Don't give up! I studied with a group of 5-8 others who also took the exam. We used Carol Buck's study guide 2007, the year I took it. It helped to talk over and hash out the different chapters. We took her practice test in the back and discussed the answers why and why they were not correct. I used my AMA CPT professional edition as a study guide. We focused on guidelines that were in the CPT. On test day, nerves are running high, but try to relax and take high carb snacks. Practice timing yourself answering questions. Good Luck, You can do it! Now you have the advantage of knowing what to expect.
Medical dictionary - NOT
To my knowledge a medical dictionary is NOT allowed for any of the tests.
F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
I came on this forum for advice just like you, and after intensely studying the first time and being a fresh graduate from college took the test and failed. I really thought I was prepared and actually ENJOYED the test. My weakness is one area took me down. So, I got right back on the "horse", signed up for the next test and ordered a practice test and bought the Carol Buck book like so many others. For some reason I thought the 2nd test was every more difficult, but fortunately passed. And I've also taken up permanent residency on this forum because it is where I get the bulk of support from colleagues!
You are right, I was thinking of the CCS-P. I was looking at the requirements the day before I answered this post. Thanks for correcting this.
Originally Posted by FTessaBartels
My best advise would be, relax, take a deep breath and don't freak out. After that, scan the test, do all the questions you know right off the bat then go back. If a quest is taking a long time, move and come back to it after. Try to answer all the questions even if you're not sure of the answer (if you leave it blank it's automatically wrong). Many times you anc eliminate an answer right away by the ICD codes. Use the process of elimination to your favor, pick out the incorrect answers first. And yes, using the most current coding books is your best bet. Good Luck!
You really need to have current books. CPT, ICD9, and HCPCS. There were lots of changes this year. I would also make sure you have a current study guide as the tests were also revised this year.
Take the practice exam, study the areas you're weak. Take the practice exam again, timing yourself.
The day before the test, get a massage. (or whatever you like to do for you to relax).
The day of the test make sure you have enough food and drink.
I have seen many people say don't take breaks. I disagree with this. Take as many as you need (the time for breaks is added onto your test time so you get a true 5 hours sitting at the desk taking the exam). If my butt's falling asleep, I'm not concentrating very well.
If you can't figure out a question, make a small tick mark next to it and come back to it. If you can rule out 2 answers, do so and come back to it. If you can rule out all but 1 answer, AWESOME. If you rule out all the answers, come back to it. Often the answers to some questions will be "revealed" in later questions. Try not to 2nd guess yourself unless you have some really strong evidence that you should change an answer.
IF you finish all questions before your time is up, go back through and make sure you marked the circles you intended to mark. But remember, try not to
2nd guess yourself.
This is what my coding teacher told us; know the Guidlines first, then know the order and ICD-9 codes are listed in, read the reports carefully they trick you. Knowing terminology and anatomy are a given. Though you can write any you do not know in your book, however, you must know how to locate it quickly so tab all pages where important info is listed. I also tabed all code divisions eg. 00100 anesthesia, 2000 musculoskeletal, 3000 respiratory, ect. I tabed all 3 books (CPT, ICD-9, HCPCS) like this that way I did not lose time flipping pages I could go right to the section by using the tabs. In the end I did not use much information I had written in my book, by writting it I learned it. But, I used the heck out of the tabs. I would of run out of time without them. Good Luck, get prepared and try again!
Last edited by kak6; 04-09-2009 at 07:25 AM.
Reason: bad judgement remark
I passed the CPC test a week ago (close, but it counts!). I would say you have to first know the guidelines (as other posters have indicated). However, you will not pass if you do not know Terminology and Anatomy. These tie into everything you do, from breaking down a report to providing basic info answers on the test. My instructor, the great Kate Tierney, taught me that.
You can get away with answering a bit of the Anatomy questions by using the diagrams and explanations in the ICD-9 and CPT. The ICD-9 in particular has excellent diagrams of the various body systems (i.e. the ear and eye).
I totally agree with Karen...Tab those books! It will save you major time on the test (and I suspect real coding).
Hope that helps. With a little bit more understanding of where to look up those items of your weaknesses, you will ace the test next time!
I passed the exam in 2007, and found that what got me through it was taking practice tests. I took a bootcamp through HCPro (which was great!!), but it's really up to you. I took the practice test three times before the test (take it until you can easily do it in under 5 hrs). Anatomy flash cards were also a life saver for me. Good luck!!
I took just took the test last December and failed. I was heart broken, I am going to try again. I think the hardest thing is the time, I really wish they did not put that restriction on the test. Just try to relax and don't give up.