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Cpc exam - what to expect

  1. #11
    Location
    Milwaukee WI
    Posts
    4,466
    Default Writing in the books
    Medical Coding Books
    I wrote in my books ... and still do. But they are small notations to help me remember things. For example when I was taking the CPC I wrote "3of3" in red next to every E/M that requires ALL three elements be met. (I no longer need this reminder so haven't written it down in several years.)

    I wrote "add mesh if used" next to 49560 thru 49566 as they are the only hernia codes with which we can use +49568.

    I wrote the vertebrae of the spine down the spine of my CPT book next to the spinal instrumentation codes C1 down to L5 ... this, so I wouldn't have to go look them up in another part of the book.

    But there were many pages with nothing written on them. You do NOT need a full audit form for the CPC exam. You DO need to know how to determine the level of history (but that's already in the guidelines). If you are taking the CEMC exam you are allowed (and in fact NEED) to bring along both 1995 and 1997 audit tools.

    So you CAN write whatever you want ... including your grandmother's special meatball recipe or your Christmas card list. But it's probably best to write only those things that will actually help you.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC

  2. #12
    Location
    RALEIGH, NC
    Posts
    20
    Default Cpc-h
    Hi Donna,
    Can you give me some idea of what the CPC-H exam is like? I'm thinking about taking it and wanted to know if it was similiar to the CPC exam?
    Sonya Boyd, CPC

  3. #13
    Location
    Duluth, Minnesota
    Posts
    1,133
    Default
    just curious Tessa -- were those questions on the test you took? I mean, did you have to refer to your special notes to find your test answers? did you have reminders of info that isn't already in the book that you needed to refer to for the test?
    They are good reminders, but my point was/is the answers are already in the book - the E/M descriptions already tell you you need "3 of 3" and "2 of 3"...etc.. same with the mesh, if you read the info under Repair -"with the exception of the incisional hernia repairs (see 49560 -49566) the use of mesh or other prostheses is not separately reported.

    Reminders or any other kind of writing anybody wants to put in their books is fine & dandy by me!
    I'm just simply saying - the answers are already in the books, and I wouldn't waste my time (again), making any special notes - I'd just make sure (again) that I knew my books, my guidelines, where to look and how to find the answers to the questions. (I'm talking for the actual testing taking) I do have some loose paper notes tucked in my books and a few written in- but those are facility specific - things done differently, internally, facility from facility.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTessaBartels View Post
    I wrote in my books ... and still do. But they are small notations to help me remember things. For example when I was taking the CPC I wrote "3of3" in red next to every E/M that requires ALL three elements be met. (I no longer need this reminder so haven't written it down in several years.)

    I wrote "add mesh if used" next to 49560 thru 49566 as they are the only hernia codes with which we can use +49568.

    I wrote the vertebrae of the spine down the spine of my CPT book next to the spinal instrumentation codes C1 down to L5 ... this, so I wouldn't have to go look them up in another part of the book.

    But there were many pages with nothing written on them. You do NOT need a full audit form for the CPC exam. You DO need to know how to determine the level of history (but that's already in the guidelines). If you are taking the CEMC exam you are allowed (and in fact NEED) to bring along both 1995 and 1997 audit tools.

    So you CAN write whatever you want ... including your grandmother's special meatball recipe or your Christmas card list. But it's probably best to write only those things that will actually help you.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
    Donna, CPC, CPC-H

  4. Default
    Quote Originally Posted by dmaec View Post
    you know, I just have to say - all this talk about "write whatever you can in your books - you can't have notes attached in any way, but you can write whatever you want so write it all done"....well.....

    I have to say I disagree with that advice (in a BIG way) and actually, I'm quite curious about the people who DID write stuff in their books - did you really refer to it, was it helpful?

    When I took my CPC (years ago) I didn't write anything in any book.
    When I took my CPC-H (this year), I admit I was bit nervous, so after all my studying, all my practice tests,...I thought, "this time" I'm writing things in my books. Things from the practice tests / studying that I thought might be helpful, that for one reason or another I couldn't retain. So, I wrote stuff in my book.

    I never once, during the whole test refered to "my notes" in my books. ALL my answers to the test were found "IN THE BOOK"... not in my notes.. Not one answer on the test was answered by what I had written in my book.

    ok.. so I passed my CPC test (no notes in the books), I passed my CPC-H test (with notes I NEVER referred to).. I wasted so much time worrying about what I might miss andwriting things in my book.

    Think about it, really - the answers are already in the books! Why would we need to write anything else down? Why do we feel we need to add anything at all.......the answers are already there?

    and of course - this is just my opinion - but I wouldn't waste my time (again) adding anything to the books - people get paid big bucks to make sure the info we need is already in them!
    I write a lot in my CPT, but my proctor said - tiny tabs, an information related to coding. For me all ( my notes, tabs) information is related to codingI am worry now about getting new cpt for the test.

  5. #15
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    12,531
    Default
    Quote Originally Posted by FTessaBartels View Post
    I wrote in my books ... and still do. But they are small notations to help me remember things. For example when I was taking the CPC I wrote "3of3" in red next to every E/M that requires ALL three elements be met. (I no longer need this reminder so haven't written it down in several years.)

    I wrote "add mesh if used" next to 49560 thru 49566 as they are the only hernia codes with which we can use +49568.

