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PA School Clinical Rotations: EOR Studying, Prep, and Tips!

Updated: Jan 8

Congrats, you made it through the hell that is didactic year in PA school. You're moving on to clinical rotations and you must be thinking... How do I prepare? How do I study? Here is what I did and how I prepared:

Preparation for Rotations:

  • Look at the office's website - If you're in a clinic then look at the website. A lot of times you can read the about section and see the different providers. You can learn about the services they offer. You can even get a feel of how the office will function and what kind of patients you will be seeing.

  • Send an email - Email your preceptor's a week before you start verifying the address, and the dress attire if you need to bring your laptop or any non-obvious material! This will ease your nerves if you already have knowledge of what to do come your first day!

  • Pack your bag - Include your stethoscope, a notebook that fits in your white coat, your lunch, a snack, water, ibuprofen (you never know when a headache will occur), and a lot of pens (ones that you won't care about getting stolen, cause your preceptors will forget to return them to you). Try to write down everyone's name on day 1. That way if you forget you can reference back and stand out for being attentive.

  • Attempt to lay out everything you need the night before. This will help you to have a smooth transition on your first day.

  • Studying - I honestly didn't do much studying for the upcoming rotation. You probably just got done with an EOR or back from a break (if this was your first rotation) and the motivation isn't high. If you're stressed about preceptors who "pimp" you (aka ask you questions) then I totally understand. However, my theory was I either know it or I don't. I found that a lot of questions I got wrong stuck with me much more than any of the ones I got right (probably because there is an embarrassing factor to missing a question). When I was feeling more comfortable in rotations I even asked preceptors to ask me questions telling them that it helped me learn and realize what I didn't know or needed improvement on.

  • Commuting - If you get very anxious about driving and parking situations, drive to your rotation the day before to get a feel for your commute and the parking situation!

  • Get excited and be eager - Some of the rotations I dreaded the most ended up being my favorite and vice versa! So go in with a positive attitude and make the best out of the situation. I am not going to lie and pretend that for a lot of rotations I felt like I was free labor and I wasn't doing much to further my education. With those rotations, ask questions, ask to see something you're interested in. If you're on a rotation that has a lot of procedures ask if you can perform or assist one. Rotations are what you make of them!

  • Try not to compare your rotations to others - I had a ton of rotations where I was doing the duties of a medical assistant and was not in the diagnosing and prescribing component of medicine. I would often find myself getting angry and thinking "so and so is doing this, so and so is doing that... or, I was an MA for 3 years before this, I know these things." Try to see what you can get out of this rotation and capitalize on that! Maybe you can learn a new EMR system, maybe you can perfect your phlebotomy skills, etc. And maybe your classmate's next rotation will be less hands-on and they will feel the same as you did.

  • Write a thank you card - Give your preceptors a thank you card and a little present (whether this is a box of donuts or nice soap you found at the farmers market, etc). Not only have they taken time out of their schedule to help you, but this will also help them to remember you come time to ask for a letter of rec later!

Studying for EORs:

  • Here are the resources I used in this order:

  1. Read Twist of Lemons Outlines: She capitalized on the PAEA blueprint ( and created FREE study guides that included every aspect of the PAEA blueprint list. - also if you haven't checked out her blog, please do. She is the sole influence on my creation of Izzieats!!

  2. Watch MedEd FREE Videos: I would often take notes on my Twist of Lemons outline to review later and to help follow along with the videos!

  3. Quiz myself with Rosh Review Questions: These questions are very accurate to the PANCE and the EOR standardized exams. You can even section off what rotation you're on and only get quizzed on that material. They provided explanations to all questions that further explain why you might have gotten a question wrong - upon getting a question wrong, I would mark so on my outlines to refer to later.

  4. Dr. High Yield Youtube Videos: I would watch this video 1-3 times the night before the exam drill in high-yield questions and testing points!

  • I'm the type of learner that has to see the material in tons of different ways so these 4 ways really would help me key in on which concepts I was still getting wrong and what I needed continued time on. I typically read the Twist of Lemons outline 2-4 times!

  • I tried to study 2-3 nights a week for the first weeks and then the week before the exam I really tried to study every night. I found my studying was most effective on weekends as I was exhausted after coming home from a day of work.

  • If you are an Anki Queen or King I have provided a Cumulative Rotation Deck that was provided to be by an upper classmate!! (I am not sure who the author of these is but they are very in-depth and another great resource)


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