Study and Testing Tips for Online Medical Billing Students

As a medical billing instructor, I am frequently asked for the best methods of studying when enrolled in an online training program. Obviously, all online medical billing training programs are different, but most will contain a textbook and an online component.  There are certain concepts in medical billing that may require a bit of extra study.  When reviewing the AAPC’s mock medical billing exam, I noticed some questions that contained modifiers.  I do suggest to my medical billing students to create flash cards listing the most frequently used modifiers and study them.

Study and Testing Tips for Online Medical Billing Students

Also, keeping a notebook of medical billing terms can be helpful, especially if you are new to the field.   I recommend to my students when reading their textbook to highlight key words, terms, or thoughts. Sometimes it’s difficult for a student to know what is “truly important” and what is “additional” information.  My advice is that when highlighting your text, ask yourself, “Does this sound like it could be a test question?” If so, highlight it. Also, highlight words or terms in bold-faced type.  One way to help “retain” information is to make it useful to you. Reading articles online medical billing, issues in the medical billing field, etc. can help a student conceptualize material they are learning in their course in terms of real-world involvement. For example, if you are learning about compliance and auditing in your textbook or online material, seek articles online about compliance and auditing.  Many online courses offer open-book tests since the tests are not usually proctored.  If this is an option for you, a great testing tip is to learn to use the Index of your textbook to locate key terms in the test question. This helps you to find answers quickly.  The last tip that I give my students is to read each chapter twice. The first time is to read slowly and carefully while highlighting and taking notes. The second time you read the chapter, read it like an interesting novel by sitting back and just reading without worrying so much about what you are retaining of it.  Older adults newer to the “online” world of learning may find it more difficult to retain information they read online rather than from a textbook. I fell into this category myself when taking courses that had online content only.

There are a couple of ways that I have found to overcome this issue. One is to copy/paste the material (if you are allowed to do so) into a MS Word document. Then read it and use the highlighting feature to highlight key points.  Another helpful idea is to hand write notes as you go through your online course on items that you feel are “very important” or that could be test questions.  The idea is to hand write the notes, then type them up, and print them out. Once printed, you can highlight the most important material in your notes.


By: Dawn Moreno, PhD, CBCS, CMAA, MTC. Lives in the beautiful Southwest United States and has been an instructor for medical coding/billing for the past 7 years.  Interested in quality medical billing training? Click here for More Tips on Medical Billing

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