Wiki CPMA Exam and CPMA Study Guide


Carlisle, PA
Best answers
I took my CPMA and just found out I did not pass. I got a 63%. I had taken the online course and completed the 3 practice exams that came in the bundle I purchased.

My questions is: would is be advantageous for me to purchase the CPMA Study Guide?? I've read conflicting opinions about it, like it's just a repeat of the practice exams and/or course.

I need something to help me so I can pass next time!

I too failed on my first attempt to take the CPMA exam after taking the online course and the practice exams. I studied like crazy during the class, extended my access a couple of times to continue studying and was so disappointed when I failed. So after a few months went by I decided I couldn't let it beat me and I bought the study guide, I don't know if it was the reason I passed the second time around or not, but I did pass so in my mind it helped. I know 2 other people that went through the very same thing and passed after studying with the study guide.

Debbie, CPC, CPC-P, CPMA
Study Guide


I took the exam three times before I pasted. Don't get discouraged. I felt the study guide was very, very helpful. Most of all do lots of audits. Practice, practice and practice somemore.

Penny Lask
I used the study guide and passed the first time on the test. It is not an easy test, but with all my certification, I have used the study guides and found during the test that I was glad that I had used them as it helped to clarify what they were looking for on the test as well as a clear description of why the answer is a certain way.
I also passed my test on the first try. I only used the study guide and the 3 practice tests to prepare for the exam. I did not take a course. I felt the study guide was very informational. Keep doing the practice tests until you can get all of the questions correct.
CMPA test

I just took the test this past Saturday, waiting to see if I passed or not. Honestly, I'm not confident that I did. I took the online course and studied the practice exams non stop! What recommendations can you give? Should i order the study guide? Will it honestly help with the retake?
I have been thinking about taking the course but maybe I will start with the study guide first to see if I want to spend the money on the course.
I also passed the CPMA on first try last April. Personally I just feel that the Study guide and 3 practice exam sets is all I needed aside from the fact that the online course is expensive, I suggest that you wait for some very few sales on their website. I got the bundle for 50% off last December 2016. I took the exam last March 18,2017 and got the result 4 weeks after-the agony. I wonder if some of you also experience same waiting time as mine. I almost wanted to fly into a rage if not just because of the final score of 84% at the end of the day. I heard the Cardio certifications (CCC,CCVTC) are always on sale every hearts day!

Ferdinand N. Bocala
Last edited:
How long did you study - months, weeks, etc before sitting for the CPMA exam?

I too, would like to take the exam. I realize that everyone's study time and outcome is different, but I just wanted to know. Thanks.
CPMA Study Guide

Failed test #3, I didn't feel that the AAPC study guide focused enough on what I needed for the test. The guide had a lot of Starck and Lincoln law content and I don't remember much about those two items on the test. There were many items that I don't think were in the study guide. I read the guide, did the online course and did the practice exam multiple times and still failed a third time. I'm not sure if I really need to continue but I hate to waste $900 (!!!)...I already have a CPC and a CCS-P so one more credential isn't going to make me all that marketable. I'm VERY disappointed though. I felt very confident this last time and I actually scored 2 points lower than my second attempt. I may just write off that money and forget it. Very disappointed given the amount of time and effort that I've put into this.
Hi everyone, I am taking my CPMA exam on the 29th of this month. I have purchased the course and the practice exams but when I tried to purchase the study guide for 2018 I found out they are no longer selling them! I know this is a long shot but would anyone be willing to let me borrow their 2018 study guide? Help!! :confused:
Dont feel bad I have taken the test three times already and each time I got a 69% my biggest area of weakness is CPT coding. I have been doing risk adjustment coding for years. I need some advice on some auditing refresher class I can take to help me with part of the test. If I fail it a 4th time. I think I will hang it up and focus on other credentials.
Dont feel bad I have taken the test three times already and each time I got a 69% my biggest area of weakness is CPT coding. I have been doing risk adjustment coding for years. I need some advice on some auditing refresher class I can take to help me with part of the test. If I fail it a 4th time. I think I will hang it up and focus on other credentials.
I am in the same boat, failed the exam 4 times with a 69%. im taking it for the 5th time on October 31. if i fail it the last attempt, i am done taking the exam.
I just failed the CPMA for the second time.. I studied the study guide and the practice exams good. I don't understand as I have always been a pretty good test taker, but this one is getting the best of me. I only score 2pts more than the first. I seems like the material is scrambled on the test from the study guide. Help from anyone with some advice. I 3rd times a charm!
I took mine last weekend - 10.16 and got my results Monday.

