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Failed CPC exam- first attempt with 65%. Need advice.

  1. Default Failed CPC exam- first attempt with 65%. Need advice.
    Medical Coding Books
    Hi everyone,

    I am looking for advice on passing my CPC exam on my second attempt which is coming up in a few weeks. My problem with the first exam was with the amount of time given to us. How could anyone answer 150 questions within such a short amount of time? I utilized all of the official CPC practice exams and performed extremely well (and quickly) on those. If anyone has advice on getting through the CPC exam faster, please share it with me! I am perfectly capable of answering these questions- the problem is the amount of time it takes to look up the necessary information.

  2. Default Re: Failed CPC exam- first attempt with 65%. Need advice.
    The best advice that I can give Catherine, is to mark and skip those questions which are taking longer than they should or you just don't know the answer. Move on to the ones that you're sure of so that you don't lose those guaranteed points and come back to the problem questions later.

    After you've reached the end, and as you now attack the problem questions, don't spend an exceptionally long time (I used the 1 minute rule). If you just don't know guess and mark it again for a return (never, ever leave a question blank).

    You'll find (at least I did) that you'll begin to relax a bit once you've reach the end of the test and as you revisit the questions, sometimes they become clearer.

    You can do it!! Good luck!!

  3. Default
    The things that helped me the most that I think will help you:

    -Try marking your CPT book the way missokieok on YouTube suggests in her videos. I recommend watching all of her 2015 CPT videos. This will help you save time because you will be able to find your codes faster.

    -Skip around on the exam. I went to the sections that were easier for me and did those first (ICD-CM coding, compliance). For me those sections were in the back. I did E&M last.

    -Take a watch and keep track of time on your own.

    I had to go back at the end and guess on quite a few questions because of time, but I think I still passed because I focused my time on the sections that were easy for me.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Baton Rouge
    I agree with the above, and will add that instead of trying to "look up" each answer in the index (if that's what you meant), work backwards. I know this doesn't mimic real-world coding, but on this exam, that is the only way you will finish in time. Skip the bulk of any long questions, and get straight to what the actual question is. Narrow down the answers as much as possible--you can usually knock out 1 or 2 right away, and go straight to those codes in the body of the book.

    HTH some, and good luck!
    Meagan Strauss, CPC, CEMC
    Coding Coordinator
    The NeuroMedical Center
    Baton Rouge, LA

  5. #5
    1 column per hour w. skipping of tough questions until a second or 3rd pass. I had a majority of my answers in 3 hours (the last 2 columns go fast), 1 hour completing those i skipped. 3 Interventional radiology i spend an hour on before just guessing.

    If you are reading the scenarios before looking at the answers, you wont make it through. Index should only be used as a a last resport. Yiur job is to pick the best of the 4 answers. Also do not read too much into the questions. Bubbling & hilighting + skipping are the main things that helped me. I also printed out all my practice exams and took them offline in a timed fashion just like the real exam using a scantron sheet then i pulled the practice tests up online and entered the answers. I also made sure i read all the rationals of all questions right or wrong just to make sure i got it correct for the right reason and not just luck.

    You may want to try Blitz, it will teach you all about the B&H method.
    CPC-P-A (11/2016), COC-A (9/2016), CPC-A (11/2015), PAHM (2010)
    Fee Schedule Configuration Specialist - Remote

    15 years health insurance experience: Audit, Claims, Customer Service, Payment Policy, Provider Relations, and Reimbursement

  6. #6
    Lots of good tips here.

    Here's another way to look at this. You scored 65% which means you got 98 questions correct. In order to pass you need to answer 105 questions correctly. In other words you were 7 correct answers from passing.

    You mentioned time was an issue. Did you run out of time and leave some questions unanswered? An unanswered question is always wrong. Statistically, a guess on a 4 answer multiple choice is right 25% of the time and 50% of the time on a true/false question. The point being, answer every question, even if you have to guess.

    Don't obsess about any one question. You can miss 45 question and still pass.
    L. Mark Kozu, COC, CPC, CCC

  7. Default CPC Exam

    I printed all the practice exams available to me and took them sitting at the dinning
    room table and timed myself. I know it's several hours of your time but it is worth it.

  8. #8
    One big tip I learned from my boot camp which was a huge time saver, for exam purposes at least with the surgery questions you generally don't have to read most of the actual op note. You almost always code your post op DX and the procedure is listed right there for you, so just look it up in the book. Attention to details in the wording is key and of course process of elimination, look for those key things like a modifier that doesnt belong or an add on code being coded as primary etc. Of course in the real world this isn't really true but the nice thing about the exam is CCI and things like payer rules don't matter. Also I did the surgery questions last and skipped around doing easier sections first like HCPCS, medicine and ICD-10. I also tabbed my book and added some notes (basic things like the trimesters of pregnancy, how many inches in a centimeter etc) but dont overmark/tab or you will spend too much time tying to find things in the books. I also bought one of those rubber thumbs to use for help turning pages. Bring snacks, a pillow for your bum whatever will help you be comfy during the long exam, I felt like I really needed that first test as a trial run to help me know what to expect. Good luck, Im sure you will pass this time knowing what it was like the first time around.

  9. Angry Failed CPC exam- first attempt with 65%. Need advice.
    i do agree with Catherine that time limit too worst, questions are very big to read that it self it takes time.

  10. #10
    I failed the first time as well so please don't be surprise. After the failure, I bought the intensive review session from CCO.US (I know more money $$ but its worth). Here are some tips that I drew from my second exam:
    1. Read the multiple choices first, underline the difference and then read the question to confirm
    2. Bring your highlight (you are allowed to write on questions. Why not?)
    3. Practice timing at home. (use stop watch or your phone to track 5 hours in total, 30 mins left for review or could be lesser)
    4. Know your strength, for example: terminology, cardio etc. then finish these first in hand. Don't leave any anything unanswered, waste time follow page by page and struggle with your weak session.
    5. If you struggle with any anatomy or terminology or places of services or even modifier, open your CPT books and check the first 10 pages. Its all in there (that why I called CPT book is your best friend)
    6. Don't be nervous when people hand in their test before you. Pretend like you wear a headphone and don't care anybody
    7. For Compliance part, try to write it in the back of CPT book - you are allowed to take note in your book before the test, proctor wouldn't mind to see your note there.

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