We’ve recently had people express some specific concerns about taking the CPC exam. We’re here to help. The first step is to be prepared and medical coding education is a good place to start. It will provide you with the confidence that you need to sit for the exam. You will be armed with the necessary knowledge and ready to dive in like a pro. And, remember, it’s an open book exam, so as long as you have the proper medical coding training you will be in good shape.
Among concerns were: not having enough time to complete the test; the length of questions; and overall question comprehension. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing to take the CPC exam:
Online Medical Coding Courses on Test-Taking Fears:
- Plan ahead. Make sure you know where you are going and where the exam is being held a few days ahead of time. Know when the start time is. Do not cause yourself any unnecessary stress at the last minute. Arrive at least 15 minutes early and allow for traffic. Get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast.
- Confirm materials. Find out what items are allowed into the exam and gather them a few days ahead of time.
- Familiarize yourself with materials. Make sure that you are familiar with where to find certain sections within your medical coding books. Become familiar with all parts of your CPT, ICD-9-CM and HCPCS code books so you can quickly locate the codes, guidelines, tables and instructions. This will save time and, again, unnecessary stress.
- Scan the test. When you are instructed to begin, scan the whole test first. The AAPC suggests that you answer the easiest, shortest questions first – this gives you the experience of succeeding and stimulates associations.
- Pace yourself. The AAPC reports that test takers have an average of 2 minutes and 15 seconds to answer each question. Stay relaxed and you’ll finish.
- Read questions carefully. Pay particular attention to words in the questions such as “not, except, most, least and greatest.” The AAPC advises that these words are often crucial in determining the correct answer. However there are no “trick” questions.
- Answer all of the questions. If you don’t know the right answer, eliminate as many wrong ones as possible and then choose from the remaining ones. An educated guess is better than a blank response.
- Use time leftover. If you find that you actually finish with time leftover, don’t hand in your test right away. Use that time to review any questions you were unsure of by using code books again.
For specific time-management tips, visit: https://www.cco.us/coding-certification-articles-and-posts/aapc-cpc/medical-coding-certification-exam-time-management .