their admission process. Aspiring PA students can expect the examination to encompass key subjects essential for their educational journey in the field of healthcare.

In essence, the PA-CAT stands as a robust evaluation tool meticulously crafted to gauge applicants' knowledge and understanding in the prerequisite subjects required by numerous PA programs across the academic landscape.

2. When and where is the PA-CAT exam available?

Registration for the PA-CAT is currently available at The test itself is conveniently delivered through electronic means, providing flexibility and accessibility to applicants.

With over 5,000 Prometric testing centers situated across North America, candidates have the option to choose a location that best suits their convenience. These testing centers ensure a secure and controlled environment for the administration of the PA-CAT, offering a standardized setting for all test-takers.

Furthermore, for added convenience and flexibility, the PA-CAT is also available via Prometric’s Live Remote Proctor. This remote proctoring option enables candidates to take the test remotely, providing the same level of security and integrity as the in-person testing experience. It allows applicants to sit for the examination from the comfort of their own space, provided they meet the technical requirements and adhere to the designated guidelines for remote proctoring.

3. What is the cost of the PA-CAT exam?

The total cost for the PA-CAT exam is $228, encompassing both the examination fee and the associated charges for utilizing the test center or remote proctor services.

This comprehensive fee covers all expenses related to the examination process, ensuring transparency and convenience for candidates. Whether taking the test at a physical Prometric testing center or opting for the remote proctoring option through Prometric’s Live Remote Proctor, the $228 fee encompasses these services.

The inclusive nature of this fee structure simplifies the payment process for applicants, eliminating any additional or hidden costs associated with the administration of the PA-CAT. It ensures that candidates have a clear understanding of the financial commitment required for participating in the examination, providing a seamless experience throughout the registration and testing phases.

Program Implementation

4. How do we incorporate the PA-CAT exam into our admissions requirements?

Many Physician Assistant (PA) programs have integrated the outcomes reporting from the PA-CAT exam as an integral part of their comprehensive admissions procedures. The data obtained from PA-CAT outcomes plays a significant role in identifying candidates who exhibit strong academic preparedness for PA school.

During the 2022-23 cycle, many PA programs have opted to "recommend" rather than "require" that applicants take the PA-CAT exam. This shift allows for a transitional phase for both the programs and the candidates, offering flexibility and adaptation to the evolving landscape of admissions criteria.

Admissions teams leverage PA-CAT scores in diverse ways to assess candidates' suitability for admission:

1. Weighted incorporation: PA-CAT scores are assigned weightage and integrated into admissions rubrics, contributing to an overall profile evaluation of a candidate's suitability for admission.

2. Identifying academic potential: Programs utilize PA-CAT scores to pinpoint candidates who might have weaker academic backgrounds. Through the PA-CAT, these applicants can demonstrate a solid foundational understanding of basic sciences crucial for success in PA school.

3. Retrospective analysis: PA programs retrospectively review PA-CAT data for newly admitted students. This analysis helps in evaluating the reliability of their admissions process, aiming to enhance the accuracy of candidate selection in the future.

For further guidance or inquiries regarding the implementation of the PA-CAT in admissions procedures, please reach out to [email protected]. Our team of PA-CAT implementation specialists is available to schedule a conversation and provide assistance tailored to your program's needs.

5. When do we need to notify applicants of our use of the PA-CAT?

Announcing whether your program requires or recommends the PA-CAT exam is a decision that hinges on your program's specific application timeline and admissions policies. The determination of whether the PA-CAT is a requirement or a recommendation is contingent upon various factors inherent to your program's unique approach to admissions and its specific timeline for accepting applications.

We understand that each program operates under distinct parameters and considerations when shaping its admissions criteria. To provide guidance or clarity on integrating the PA-CAT exam into your program's admissions process, we encourage you to reach out to us at [email protected].

By contacting us, you'll have access to our team of PA-CAT implementation specialists who can engage in a tailored conversation suited to your program's needs. They will assist you in navigating the decision-making process and determining the most suitable approach for integrating the PA-CAT exam into your program's admissions policies and timeline.

We recognize the importance of aligning the use of the PA-CAT with your program's specific objectives and requirements. Our team is here to support you in making informed decisions that best suit the goals and dynamics of your PA program.