    I wrote the vertebrae of the spine down the spine of my CPT book next to the spinal instrumentation codes C1 down to L5 ... this, so I wouldn't have to go look them up in another part of the book.

    But there were many pages with nothing written on them. You do NOT need a full audit form for the CPC exam. You DO need to know how to determine the level of history (but that's already in the guidelines). If you are taking the CEMC exam you are allowed (and in fact NEED) to bring along both 1995 and 1997 audit tools.

    So you CAN write whatever you want ... including your grandmother's special meatball recipe or your Christmas card list. But it's probably best to write only those things that will actually help you.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
    See that is where the rules have changed then, we were instructed to not write additional information in our books and it was one of the instructions from the AAPC to not have notes in your book. As I indicated earlier a couple of ladies did indeed have their books removed upon entrance to the exam. I was just curious since I had noticed a large number of people giving this advice.

    Debra A. Mitchell, MSPH, CPC-H

  6. #16
    Location
    Duluth, Minnesota
    Posts
    1,133
    Default
    nods to Debra - exactly - and I've said this before when I first got online and people were posting "write notes in your books"... I posted that when I took my CPC test, 2 people were turned away because of all the notes written in their books. They didn't have other books for them to use, so they weren't able to take their test that day. I know of 2 others as well, testing shortly after that, same scenario ... I was surprised to find out that you can write in them (just can't have loose stuff)... but tis true - "now" you can write in them - but again, just my opinion, there really isn't a need to add anything to your books, it's all in there already!! you just need to know your books/guidelines...
    Donna, CPC, CPC-H

  7. #17
    Location
    Kochina Coders-Mesa,AZ
    Posts
    15
    Default Thank you
    I love the way this issue is being discussed. I am learning so much just by writting treads. I am so glad I am finally taking the CPC. I will take all this information and use it to my advantage. Once again thank you.

    ep

  8. #18
    Default
    I usually go through and look at CPT codes, find the ones that match and the way out there ones. Also remember your E and V codes. Those are a big piece of the puzzle too. I also prayed a lot! But that's me lol.

    No matter, good luck on your exam!

  9. #19
    Location
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Posts
    641
    Default
    I have always heard its "notes that you would use in your daily job." This makes sense to me. I once proctored where a lady practically had another book written in her CPT book. I questioned the other proctor as she was more experienced at proctoring than me at that point, and she accepted the lady's book.

    I am getting ready to take the COSC exam and I am going thru and re-reading guidelines and highlighting some things in the Coding Companion, things I don't see on a regular basis (like where is may say "anterior" or "posterior" or "use for fracture XXXX". It made me think though, if you highlight or mark something on everything, or have so many notes it takes time to read them, what are you really drawing attention to for yourself? OR, are you hurting yourself in the long run by having even more info to work thru? Just my thoughts as I study, study, study right now!
    Machelle Morningstar, CPC, COC, CEMC, COSC
    AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

  10. #20
    Default
    It seems as though someone in this forum is deliberately contradicting my advice on how to prepare for the CPC exam. So I'll just lay it out there and feel free to take or not take my advice. I'm just trying to be helpful and give back to those who now feel like I felt just before taking the exam. Don't get me wrong; I respect the opinions of others here, because I admittedly have a lot to learn about coding, but I don't respect the way I'm being belittled in a few of these posts.

    (BTW, I passed my CPC exam on the first try, taken 7/10/09, with 83% correct, and finished with more than an hour to spare. I finished near the top of my class, and it was even suggested to me by my teacher, that I consider teaching MBC classes in the future. So I like to think I know a little something about this, the opinions of others aside.)

    I wrote an audit sheet in the back of my CPT, on the advice of my teacher. Yes, I did not need to refer to the whole thing, but not knowing going into the exam, how am I to know how much I would refer to it? There was a question on my exam regarding this.

    I wrote 350 medical terminology prefixes and suffixes. Again, it may have been redundant, but it was there if I needed it. And I did need to refer one time to a prefix that I couldn't remember off the top of my head.

    I wrote everything I had, note-wise, about insurance. Again, possibly overkill, but since everything is fair game, who's to say there won't be any insurance questions? There was one on my exam.

    I wrote some of the Carol Buck chapter summaries in my CPT. Where the CPT can be very black and white, the Buck book fills in those shades of gray very nicely, in plain English. I don't know that I needed it, but why take any chances if I have a brain cramp?

    I filled in all the anatomical plates in the front of the CPT, and labeled what each part/organ/etc. does. I had no anatomy background going into MBC, so I figured I could use any advantage I could get. And yes, I did refer to it a couple of times during the exam.

    I did a bit of highlighting, but not too much, as highlighting everything can be worse than not highlighting at all.

    Now, there seems to be a difference of opinion regarding how much you can or can't write in the manuals. I was never made aware that there were any limitations. I would ask your teacher, or call the AAPC customer service number to get clarification on how much is too much, as far as writing in the manuals goes.

    And keep in mind that everyone's exam is different, so you may not have the same kinds of questions I did (I seemed to have an abundance of reports on my test). Also, everything you were taught in class (anatomy, coding, terminology, insurance) is fair game. So if you're weak in one of those areas, put some notes (within any applicable limitations) in your manuals to bolster your knowledge.

    Remember, the answers are there, and you've been taught (hopefully) how to find the right answers. Be confident and if you feel overwhelmed during the exam, put your pencil down for a minute or two and chill out. You can pass this exam!

    Good luck...


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