Unofficial Online CPC Exam FAQ

The AAPC is now offering Online CPC® Exam Testing with their partner, Examity. With this new 2020 announcement has come many questions, concerns, and experiences. We’ve been listening to our student feedback closely and we’ve put together this unofficial AAPC Online CPC® Exam FAQ so examinees can get some answers to questions that do not appear in the official AAPC FAQ. We also have a long discussion thread about exam experiences inside the CCO Community.

AAPC Online Exam Requirements and Instructions
This AAPC Video Explains the Online Exam Requirements and Instructions

What Is The Online CPC® Exam Webcam Setup Like?

Online CPC Exam Webcam Setup

One examinee wrote:

“I needed to present my ID both times and they needed me to scan the room to ensure no cheating or other folks were in the room etc. You will need an external camera (I purchased mine from amazon for 30 bucks and I returned it, so you’re not stuck with it). My proctors did not scan my manuals, only asked for me to flip through it to ensure there were no loose notes etc. And no, you cannot leave your seat, you must stay seated the entire time of the test. The check-in time overall was like 15 min or so.”

Another examinee said:

“Took mine today. Be sure to account for at least an hour of pre-setup (camera position) question verification etc. ( Make sure you schedule part 2 at least 1:30 after the end of your 1st) Also dual monitors are not allowed! Be prepared to sit scrunched in a small area so they can see your face and screen the whole time. They ended up having me put the webcam on a table behind me at an angle so they could see the screen and my face. Be prepared to have things to stack it on to adjust the height. Glad to have had the opportunity to take the test but it was a rough setup and physically restricting.”

So to clarify further, you will be required to use an external webcam that can be placed to show:

  • Your face
  • Your hands
  • Your keyboard
  • The area surrounding your keyboard (about 10 inches)

So when they say “external”, they mean a USB webcam that is connected to your PC/Laptop via a cable and capable of being moved around to show everything. If you plan on using your laptop’s built-in webcam, that will not be accepted per their requirements. You also cannot use an iPhone, iPad or smartphone as an external camera. Everything I’m reading clearly points towards a USB webcam that connects to the same computer where you will be testing. Make sure you have items available (books) to raise the webcam if requested by the proctor. Here is a webcam one of our students used. You can read her post here.

Also, based on the requirements above, make sure the webcam has a wide-angle and a long cable (at least 6 feet) so you can position it behind or beside you to avoid the “scrunched” experience other students mentioned. If you have a webcam with a short cable, USB extension cables are useful to place cameras further away. As for webcam quality, YouTube is very helpful in seeing what real webcam angles and quality are actually like. Here is one such helpful review.

One last thing, it seems like Examity uses Zoom during the online CPC® exam to keep an eye on you and record the session for quality control.

Will Technical Setup Take Time Away From My Exam?

No, the amount of time required to get set up for the exam does not count or use up your total exam minutes for that session. So don’t let the set up portion stress you out or frustrate you.

One student reported that you must be an Administrator and have Administrator permissions on your computer to pass the technical setup. DO NOT attempt to test on a non-Administrator account. It will not work according to their experience. To see if you’re an Administrator, follow the steps in this article. If you’re using a loaned PC from a job, school, etc, you are most likely NOT an Administrator on that machine.

Can I Use a Dual Monitor, Chromebook, iPad/Tablet or Other Smart Device?

No, no, no, and no. Only single monitors are allowed and anything that is not a Windows/Mac laptop or desktop will not work with Examity.

Do I Need to Bring a Timer?

No. A timer and the number of questions you have left will be displayed throughout the exam on screen. There is no need for an external timer.

You can see an example timer below.

Can I Bring a Printed Version of the ICD-10 Guidelines into the Online CPC® exam?

No, you cannot. The AAPC has stated in a Facebook video on September 10, 2020 the following:

So no additional paper is allowed in the exam. I’m being asked if you can print out the guidelines. The answer to that is “no” those are available in your ICD-10 codebook. So the only thing you will be permitted to have in the online exam are the physical codebooks and a white dry-erase board that you can use for process of elimination.

Can I Skip Questions and Return To Them Later?

