Tips for Taking the Medical Coding exam
Even if you have been working in medical coding for years its important to come up with a plan to study for any coding exam you plan on taking. Below are a few of the strategies I’ve used to pass my CPC exam, and I’m currently using to study ICD-10. I also have an expanded study guide and tips available if you sign up for my newsletter to the right.
- Review the website. If you are taking the CPC exam you should spend some serious time on aapc.com. The main reason I recommend this is that updates come frequently and if you’re talking to a friend who took the exam a couple months ago something may have changed. There are also frequent updates of what materials you can take into the exam. It would not be good to show up to a test only to be told your coding book is not on the approved list so you will not be able to use it.
- Make a study plan map. Go over all of the applicable topic areas covered on the exam and rank them in the order you are most familiar with the information. Review the material you are least familiar with first so you will have time to learn it. Do a brief review of everything including your strongest topics right before taking the exam.
- Take full advantage of tabbing your materials for the exam. This is my biggest trick and I think its one of the best ways to not only learn the codes, but also retain them. I cover this in more depth in my email, but basically I tab all materials that may be included in the exam and use abbreviations to keep everything clear in my mind.
As always when you are studying, or doing anything that requires concentration make sure you eat healthy, high protein meals and take breaks so you don’t lose focus. Personally I like to study in 3 hour blocks and then take an equal amount of time off to relax or get some exercise. I’ve seen a lot of products that claim to help you pass the CPC exam, such as weekend courses, study guides and books. I split a video course with a friend and we both passed the exam the first time. The video definitely helped but we both had to put in the hours of studying too. You can check out the video course as I do think it will help you grasp all of the information and according to the site it is kept up to date (which is a problem with many coding courses). They also have a 60 day money back guarantee.
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