I recommend Quizlet. It was a free app a friend of mine told me about while she was studying for her CPC. They have tons of CPMA study sets on there. During any down time I had, I would study flashcards people have made.

I also went overboard and made my own mock exams by taking every exam from the online course (chapters 1-6) (even though I passed on the first attempt, I still did the second attempt as there were different questions), every question from the course assignments and every question from the study guide. I jumbled all of those up and made 6 mini exams with like 60-70 questions on each one and I would quiz myself on those without using my course information or study guide. If I didn't know they answer, I would circle it so I could research that question.

Some of those questions I got on the exam and they were almost word for word.

Any acronym you see in the course/study guide, learn it.. know it.. know what it's there for. Who is involved in that acronym and why they created it/them. Learn the penalties (monetary and judicial) for the laws and regulations. Learn how to dispute them. Know the different types of audits and why to use them. Learn the audit report and what sections should contain what information.

There were some questions that I got where I had zero clue because it was information I didn't think was necessary to learn so try to learn everything. They put it all in the study guide/course for a reason.

I saw someone recommend starting from the back and working to the front. I did that and I LOVED it. They asked some easy ones I remembered at the very end. Then it was the case studies and after the case studies, it was all laws and regulations so I didn't have to spend too much time on those. I had about an hour left once I was done.

Don't stress. Good luck!
Curious about the CPMA course, I have my CPC and COSC certification. COSC was really hard, so I am curious if CPMA is anything like it.
This is a very old thread. But, to answer your question. They are totally different. The CPMA in my opinion was the more difficult of the 7 I have done. They can't really be compared other than maybe some basic high-level questions. Other than that, totally different. I personally didn't find the COSC hard, but had many years of experience in orthopedics when I took it and absolutely love ortho.

I have never taken any of the learning courses AAPC offers. I use on the job knowledge, experience, study guides and practice exams. However, all of the specialty exams are for experienced folks, they are not easy.
I would say if someone has never audited it would be quite difficult to pass. You have to know and understand compliance, regulatory rules, med records standards, coding/reimbursement, audit scope and sampling, how to analyze risk areas, how to report findings, etc. You have to be able to apply audit concepts across multiple specialties and types of coding such as office, hospital, surgery, etc.
I haven't taken the COSC, but I've taken 2 other specialty exams. (CHONC and CGSC)

I agree with Amy that the CPMA is a different type of exam than a specialty exam. Whether it's more difficult than COSC or not depends on the level of background & experience you have with the auditing material.

A specialty exam is more coding specific than the CPMA. On the CPMA, a large part of the questions are about documentation, regulatory, and reimbursement requirements. Also, the cases will come from different provider types and specialties - it could be from physical therapy, hematology/oncology, psychiatry, etc. If there's any of those subjects you're less familiar with, you might want to review those coding guidelines and concepts. You can see the exact breakdown of how many questions come from each subject here:

I have taken some courses (CPC, CIC, CDEO, CDEI, and CPCO). Oh, I also took the CHONC and CGSC specialty courses. I think the courses can be useful as part of study preparation, because the courses are structured to cover the material that's relevant to the exam. If someone is unsure of their familiarity with a subject matter, a course can be a good refresher.

I didn't take a course for CPMA or CPB - I used the study guides and practice exams to prepare for those. I felt comfortable with my background in both areas to prepare on my own. (I probably would have felt comfortable preparing for CDEO on my own as well, but I signed up for CDEO when it was available through freeAAPC.)

Good luck whatever you decide!