You can skip questions and return to them in the same session. You cannot return to a question from a different session, meaning the questions you skip in Part 1 pertains to Part 1 A only – you cannot go back to Part if you are currently taking questions from Part 2. You can also jump directly to any question using a navigation box. An example is shown below.

How Many Questions Are In The Online CPC® Exam? How Many Sessions or Days Is It?

The exam has been split into two parts with a maximum time limit of 2 hours and 45 minutes per part. The two exam parts can be scheduled on the same day at different times or on different days if you prefer. The first session, you will receive ~75 questions. The second session, you will receive the remaining ~75 questions. It might be split into 74/76 or 76/74 questions from what we’ve gathered.

What Is The Order Of The Questions? How Is The Online CPC® Exam Split Up?

The AAPC refuses to release this information in order to maintain exam integrity. We’ve also read conflicting stories online.

One person on Reddit said…

“the questions follow the sections in the book in order. I’ve never taken the in person exam, but according to break down of the questions on the AAPC website, it follows that for the most part.”

But another student wrote…

“it’s a healthy mix per session. Just think of the AAPC breakdown of the exam and divide it by 2. Not unequal at all.”

So we are not 100% positive on exactly how questions are being ordered during each session.

Will Any Remaining Time From Part 1 ‘Roll Over’ to Part 2?

The AAPC has made it clear that any leftover time from Part 1 will NOT be rolled over to Part 2. So the CPC® exam doesn’t work like your 2005 cell phone plan. 😉

Can I Use the Bathroom During the Online CPC® Exam?

No, you cannot leave the desk for any reason and no one can enter the room, either. You must always be in view of your webcam so please make sure you plan ahead accordingly (NO Taco Bell)!

How Many Attempts Are Allowed?

One. Uno. Eins. Un. No more. The AAPC said the price is slightly reduced from the traditional in-person CPC® Exam since only one attempt is allowed.

What If I Am Disabled or Have a ADA Disability?

If you have a ADA disability, you can contact the AAPC to let them know. Disabled examinees receive 30 extra minutes per session for a total of 1 extra hour.

What Happens If I Have A Poor Exam Experience or Proctor?

The AAPC has recordings of all online CPC® exam sessions. You can contact AAPC Customer Service after you complete the exam and they will review the footage and investigate any issues.

How Do I Get A Detailed Exam Score Breakdown?

If you email the AAPC Customer Service team, they can provide you with a breakdown of your performance in the various categories. You will not be able to get more detail than what is shown in the example report below.

CPC Exam Score Breakdown Report

15 thoughts on “Unofficial Online CPC Exam FAQ”

  1. Hi.i would like to ask about the number of attempts allowed for online exam.i tried searching but im not seeing a clear answer…it says only 1.does that really mean that if i fail on my first attempt theres no more chance at all to retake it?no other way?maybe retake in person exam?or maybe i can pay again?

  2. Does anyone know how far out I can schedule the online exam? I know the in person right now is 4-6 weeks for the earliest exam. I just wanted to see if I need to schedule immediately if I want to take the online exam a month from now.

  3. I just took the exam and there was no capacity to go back to a question once you went forward.

    In addition, THE PROCTORS on both parts (2 days I took mine) – they took control of my mouse / screen During the test .. and it distracted me. and literally – I had to yell at them 5X during the exam b/c they were moving the pointer from where my first instinct was – (ie: I put pointer where I wanted to reference) – I then had to go back and re-read the cases, etc. THEY WERE AWFUL!

    I also.. accidentally hit the wrong button on the first part, and there was NO confirmation of ending the test option. The Proctor was rude, and I ended up throwing away 7 questions. On the 2nd part, when I ended – there was the capacity to go back. They are cutting corners on these proctors from over seas…. that was the worst part of the experience. I have 4 National Boards, a State Board, Federal ME …this was the WORST testing experience I have ever experienced.

    Just my story.

    • Wow! Those are some concerning events, G! Hopefully this poor experience won’t impact your score. You should definitely report the experience to the AAPC, however, to let them know. They record all the sessions and can review them for issues like yours.


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