We've Optimized Our Certification Exams

At AAPC, we take our certification exams seriously, which is a bit of an understatement. Not only are the exams updated annually to reflect code and guideline changes, but they also undergo continuous scrutiny to ensure they do what their supposed to do — accurately assess mastery of the skills represented by their respective credentials.

Through meticulous review led by our AAPC Exam Committees, validity and reliability for each exam is achieved year after year.

In other words, you can trust your exam results and have confidence that your certification — and the certifications of your peers — reflects the required expertise. Moreover, you can trust that the industry at large, including potential employers, recognizes the standard of excellence met to attain your credentials.

Certification Exam Updates

After years of analysis and beta testing, AAPC certification exams now consist of 100 questions to be completed in 4 hours.

What's New In 2022?

AAPC's exam review process is not new, though you've likely not noticed this behind-the-scenes activity before. But this year we're unveiling an exciting development that's been years in the making.

As you know, exams have historically consisted of 150 questions administered in 5 hours and 40 minutes*. Starting January 1, 2022, AAPC certification exams will consist of 100 questions in which you'll be given 4 hours to answer.

*The unique number of questions on CPB, CIC, and CPPM exams has been reduced to the same degree as 150-question exams. See details below.

Still Rigorous, Still World-Class

The decision to optimize our certification exams came about when our review process revealed an opportunity to reduce the number of questions and duration of the exams. This insight was then tested extensively to ensure a shorter format would retain the same level of rigorous content to unequivocally assess and endorse the required proficiencies.

Psychometric analysis — which is a way to evaluate the design and interpretation of tests — was conducted by an independent third-party psychometrician. This analysis confirmed that shorter exams offer good reliability and content validity.

  • Content validity means a test measures the right competencies and its scores therefore indicate the measure of these competencies.
  • Reliability means that test scores are consistent over repeated applications, free of random errors among a group of people and therefore reliable for individual test takers.

AAPC Exam Committee members methodically worked through every aspect of the development of the optimized exam format. With the CPC certification exam as a prototype, they reduced the number of questions to 100 in an approach informed by both psychometric data on individual questions and subject matter expert (SME) evaluation of individual questions. They then tested their prototype.

Among variables assessed through beta exams taken across AAPC membership, we found a 1% difference between the pass rates of the 100-question CPC exam and 150-question CPC exam. This is the results the exam committees aimed and hoped for.

Coupled with additional empirical data supporting the validity and reliability of the optimized format, we are now able to offer you certification exams that are equally rigorous and an hour and 40 minutes less taxing.

Interested in learning more? Download the white paper Certification Exam Validity and Time Optimization for a closer look at the scientific methodology behind this development.

AAPC Core Certification Exams

Historic # of Questions 200
New # of Questions 135

Multiple choice cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 70
New # of Questions 47

Multiple choice cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 200
New # of Questions 135

Multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Multiple choice

AAPC Specialty Certification Exams

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

Historic # of Questions 150
New # of Questions 100

Cases with multiple choice

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