PA Student Tips for Challenge Bowl and AAPA 2020

Get Ready for Nashville!

January 27, 2020

Are you ready for 2020’s AAPA National Medical Challenge Bowl? It’s a high-energy medical game show where your PA program can win ultimate bragging rights and it’s part of AAPA 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. There’s a lot more to AAPA Conference than Challenge Bowl, though, and we want all PA students to be prepared for both the unique experience of attending AAPA Conference and getting on the Challenge Bowl stage with your PA program’s team!

Challenge Bowl 2019

Confirm your team meets the Challenge Bowl eligibility requirements
If you aren’t eligible, it doesn’t matter how much you know! Your team must have:

  • At least 75 percent of all PA students in the team’s PA program must be AAPA student members.
  • All team members must be AAPA student members currently enrolled in an accredited PA program that has a student society registered with AAPA.
  • Only one team member per team can be graduating within 30 days of competition.

Two Challenge Bowl requirements will be verified on-site in Nashville:

  • All team members must be registered for AAPA Conference.
  • The team’s Student Academy Representative must attend the Assembly of Representatives (AOR) Meeting held during AAPA Conference.

Registering for Challenge Bowl is not the same as registering for AAPA Conference. Your team captain or faculty advisor likely submitted your Challenge Bowl application, but you’ll need to make sure you, individually, are registered for AAPA Conference.

Sign up for the event
Sign up for Challenge Bowl between Feb. 1 – Feb. 29. Challenge Bowl teams will need to submit their team information during the month of February. You’ll need to determine your three team members and two (optional) alternates before you submit, and don’t forget: only one team member can be within 30 days of graduation on the day of Challenge Bowl.

Prepare for Challenge Bowl
Each PA program approaches Challenge Bowl in a different way. There is no one-size-fits-all template for Challenge Bowl success. But successful teams do practice and prepare throughout the year in anticipation of the big event. To give you some ideas on how to prepare, we gathered five tips for Challenge Bowl success and talked to Christopher Forest, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA, on the strategies the University of Southern California, 2018’s winning team, used to build a Challenge Bowl team.

Enjoy the student opportunities at AAPA 2020
AAPA 2020 is more than just the Challenge Bowl event. There are plenty of opportunities for students to network with other AAPA Conference attendees at the opening reception, PA Meet Ups, fitness classes, and even between CME sessions. Students are invited to attend the House of Delegates, where you can hear first-hand the discussions surrounding AAPA policies. And make sure to join the Student Academy for a professional skills and leadership training workshop covering issues critical to your transition from PA school to your first job. Topics will include salary negotiation, financial planning, the power of LinkedIn, and professional advocacy. The featured Leadership Panel will bring experience and expertise from a variety of leadership and career speakers who will share their personal journeys to illustrate the potential of your PA career.

Challenge Bowl
The night of the event, your three team members need to arrive at 5:30 p.m. for orientation. (Team members, alternates, and designated faculty will receive detailed instructions via email prior to the event.) Your team members will get a chance to practice answering questions with the Audience Response System (ARS) keypads and get themselves settled and ready. Make sure you eat dinner beforehand; you’ll be there for a few hours! Ask your spectators to arrive at 7 and encourage your supporters to come ready to cheer you on. You’ll see attendees in costumes, matching T-shirts, glow necklaces, light-up sunglasses, and even a few dressed up as mascots. The energy in the room is contagious, and it’s because everyone wants to see their team win Challenge Bowl!

After opening remarks, the competition starts. Usually about 100 teams participate, and four will make it on stage for the final round. Questions will get increasingly difficult, and the highest scoring teams will advance. There is also a wildcard round, where one team that was previously eliminated will become the fourth team in the final round, and will be back in the running to win the entire Challenge Bowl.

AAPA 2020 will be an incredible experience for PA students. We hope you’ll be able to join us, and we hope to see you at Challenge Bowl!

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