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Thread: focus & for 5hrs 40 min cpc exam how??

  1. #1

    Red face focus & for 5hrs 40 min cpc exam how??

    AAPC: Back to School
    im taking my cpc exam thurday 5/13, im extremely nervous... havent been able to sleep since saturday, i want to pass so bad, i m worried about siting for 5hrs and 45 min and to keep a good focus, i have been studying my butt of for the past week very hard, today i did 3 hrs of practice exams and it just kills me to sit that long and focus, i have to get up and take a break, is it different when you are accually taking the exam??? ive heard it goes fast?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire


    I took the exam years ago, (when it was "only" five hours), but found that the time flew by, and that staying focused was not a problem. I did take a couple of mini-breaks to stretch and relax.

    Because I have some adult ADD, I find that caffeine keeps me focused. It doesn't work for everyone, but it's a suggestion. If it makes you jittery, stick with water!

    If you've studied the CPT and ICD-9 guidelines, have a good general knowledge of A&P and terminology, have done several practice exams and have read and understood the sequencing and modifier rules, you have prepared as much as you possibly can. Try not to let your nerves rattle you. It's a challenging exam, but not impossible.

    The best bit of advice I was given (and I followed) was to not study the night before, get a good night's sleep, and know that you've done all you can to do be successful. It must have worked, because I passed.

    Most of all, good luck!
    Pam Brooks, MHA, CPC, PCS, COC
    Coding Manager
    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
    Dover, NH 03820

    If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney

  3. #3


    well today i took it and 5hrs &40 mn was not long enough!! i still had 45 questions to answer!

  4. #4


    When I took mine I finished the last question just as the proctor said pencils down. It's a rough test and I think 5 1/2 hrs is not enough. I think they should give 6 based on how difficult it is. I went through and started on the first question but if it took longer than 3 mins to find the answer I would skip it and go to the next question

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Albany, NY

    Default I'm with Pam

    I, too, was one of the "five hour" test recipients and like Pam, with some suspected ADD myself, turned to caffeine for focus. What was worse is, the year I took my test it was not offered in my area and I had to do a 4 hour drive at 3:30 in the morning (back in the days before GPS) so I drank Red Bull the whole way :-) Yes, not for everyone. If you're not a caffeine-addicted, functional ADD'er then this could very well throw you over the edge of insanity, but worrying won't get you anything but performance anxiety on the day of the test. Everyone wants to pass the first time, but you're either ready or not. Carefully consider ALL the answers before you make your mark. If the test mentality is the same as back then, there will be a right-ish answer and a REALLY right answer. Pay attention to detail and don't get hung up. Hit a hard one, move past it and fill it in later. That will guarantee that you finish at the very least the things you know well and give you the freedom to finish the harder ones with whatever time is left. I think 5:45 is generous. Don't let it scare you. If you're ready, it will be fine.

  6. #6


    Focusing is the easy part. You'll want more time, believe me. Not letting your nerves get to you when you only have an hour left is the hard part.

  7. #7

    Default Pace Yourself

    I was extremely nervous about the timing too....what I found to help me finish in time...and with about 30 mins to look over stuff at the end, was keeping good track of time...I divided the 5 hours and 40 mins by the 150 questions...and kept a few key points in my brain...for example....if your exam starts at 8:00 am...by 9 you should have about 30 questions answered....by 10 am... around 60 questions and so on....do the math to be sure...but this way...if you find you are going too slow...you only have to speed up a little...instead of suddenly rushing and trying to do too much too fast...this causes you to panic, which therefore breaks your concentration...making it harder to answer accurately...if you know ahead of time how far off you are, it will be easier to "catch up"...if you wait until they tell you you have 30 mins left and you still have 50 questions to answer...you're in trouble...keep from making time your enemy by staying one step ahead of it...Also, take the CPC practice exams beforehand -it will really help you get a good feel for how fast you have to go to get all the questions answered in time. At first I was leary to spend the money on them...but found it to be extremely beneficial. Hope this helps.....I know it's hard, but try to stay as relaxed as you can when taking the test too....this will help keep you focued for accuracy.

    I also agree with Pam...Don't study the night before...I'm a major night owl...but my professor told us to get a good night's sleep. ...Craming does more harm than good that night...I followed her advice--I packed by stuff the night before...my code books, pencils, etc.. so that I didn't have to rush around in the morning--and went to bed at a decent hour so that my head was as clear as possible....another must for keeping focus for all those hours.

    Good Luck!!

    Elsie, CPC-A
    Last edited by Elsie16; 06-18-2010 at 09:50 PM.

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