User Registration and Scheduling

6. When and how do applicants register?

The PA-CAT registration process commences by candidates submitting their registration to take the exam through This initial step creates their individual candidate portal, granting access to a comprehensive array of essential study resources essential for effective exam preparation.

When candidates feel adequately prepared and poised to schedule their PA-CAT exam, they can seamlessly navigate to their Candidate Portal. Within this portal, they can proceed to purchase an exam eligibility—a crucial prerequisite for scheduling the exam.

Once candidates have obtained their exam eligibility number via email, they can proceed to schedule their test day and time with Prometric, the authorized testing provider for the PA-CAT. This eligibility number serves as confirmation of their eligibility to take the PA-CAT exam and is necessary to select a suitable exam appointment.

7. Where is the exam administered?

The PA-CAT offers candidates the flexibility to take the exam in two distinct formats. Firstly, candidates can opt to take the PA-CAT at any of the 5,000 Prometric testing centers conveniently located across North America. These established testing centers provide a controlled and secure environment for candidates to sit for the exam.

Secondly, for added convenience and accessibility, candidates have the option to take the PA-CAT via Prometric’s Live Remote Proctor. This remote proctoring option enables candidates to complete the exam remotely, utilizing their own computer and a secure internet connection while being monitored by a live proctor. This remote option maintains the same level of security and integrity as an in-person testing experience, allowing candidates the flexibility to take the exam from the comfort of their preferred location.


8. What does the PA-CAT exam cover?

The PA-CAT is designed as a focused examination of the prerequisite subjects of many PA programs’ admission requirements. The subjects covered on the PA-CAT are Anatomy, Physiology, General Biology, Biochemistry, General and Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Behavioral Sciences, Genetics, and Statistics. Test items were developed and reviewed by subject matter experts and PA educators, mapped to the cognitive domains of Bloom’s taxonomy for deeper candidate assessment: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.

For more detail on what is covered on the PA-CAT, visit the official PA-CAT website:


9. How long is the PA-CAT exam?

The PA-CAT comprises 240 multiple-choice questions designed to assess candidates' knowledge across various subjects. The exam duration is 4.5 hours, encompassing the time for the exam itself, instructional tutorials, and a post-exam survey. This comprehensive timeframe ensures candidates have ample time to navigate through the exam content, access necessary tutorials, and provide feedback post-assessment.

For candidates approved for Special Accommodations, tailored provisions are available to accommodate their specific needs during the exam.


10. How has the PA-CAT Exam been tested and validated?

To learn more about the research data, please go to

Test Score

11. When will the scores for the PA-CAT exam be reported?

Our scoring system for the PA-CAT operates on a monthly basis, processing scores on the 20th of each month. Subsequently, both PA Programs and candidates will receive their official scores through an online portal by the 1st of the following month.

Within your dedicated score portal, you will find a comprehensive list of all candidates who have chosen your school as a recipient of their scores. Additionally, this portal offers the functionality to view a candidate's score history for up to 2 years if they have taken the exam multiple times.

Candidates are permitted to take the PA-CAT up to three times within a 12-month period, with a minimum gap of 6 weeks required between each attempt. This structure allows candidates the opportunity for improvement while maintaining a fair and regulated testing schedule.

If your program does not yet have access to the PA-CAT Score Portal, please email [email protected] and one of our PA-CAT implementation specialists will be in touch with you to schedule a time for a conversation.

12. What are the passing standards? How are scores determined for the PA-CAT exam?

The PA-CAT does not adhere to a pass/fail scoring system. Instead, PA programs incorporating the PA-CAT into their holistic admissions process will receive a comprehensive breakdown of candidate scores, including:

1. Candidate Scaled Score for the overall PA-CAT exam.
2. Candidate Scaled Score for specific areas such as Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, and Chemistry.
3. Candidate Percentile Ranking, showcasing the candidate's standing in comparison to others who have taken the exam.
4. Candidate Score History, available for up to 2 years, if the candidate has attempted the exam multiple times. This history provides insight into a candidate's progress and performance over time in the PA-CAT assessment.

If you or your program have any additional question, please email [email protected] and our implementation specialist will be in touch.