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Thread: exam prep suggestions

  1. #1

    Angry exam prep suggestions

    AAPC: Back to School
    I failed my first exam that i took on 19 but am scheduled to take the next retake. I'd like to know what would help me succeed before I get to frustrated and want to give up. I think taking it the third time would be totally discouraging. Here is how I prepped the first time: successfully completed one year of career school (3 semesters of coding) with 4.0 average. Studied for a month in advance. Took prep courses. Used cpc coding exam review. Next time I am also going to review the exam and approach it differently. My biggest weakness is time - not accuracy. Any help would be appreciated. Not sure why the test is made with such a high failure ratio - my understanding is that it is 50%.....Thanks people!

  2. #2

    Wink testing strategies

    Did you finish the test in the time given? My strategy was to answer every question the first time, if you don't know pick your best guess/answer then put a mark for yourself in the margin. If you have time at the end you can
    go back and spend more time on the ones you were not sure about. It is better to answer every question than to leave any blank! If you are stronger at icd-9 codes think of those first or if you are stronger at cpt codes think about those first when answering a question. Also, you can use your icd-9 book as a dictionary if you are unsure of a medical term. Don't forget about your guidelines!! Good luck!

  3. #3


    I took it on the 19th and passed after attempting the CCS-P from AHIMA twice so maybe third time will be charmed! I have learned through my work and school experience and taking these exams that nothing is more important than knowing the ICD and CPT guidelines!!! You have to know the guidelines, we can code great but if we arent aware of which code should go first or what to code and what not to code, we will get the answers wrong. I had to reread and study them constantly and I know that helped me to pass this time. Good luck! You can do it, don't give up, it will be soooo worth it when you finally succeed! Gail

  4. #4


    The test is very intimidating. The best thing to do is to know your books. If you are very familiar with your books, you can find the answers quickly. Understand the guidelines. Either skip the questions you are not sure of or use your best guess. I think you have prepared the best you can. Don't try to cram the night before. Just rest and get a good night sleep. Good luck on your next test. I think you will do fine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sarasota FL

    Thumbs up Exam prep suggestions

    You can't compare the CCS-P and the CPC exam. The CCS-P shows that you understand concepts such as billing and reimbursement, HIM, registries, and that you can correctly code any physician-based scenario.... to my mind the CCS-P is a much tougher exam than CPC because the concepts of coding have to be applied, it is not all multiple choice.
    The CPC is certainly comprehensive but all the sections of the exam just need you to know your guidelines inside out. To prepare I just kept reading and reading them, redoing the sample questions in the CPC study guide, learning the E&M guidelines and so on. Time is definitely not your friend so don't do what I did and ponder over the first few questions (the scary integumentary op reports) for way too long. I was then playing catch-up for the rest of the test which automatically puts you under stress. Look the question over, eliminate a couple of answers, but highlight the question to return to it nearer the end and just move on after a couple of minutes. It's hard to apply that discipline but you have to be TIME-AWARE.
    Good luck..you'll do it.

  6. #6


    I know the test can be both frustrating and stressful. Don't give up. When I took the exam for the third time, I tried a different approach. I started the test from the back. Answered the questions I knew first. Try not to spend too much time on one question. Mark it and move on. Go back to it later. Prepare your books. I wrote helpful notes and highlighted important information. I also tabbed my books so i can find the codes faster. I passed on my fourth try. It's good your retaking your test soon. While everything is still fresh in your head. Have a positive attitude. Don't give up on pursuing your goal. You can do it. GOOD LUCK!!!

  7. #7


    Don't feel bad, and don't give up, I took test on the 19th too! and failed, I noticed I took to long on the reports, and should have went to back of test first to do terminology then I would have had more time for reports. Also I was weak in Path/Lab and Radiology, I had some practice test someone had made up for me, cause I didn't have money for real practice test with disc. I'm not a loser so I immediately signup for test again. I chose Sept. Let's Do This!!

  8. #8


    WASSOCK, I am not comparing the two exams, I was simply stating that I too did not pass my first time and it happened to be the CCS-P exam. BOTH exams need for you to have complete knowledge of all guidelines, THANK YOU!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Gulf To Bay, Clwtr FL


    For the questions I did not know the answers to, I did process of elimination. I looked @ the answers given and then look for the codes that were NOT right, took them out of equation, and it pretty much narrowed it down to 2 answers. After that, its up to your coding skills!

    The school that I attended it Clearwater Fl suggested we work in the field for a few years after school before obtaining our CPC. The girls that tried to take it right out of school failed a few times before passing. The ones who waited, me included, passed the first time. 3 yrs is a long time to wait after school if you are trying to make the big bucks right away, but it really worked for me. I thought the test was easy. Probably because I had been coding for 4 years by that point.

    Keep trying, you will get it!!!

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