CPC Exam Layout and CPC Exam Tips Here is an answer to a question I answered on the AAPC discusion forum that I though would be helpful to the readers of this blog:


Hi, can somebody who has taken the cpc exam  tell me how many sections are in the exam with number of questions asked in each section ? I read in ‘tips' given by Laureen that there are 5 columns of 30 questions on answer grid? and all i know is there are 3 sections pertaining to surgery, E/M and radio-patho , ICD HCPCS medical terminology just want to know how the question booklet and answer grid will be?


They don't go by three sections any more. It is 150 questions overall and you need to get a 70% to pass. The AAPC doesn't provide the exact number of questions per category but it is estimated to be approximately 10 questions per general category. These are the categories for the CPC Exam per the AAPC page describing the exam with my comments in parentheses:

General CPC Exam Sections

1) Medical Terminology & Anatomy and Physiology
2) Coding Guidelines
3) ICD-10-CM (but you can find ICD codes in the answers for surgery questions too)
4) HCPCS Level II
5) Evaluation and Management
6) Anesthesia
7) Radiology
8) Pathology & Laboratory
9) Medicine
10) (10k Series) Integumentary
11) (20k Series) Musculoskeletal
12) (30k Series) Respiratory & (Cardiovascular – they don't list it but I know it's included) & Mediastinum & Diaphragm
13) (40k Series) Digestive
14 ) (50k Series) Urinary & Male/Female Genital & Maternity & Delivery
15) (60k Series) Endocrine & Nervous & Eye & Ocular Adnexa
16) Compliance and Regulatory

3 Main CPC Exam Tips

1) 80 Hour Coding Course or equivalent experience

2) Coding Certification Review Class (or videos)

3) Practice Exams – as many as your time and money budget will allow
   Free CCO Exam
CCO Mini Mock Exams
AAPC practice exams

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About the Author:

Laureen Jandroep
CPC, COC, CPPM, CPC-I.,Sr. Instructor for Resides in southern New Jersey with her husband of over 20 years Anthony and four children. They are active parents and spend most of their time these days just being parents which they love.


  1. Diane October 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    I’m so overwhelmed with information. I will finished with my medical coding class in a few weeks. I have taken medical terminology and biology at a local community college. Is A&P a course to consider taking also? I want to take the CPC exam, but do I need the on the job experience first? I’m sure you have answered these questions a million and one times, but I need some clarification on what I should do next.



    • Laureen
      Laureen October 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Diane – No you don’t need on the job experience to take the CPC exam. If you don’t have 2 years experience but you pass the exam you will be awarded the CPC-A designation. A stands for apprentice. Once you meet the two year experience requirement the “A” can be removed. If you took a medical terminology course you should be fie and don’t need to take a separate anatomy course. I mean you can’t help but learn anatomy when you learn medical terminology and vice versa right? I do recommend you get our review videos tho – it is designed just for someone like you. Took a course and now needs a review prior to taking the national exam. Best wishes! –Laureen

  2. Diane October 19, 2012 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Thank you Laureen.


  3. Rahab December 27, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Thank You Laureen You information help to me.

  4. Kamille August 25, 2013 at 12:24 am - Reply

    Hi, I have about a month to go before I finish my coding course. I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. I spend hours in these books and I still am very slow. I have the Blitz but don’t have time to watch them due to the baggage of other classes. The end of the year is nearing and I want to take the exam before we go into ICD-10. Do you think I’d pick up the pace if there wasn’t so much to stress about. How do you overcome the anxiety of taking the exam?

  5. devikamohan November 13, 2013 at 10:18 am - Reply

    hi ,i attended once my cpc exam ,bad luck i dint pass i got only 59 %,i am preparing again and will be taking the exam in next month ,but still not confident about my coding ,what should i do ?

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