The CPC exam is a type of exam conducted by the AAPC for the candidates in the field of medical coding and health care industry. It is a credential exam by which the candidates who passes the exam will earn the credential of certified medical coder. In order to pass this AAPC’s CPC exam you must score 70% or more out of 150 questions. This exam doesn’t need a lot of memorization instead it is all about how to find the best answers for that it needs knowledge about medical coding and time management skills. Before registering your CPC exams i would like to give some tips and tricks for the candidates who are about to take their CPC exams
Before going to the tips these are classified into two categories they are Tips before the day of the exam and during the exam
Before the Exam
Things which you should do before the day of the exam
During the Exam
Things that you should do inside the exam hall
Before the Exam
Verify the exam timings and the location of the exam prior to the day of the examination. Reach the exam location before 10-15 mins before the exam to avoid pressure. If you are unfamiliar with the location of the exam try mapping your driving location in advance to avoid late attendance due to traffic or other reasons.
Before attending the exam try to figure out what are the things that you need during the exams. Things like Photo ID, Pencils, Erasers, Member ID, Coding manuals are necessary for the exam so it is very important to take/buy those with you a day prior to the exam. And if you are very sensitive to Noise bring earplugs to avoid distraction.
For every candidates a good night sleep is a must for them. Most of the candidates perform better after a good night sleep. We don’t recommend students to study on late night before the day of the exam.
During the morning of the exam eat a healthy breakfast. The breakfast should not be heavy eat something which is light and healthy. Bring some light snacks if you are a person with certain medical conditions. Bring some water and some candies to keep you energized and be alert.
Be aware of all the parts in your code books CPT, ICD-10 and HCPCS code books. Learn more on how to identify the codes, Instructions, Tables, Guidelines, quickly and correctly. A Successful coder/candidates will have a well known knowledge of their code books. These are the most important tips that we can give before the day of the exam.
before you think of writing CPC exam you should invest some money in a good quality training center with excellent track record on CPC exams. Get training from them practice the mock test set timers when you take the practice exams to get used to the timing. Get advice from the trainers and practice more on subjects which are tougher to you.
During the Exam
You have to keep in mind that you need at least 70% out of 150 questions to clear your CPC exams which means that you can miss 45 questions. This means that you have to answer the known questions first. This will also helps you to build confidence as you go through the exams and leave the harder questions and answer it later when you have time.
Listen to the instruction given by the Invigilator in the exam hall. If you have any doubt regarding the instructions or the exam don’t hesitate to ask the invigilator before the exam starts. Be careful when marking the answers on your answer sheets. Be confident when filling the bubbles or test grid in the answer sheet re ensure your answers when filling. Because exams are machine graded so to ensure an accurate score the bubbles must be filled out.
Before answering set yourself a target to answer at least 30 questions an hour. Which chapter has to take first is important don’t take all tough chapters together divide each hour equally with all types of questions follow as per below
1st Hour: Take Integumentary system, Musculoskeletal system and E/M which contains 30 questions.
2nd Hour: Take Digestive system, urinary system, anesthesia which has around 28 questions
3rd Hour: Take anatomy, M.T, HCPCS, coding guidelines and medical billing which has 32 questions.
4th Hour: Take nervous system, radiology and pathology which contains 30 questions
5th Hour: Take cardiovascular system, medicine and ICD-10 CM which has 30 question
You should complete your exam within 5 hours and the rest 45 minutes for rewinding the doubted questions
If you don’t know the answers correctly then try to eliminate the wrong answers for tough questions you don’t know the answer. By this way we can have a higher chance of selecting the correct answer. Don’t be panic stay calm through out the exam. Remember that you can have some wrong answers you cannot be always correct.
Remember you have 5 hours 40 minutes for the exam use that time wisely crack the correct codes as soon as possible. Try to finish the exam before the given time. If you finish the exam before the allotted time use that time by reviewing your answers for the question that you are not very sure about use your code books to confirm your answers.
Be extremely careful for the questions which contains words like “most, except, greatest, least, not” These words may be tricky in your exam so be extra careful when dealing with this types of questions and answer them correctly.
Some questions will directly give answers away with modifiers so watch for ” discontinued procedure, post-surgical complications, staged procedure, etc.” ICD diagnosis codes can also helps in eliminating procedure codes that you are not sure about
In the ICD section be confident in the convention of the codes such as poisoning, HIV, late effects, radiation treatments, hypertension, fetal, maternal, infection codes, etc. Highlight all of those coding conventions for quick answers and to manage time.
In case if you don’t know some of terminology codes look for the word in the back of the CPT code description. Also be aware when reading some of the questions that answers other questions.
Always know what your motives are for taking CPC exam be bold and confident and remember the employers were only concerned about the credential that you earned not the length of time or the number of exams it took to clear the exams.
The CPC exam is all about your knowledge on how to find the best answers in the quickest amount of time possible and not about how you memorize the codes. So study on how to find the correct codes quickly rather than memorizing the codes. So clear your CPC exams and become a Certified medical coder to get more job opportunities in healthcare industry.