PANCE: What to Know About Computerized Testing
From a testing organization’s viewpoint, computer-based testing (CBT) offers many advantages: it can occur year-round at thousands of sites; each test site offers standard testing conditions concerning computer equipment used and rules governing the behavior and monitoring of examinees; and examinees usually receive score reports within 2 to 4 weeks of their test date.
The PANCE and PANRE examinations are administered as CBTs at Pearson VUE Test Centers in all 50 U.S. states and at selected locations outside the United States. Typically, within 48 hours of when you receive notification from the NCCPA of your eligibility window, Pearson VUE will also have your eligibility verification, allowing you to go to their website and arrange a test date.
What To Do On Test Day
Know Where You’re Going
Plan to arrive at the test center 30 minutes before your scheduled test appointment to allow time for verification of your credentials and any site-specific introductory information. If you are unfamiliar with the location of the test center, it may be wise to do a scouting run before test day.
The NCCPA will inform you what to bring and what to expect on your test day when you are notified of your eligibility window. Make sure you bring 2 forms of identification: a primary identification, which contains a permanently affixed photo of the examinee, along with the examinee’s preprinted name and signature (for example: driver’s license, passport, military identification, student ID, or state-issued identification), and a secondary identification, which contains the examinee’s preprinted name and signature (for example: driver’s license, military identification, student ID, employee ID, social security card, or credit card); or 2 forms of primary identification.
Test Day Tip
It is recommended that you take breaks only at designated times. The time clock will not be stopped if you leave the testing room during unofficial breaks.
Inside the Testing Area
It is advisable to dress in layers on test day so that you can adjust easily to the testing area temperature. All center locations have storage lockers for personal items; you will be allowed to carry nothing into the examination area.
Food and beverages are not allowed in the testing rooms. You can leave the testing area to get a drink, take medications, or use the restroom, but the time clock does not stop when you are away from your computer, except at designated break times.
Break time is allowed after each 60-minute test block—four breaks overall—but the examinee must decide how long a break to take and must stay within the 45-minute total break time allotted for the whole test day. Examinees are required to scan their finger or palm when leaving or reentering the testing area.
No scratch paper is allowed in the testing rooms. You will be provided with erasable markers and marker boards to use. The testing rooms are monitored, both electronically and by proctors who walk through the test areas periodically. Once you are brought to the test carrel designated for your use, center staff will start your testing software. If there is a hardware or software problem, immediately notify center staff so that they can correct the problem and so that you will not lose valuable test response data or testing time.
Although center policies are designed to provide all examinees with a comfortable test area equipped with functioning equipment and a reasonably quiet environment, do not expect a soundproof cubicle. Other types of exams are being given and other examinees may be taking breaks; therefore, expect some background noise.
What to Bring
- Two forms of photo identification (driver’s license, a passport, military identification, or an employee identification card)
- Layers of clothing (in case you get too cold or warm)
- Snacks for the break (to leave in storage locker)
What Not to Bring
- Food and beverages inside the testing room
- Scratch paper (erasable marker boards will be provided)
- Other personal belongings
To ensure exam security, you will receive one of several versions of the exam, which vary slightly in difficulty. If you receive one of the more difficult versions, then a slightly lower percent correct will be required to pass. If you receive a slightly easier version, then a slightly higher percent correct will be required to pass. Once you complete the examination, results are normally available within 2 weeks of your test date.
Test Delivery Software
Select answers in either of two ways:
1. Position the cursor over the radio button (the circle) for a choice, and then click the mouse, which will darken the radio button for that selection.
2. Use the keyboard to press the letter corresponding to your choice, and the radio button will darken.
To change your answer using the mouse, just click on the marked radio button (shaded circle), and the mark will disappear. Then you can select another answer choice. To change an answer using the keyboard, simply type the letter of your new selection and the corresponding radio button will be marked.
Test items may contain a variety of material for reference in answering, such as colored photographs, graphs, diagrams, and other reference material. At all times during a test block, time remaining is shown in the upper right corner of the test screen. By clicking on that area, you can open a window showing the item number of the block you are viewing, as well as the minutes and seconds remaining for all test blocks in your testing session.
The following feature buttons are continually visible onscreen:
Next button: lower left corner of the screen
Previous button: to the right of the Next button
Item Review button: center, to the right of the Previous button
Help button: lower right corner of the screen
Mark box: upper left area of the screen
PANCE testing sessions are scored immediately, and results are normally posted to your online personal certification record within 2 weeks of your test appointment. The NCCPA no longer publishes the percentage correct required to pass the exam.
Should an emergency or illness prevent you from keeping your test appointment, you may be allowed to arrange an alternate test appointment either by visiting the Pearson VUE website (www.pearsonvue.com) or, in some cases, by calling the specific center you were scheduled to use. With reasonable advance notice, they will try to accommodate your need for a new appointment time, providing that the date you want falls within the testing eligibility window you received from the NCCPA and that the test site has testing slots available within that eligibility period.
Testing Center Policies
Before beginning your examination, you will be asked to read and sign a statement of test center regulations, which lays out behaviors that violate testing policies. Within this statement is a promise that you will not share or discuss questions with anyone else, talk to other examinees, or bring any unauthorized items into the testing area. Violation of any of the policies and regulations will cause the violator’s examinations to be invalidated. Testing areas are continuously monitored by center staff, and your testing session may be recorded on video.