It's not painful, but it will cause discomfort during the examination. I just had one last month, and all my ob did was insert a hand-held equipment
(Vaginal Speculae, also called Speculum) to widen the opening of the vagina so that the cervix can be examined. A plastic spatula and small brush are used to collect cells from the cervix. After the cells are taken, they are placed into a solution. The solution is sent to a lab for testing. The ob will usually let you know the result of the test, in 3 weeks time.
Here is a picture of Vaginal Speculae:
All women who are or who have been sexually active, or who have reached age 21, should have an annual Pap smear, especially those who have already given birth. It is your best tool to detect pre-cancerous conditions and hidden, small tumors that may lead to cervical cancer. If detected early, cervical cancer can be cured.