CPC Exam TIPS

acirig07

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Hello, I am scheduled to take my CPC Exam for the first attempt next month. Are there any studying tips or tricks anyone can offer? Is medical terminology a huge part of the test? Are the sections labeled?
Any info would be appreciated!! :):)
 

Pathos

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My biggest suggestion is to really get to know your coding books. Understand the ICD-10, CPT and HCPCS (to a lesser extent) guidelines as you will be spending the majority of your time in those first two books. Medical Terminology has about 8 questions of the 150, so a small fraction. However, you would want to be familiar enough with Medical Terminology to understand the cases presented in the exam.

Here is the official AAPC CPC site. Check out their "Tips for CPC" section around the bottom of the page.

Let me know if you have any specific questions.

Good luck!
 

Mayzoo

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Also, you can use the search this forum function in the upper right hand corner and type in "Exam Tips" (input the quotes as well to narrow your search). You will find a lot of tips that way!
 

bkipferl

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How do I apply for extra time on the CPC exam? I have a letter from my doctor for my anxiety. My test is next month.
 

Pathos

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How do I apply for extra time on the CPC exam? I have a letter from my doctor for my anxiety. My test is next month.
On AAPC FAQ page:

"How do I cancel an exam?
This service is available on our website for your convenience, located under your upcoming events, on the main page. Click on “Cancel This Exam” link. An AAPC Exam Service Charge will be assessed ($100.00 US and $150.00 for all international exams). Exam must be cancelled 21 days prior to scheduled exam date. The Exam Service Charge must be paid in full prior to rescheduling your exam."
 
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I've taken several certification exams during the 20+ years I've been in coding (previously certified as CCS, CCS-P, CPC, E/M specialty, and CPC instructor). I've taken the CPC exam on 3 separate occasions (only because I didn't renew in time). By no means am I bragging but I passed every exam on the first try each time and my overall scores on the CPC exam were better each time. Here are some tips for the process of taking the test:

1. Since you don't have to answer the questions in order, what I've done is skipped every question that requires you to look up codes. Answer the other questions first and even then only answer the ones where you know the answer 100%. This will give you a little extra time for the progress notes and operative reports. Once you've finished with the "easy-peazy" stuff, go on to the rest. It's 150 questions and 340 minutes - just over 2 minutes per question.

2. When you get to the operative reports and progress notes, instead of trying to code the cases from scratch just start looking up the codes in the answer choices. As soon as you find an answer choice with an incorrect code then ANY answer choice with that incorrect code is a wrong answer. Sometimes this can quickly reveal the correct answer and save you some time and frustration.

3. Before you take the time to read the operative reports or progress notes, read the corresponding test questions. You may find that a particular operative report or progress note doesn't need to be read entirely in order to answer the corresponding questions.

4. You are allowed to have handwritten notes in your books and regardless of the publisher, there are LOTS of blank pages to make notes for some of the things where you feel less confident. If one of your weak areas is selective catheter placement then find the circulatory system anatomy picture and color-code your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order vessels and make a legend at the bottom or in the margin with the appropriate codes for each color/vessel order. The first time I took the CPC exam my CPT book didn't have a single blank page available after putting in handwritten notes.

5. This tip is a matter of personal preference and it is not really a suggestion. I am in no way telling you to do this but I NEVER EVER EVER go back and check my answers. For me, that leads to 2nd-guessing my answer choices and you could end up changing a correct answer to an incorrect answer. If you're not sure of an answer then pause for a few seconds, take a deep breath and give it another go. If you decide to not go back and check your answers, just be sure after every 5 or 10 questions that the question number you are bubbling matches the question number you are answering.

6. Here's the most important tip I can give - BREATHE!!!! Seriously, I've seen people leave the exam and practically faint from the stress they put on themselves.

I hope some of these tips are helpful. Good luck!!

David G.
 
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