CPC Test

JNH2016

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Hi everyone. I am sitting for the CPC exam in a week. I am just finishing my course and have done relatively well in the course and the practice tests but I am still really nervous. Does anyone have any tips for taking the test? Are all questions/cases really long or are there some "easy" ones? Also is there a medical terminology section on the test? Any advice is appreciated!
 

jdeleon

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Good Luck!

I took the test on 8/27 and it was my first time and I got a 90%! I was really nervous myself but I also did really well in the AAPC online course (final grade was 93%) and all the practice exams. There are about 10 questions per section of the CPT book. Some are longer than others. At the end of the test there are medical terminology questions, questions on coding guidelines, HCPCS codes and ICD-10s. These total about 50 questions. I suggest start with the back and work your way forward! I used every second of the 5 hours and 40 mins. Here are some tips that helped me:

-Write pre-fixes and suffixes in your book somewhere. My HCPCS book had about 6 blank pages at the end that I filled with terminology! (example: tympano = eardrum)
-I haven't taken an anatomy course since college (over 10 yrs ago) and I wasn't about to learn it for this exam. Don't worry about the anatomy too much if you aren't an expert. There are about 8 questions on anatomy and there are TONS of illustrations in all the books to help. Hint: if you are unfamiliar with something, look it up in the ICD-10 index and it may point you in the right direction. There was a cyst I wasn't sure of and I looked it up and it said "see XXXX gland"- there was my answer!
-The AAPC loves to put codes together that do not belong together according to the parenthetical notes or section guidelines. READ ALL PARENTHETICAL NOTES!! And if there are guidelines at the beginning of the section, skim them quickly. This was a HUGE help
-This may be obvious but it came up a lot on the exam: if the codes include imaging guidance, DO NOT include the radiology code for the imaging guidance.
-All the HCPCS modifiers are located in the back of the HCPCS book, just an FYI
-For ICD-10s, any special guidelines are repeated at the beginning of each section. This is very helpful
-Be familiar with what the books can offer you. Most of the answers are in the books somewhere (with the exception of maybe some regulation questions)

Good luck and do not freak out!

-Jessica D.
 
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JNH2016

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Thank you!! I will definitely write some pre-fix and suffix in my book, I was worried that it was "against the rules" in order to take the test.
I am nervous but you are right the answers are all in front of me I just need to find them! :)

Congrats on passing!!
 

jdeleon

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This is what I was told by my instructor of what I am allowed to write in the books:

"Handwritten notes are acceptable in the coding books only if they pertain to daily coding activities. Questions from the Study Guides, Practice Exams or the Exam itself are prohibited. Tabs may be inserted, taped, pasted, glued, or stapled in the manuals so long as the obvious intent of the tab is to earmark a page with words or numbers, not supplement information in the book. No materials (other than tab dividers) may be inserted, taped, pasted, glued, or stapled in the manuals."

I took this to mean that as long as it wasn't a question from the anything pertaining to the exam - go for it!
 

stephanie.moore@wdhospital.com

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Don't get stuck on 1 question. Continue on to build confidence, you may also find that another question helps you answer the one you were stuck on. I brought in tabs so if I had to skip a question I tabbed the page in the test book to go back to. In addition you can usually rule out 2 of the answers easily so I would put a line through the ones I knew were not correct so when I went back I only had to consider the 2 answers without a line through them.

As others have said always check the guidelines!!

If you did well with the course and the practice exams you will rock it!! Good luck!
 

Cheezum51

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Many of the answer choices are obviously incorrect. Eliminate those first and then you may be down to selecting between 2 different possible answers versus 4.
Also, I wrote down the modifiers for the various anesthesia scenarios as well as a grid for selecting the proper E/M code based upon the elements of history, exam and MDM.

Tom Cheezum, O.D., CPC
 

KellF

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Good luck Janine! I sit for my CPC exam tomorrow. Love the hints, everyone. Thank you for posting them.
 

Tami_F

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Time management tip: give yourself one hour for each set of 30 questions

Spend an hour and get as far as you can, and when the hour is up, move on to the next set. This will help keep you from getting bogged down on a section you're less confident in or that has more lengthy questions, and keep you moving through the exam at a good pace.

IIRC, on the answer key, there are 5 columns of 30 questions, so giving yourself an hour per column leaves you with about 40 minutes left over to go back and finish any questions you skipped or need to double-check.
 
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Good Luck

Just rely on your skills. I took mine a week ago and found out today I PASSED! my advice is time management is the key and don't get stuck on one question. I finished 20 minutes early and did not go back because more often than not your first choice is the correct one. Good luck!!
 
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