A number of preparation materials for Certified Professional Coding exam are available with the AAPC. Though they are available through the AAPC’s website, they are very expensive. You can also learn everything you need to pass the CPC exam in a coding course at a university or institute. And there is a need to purchase the AAPC’s training materials if you are out of practice.
Here are few tips for preparing CPC exam
The CPC exam has many topics and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed in the preparation stages. Following are the few ways to cope with this intimidating exam:
During the exam, you need to spend most of your time with the CPT manual. Though there are some questions on ICD-10-CM codes and HCPCS, there are more questions that relate to the CPT code set, so focus your study efforts there. You need to also have the knowledge back to front, and be comfortable navigating it and also use its numerous appendices. There are many people who take the exam only after they work for a while in medical coding. Remember that to be certified, the CPC needs a passing score and two years of professional experience. If you have already gathered that experience you may be relatively familiar with medical terminology and anatomy and physiology. But then it is best to brush up with the information through the review courses.
There will be various questions in the exam that have reference to medical or anatomical terminology, but if you have a strong medical vocabulary will help you in deciphering other questions too.
Taking the Exam
While you take the CPC exam, you can bring along each of the code manuals (the ICD, CPT, and HCPCS manuals). You can make notes in the margins of these manuals, but these notes cannot have any test specific information.
On your code manuals, you can mark the most important or frequently used sections. As CPT manual comes with a number of tabs you can place in the book to mark certain important places. While you take the CPC exam, you may be asked to perform as if you were coding at your regular coding job, so all you need to do is set up your manual in a way that makes the most sense to you.
The CPC exam is almost for six hours and consists of 150 questions. Hence it is good to break things down so that they are very manageable. You can separate the questions into various blocks of time, and then start working on one block of questions for a fixed amount of time before starting the next. For example, the entire CPC exam can be divided into five groups of 30 questions. You can allot one hour for every thirty questions.
Understand Your Goals
Always keep in mind that If you want to pass the CPC exam, all you need to get is 70% or better. The lengthy, multi-part questions that make you look up three, four or five codes are worth the same as the general knowledge questions. In case, you are stuck with one question, you can always come back to it later. You should remember that while you take the test, you get 35 questions wrong. You need not waste a lot of time on a question that’s totally confusing you. All you need to do is move on to another question and try with easier, less intensive questions.
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