Coding Certification “CPC Exam” Time Management Tips
I’ve been teaching medical coding and preparing students for coding certification since 1999. Many coding certification prospects that have come to my review class have said they took a medical coding course, attended a coding certification boot camp etc. and still did not pass the CPC exam. For those students it is no longer a matter of studying – it is about how they take the test.
For the CPC exam (Certified Professional Coder) sponsored by the AAPC (AAPC) you will have to pass a 150 question exam in 5 hours 40 minutes.. The CPC exam is pass/fail – not about getting an A. Therefore you need to make sure you go through the CPC exam several times so you can answer the easier questions quickly and leave the more difficult ones for last.
Coding Certification (CPC Exam) Time Management Strategy
Coding Certification Exam Method 1: Multiple Passes
Answering an easy peasy medical terminology question carries as much weight as a time consuming surgical question. Your goal with this method is to go through the exam three times. The first time you answer all of the easy questions first, the second time you focus on the medium difficulty ones and the third time you answer the difficult ones.
Coding Certification Exam Method 2: One Dot – Two Dot Rating
As you go through your CPC exam booklet rate questions you’ve started to answer but decided to leave for later. In the margin of your exam grid put two dots if you feel it is a very hard, time consuming question, and one dot for a medium difficulty one. Don’t over think it – just go by your gut feeling. Now when it’s time for your second pass you just focus on the one dots – you don’t have to reassess the questions. And on the third pass – you guessed it – you are going to focus on the two dot questions.
Coding Certification Exam Method 3: Final Pass
Don’t leave any CPC exam questions unanswered. Use the last minutes to guess at an answer on any unanswered questions. You have a 25% chance of getting it right without even looking at the question. Of course if you’ve looked at the question and thrown out an answer or two indicate that on your answer grid so now you may have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right.
Alternative Coding Certification Time Management Strategy:
One Hour Per Column Timing
When you open your CPC exam you’ll find an answer grid with five columns containing 30 questions each. Allow yourself an hour for each column to keep yourself moving along. That will leave some time left over to review. You can ask the proctor to announce as each hour elapses. So when hour one is over and the announcement is made you finish the question you are on and move to the next column – so question 31. Yes you may have some unanswered questions in column one – that is ok – you will go back. The idea is to keep yourself moving.
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