AAPC - Advancing the Business of Healthcare

Certified Evaluation and Management Coder

Taking the CEMC® exam

Evaluation and management coding is complicated, and everchanging healthcare policies and regulations in areas such as E/M guidelines, HIPAA, and telemedicine, make successful coding and reimbursement challenging for providers.

To employers, a CEMC certification demonstrates your mastery of evaluation and management coding, including E/M guidelines, medical decision making, time-based coding, modifiers, and more.

A specialty certification like this is a great way to both establish your coding skills and differentiate yourself within this growing field.

Who should take the CEMC exam?

If you’re an experienced E/M coder, you can demonstrate your expertise to employers with a CEMC certification. CEMC certification also elevates your earning potential above that of people without an AAPC certification. With enough experience and expertise, you can skip the prerequisites. We do, however, recommend getting the study guide and practice exam to help ensure that you pass on the first attempt.

What to expect on exam day

The exam has a total of 100 questions to be answered in four hours. People often wonder if the CEMC exam is hard. We’ll say this: If you have taken the training course, studied, and are familiar with your CPT®, ICD-10-CM, and HCPCS Level II code books, the test will be demanding, but not difficult.

Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect:

Before you begin the test, take a moment and breathe. You have prepared for this. You have your code books by your side and know how to use them. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your E/M coding expertise.

You'll have four hours to finish the exam, giving you approximately 2.4 minutes to answer each of the 100 multiple-choice questions. You can save time by reading the answer choices before reading each question and by saving the more difficult questions for last. It’s important to answer every question, even if you aren’t sure. Your best guess is better than no answer at all.

The questions assess several areas of knowledge, most of which are presented as coding scenarios or cases, to test application of CPT® procedure codes, HCPCS Level II procedure and supply codes, and ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes.

You will be able to reference approved medical code books during the exam — the AMA's CPT® Professional Edition, as well as your choice of ICD-10-CM and HCPCS Level II code books. You can also use your Evaluation and Management Coding Reference Guide, your choice of E/M audit worksheet, and one additional resource of your choice. To be clear, these are the only code books you are allowed to use.

For in-person exams

When you register for the exam, will be given detailed instructions on where the test will be taken, what time you should arrive, and what you need to bring.

You should arrive at your exam location 30 minutes early. Be sure to bring all necessary items (photo ID, #2 pencils, an eraser, code books, etc.) and listen carefully as the proctor provides instructions. You will then have the chance to ask any questions. If you are confused or concerned about anything, it’s important to clarify. After all, someone else might be wondering the same thing.

Location: Local chapter or licensed instructor site
Exam format: 100 multiple-choice questions
Time allowed: 4 hours
Proctor to examinee ratio: 1 to 25
Cancellation fee: Must be canceled 21 days prior exam date, service charge of $100
Reschedule fee: Must be rescheduled 21 days prior exam date, service charge of $100
No show fee: $100

Availability: Schedule now

For electronic exams

Our electronic exam is a four-hour live, remote-proctored* examination completed in one sitting and proctored by Examity). After purchasing or transferring your current exam voucher, you’ll receive a Notice to Schedule from our partner, Meazure Learning (formerly Scantron), and will be able to schedule your exam for a date and time convenient to you.

On the day of the exam, you will log into your Meazure Learning account, then connect with your Examity proctor to complete a security check and take your exam. Your results will be posted within 7-10 business days from the date you complete your exam.

*Electronic exams taken outside of the US will be proctored at a local Testing Center. Please refer to the Test Center FAQs or ask your Career Counselor for more information.

Equipment required: Reliable internet connection and an external webcam that can be positioned to show your face, hands, keyboard, and the area around the keyboard (about 10 inches)
Location: At home in a quiet, private location
Exam format: 100 multiple-choice questions delivered in one sitting
Time allowed: 4 hours
Proctor to examinee ratio: 1 to 2
Cancellation fee: No fee charged if cancelled 24 hours in advance
Reschedule fee: No fee charged if rescheduled 24 hours in advance
No show fee: If you do not show up to your scheduled exam OR you do not meet the requirements to take the exam, your exam voucher will be cancelled, and you will need to purchase a new voucher in order to take the exam.

Availability: Schedule now

Passing grades

An overall score of 70% or higher is required to pass the certification exam. For a passing score of 70%, you must get at least 70 questions correct. If you incorrectly answer more than 30 questions, you will not pass. If you don’t pass, you will be notified of the categories/areas of study with sub-scores of 65% or less to help you prepare for retesting.

All AAPC certification exams exclusively measure proficiencies relating to the one credential named in the exam. To earn additional medical coding credentials, you will be required to pass additional certification exams.

Your results will be shared with you online in your My AAPC Account Dashboard under My Exams. You can expect the results within 7-10 business days after taking the exam. Once you have passed, your certificate will be sent to you in the mail.

Materials allowed on the day of the exam

Approved code books

Note: Code sets are updated annually, so it’s essential to use the current calendar year's code books when taking the CEMC certification exam.

Any officially published updates (errata) for the above code books may also be used.

Recommended references:

Optional reference: One book/reference of your choice


Manual calculators are allowed on all exams (no smartphones, tablets, or smart watches). For electronic exams, an online calculator will be included for use during the exam.

Book notes

Handwritten notes are acceptable in the code books only if they pertain to daily coding activities. Long passages of information are not permitted on the blank pages. Questions from the study guides, practice exams, or the exam itself are prohibited. Altering, whiting out, painting, or printing over any pages within the code books (e.g., marketing pages, table of contents, reference pages, etc.) to supplement information is prohibited.

Book tabs

Tabs may be inserted, taped, pasted, glued, or stapled in the code books so long as the obvious intent of the tab is to earmark a page with words or numbers, not supplement information in the book.

NOTE: Electronic devices with an on/off switch (phones, tablets, etc.) are not allowed into the examination room. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disqualification of your exam.

Breakdown of the 100-question CEMC exam

Passing the CEMC exam requires you to correctly answer a minimum of 70 questions specifically related to evaluation and management coding.

CEMC exam

  • 100 multiple choice questions (proctored)

  • 4 hours to finish the exam

  • Open code book

  • $299 for 1 attempt

  • $399 for 2 attempts

Reviewed by an evaluation and management steering committee: 

  • Dennis P.H. Mihale, MD, MBA, CEMC

  • Kimberly D. Perazzoli, CPC, CPC-I, CEMC, CCP, CHONC

  • Maggie Mac, CPC, CEMC, CMM, CMSCS, CCP, ICCE


  • Stephanie Jones, CPC, CEMC

The exam will measure proficiency in the correct application of ICD-10-CM codes, CPT® codes, HCPCS Level II codes, modifiers, and healthcare regulations.


  • Must schedule in-person examination four weeks in advance

  • Must schedule online examination 24 hours in advance

  • Must have current AAPC membership

  • We strongly recommend that you have at least two years of experience in the specialty prior to sitting for the certification exam. Please be aware that these are difficult, high-level examinations not intended for individuals with little, limited, or no coding experience.

Passing and certification

Each specialty certification exam must be taken separately and passed.

An overall score of 70% or higher is required to pass the certification exam. If you don't pass, the areas of study/categories with a score of 65% or less will be provided for your preparation to retest. The areas of study reported reflect scores based on the number of questions in each category/section of the exam.

Maintaining your certification will require earning continuing education units (CEUs). For CEU requirements, please see our CEU Information page.

Ready to schedule your CEMC exam?