I am taking my test next month. I just wanted to find out what is important to highlight in the CPT book. Also what do i really need to study beside the looking over the coding stuff. After taking and passing the test has many people been able to find coding jobs. I have read that they want a couple years experince first. Any advise would be very helpful. thank you
I passed my exam the first time. My suggestion is to be very familiar with the CPT/ICD manuals and try to give yourself a time limit per question. I took a highlighter with me to help with key words in the coding portion of the exam. Be familiar with terminology and anatomy. USE YOUR ICD MANUAL!! If you are unsure of a question or feel it is taking too long to answer, circle it in your book and come back to it at the end if you have time. There may be easier questions you miss because you run out of time and some of those questions will reduce your time you spend per question because it is easier, then you can tackle to more complicated! Good luck!
the test was not easy for sure, I did pass. I used the practice tests and timed myself
until I got close to the time they give you to answer the questions, that definitely helped me.
Don't panic, just test, don't think about the time you have, that will stress you out more
I took the exam this past Saturday and felt very confident after the test, got my results this morning and got a 59%. Apparently I did horribly on Path & Lab too. The school I went to before the test failed to mention this exam was mainly scenarios and I spent most of my time studying Medicare/ ICD/ HCPCS/ E&M codes/ and anatomy. So this time, I'll have to focus on getting those scenarios down.
I too failed my first attempt. I used the AAPC guideline to study from which was very helpful. I'm wondering if the program affects if one passes or fails. Mine was a tech school, 8 week course which did cover all aspects. I do have an extensive medical background which was to my advantage. I signed up for the online exercises and plan to do them soon since my retake is next month. I did a quick review of questions and answered "easier" areas first. However I ran out of time and had to fill in questions at random.
I provide below all the things I did to pass the exam:
1. There's no substitute for hard work and practice. So, study hard with full concentration and 3 weeks before the Cert. Exam. keep aside all your books and practice, practice, practice.
2. The only way to practice is to purchase the question/answer modules of 150 questions from different sources (you will find many on the internet plus 3 from AAPC). I purchased a total of 7 modules. You can share the expenses with friends/study buddies.
3. In 3 weeks you should practice each module 3 times. By the third time you should get 80% and be able to complete or almost complete within 5hrs, 40mins. Read and understand the correct answers with justifications.
4. The day before the exam do absolutely nothing.....maybe get a good massage (which is what I did)
5. Make sure you have at least 6 #2 sharpened (not too sharp) pencils, good quality eraser, couple highlighters and a sharpener and a good pen for signing. Get a watch with countdown function, if you can. Begin the countdown as soon as the proctor says begin.
6. I'm assuming that all the good stuff of highlighting, tabbing etc. has been done. In the CPT book I tore out the modifier pages and stapled them to the inside front cover. This was very helpful.
7. Driving to the exam--I was 1 hour from the exam location....not good. So, I spent the previous night in a hotel near the exam location (10 min drive). Be there at least 15 mins early.
8. Breakfast--have a heavy breakfast but not too heavy.....3 eggs, toast, no hash browns or bacon, and only one normal cup of coffee. If you must, drink only a little water. Wear warm clothing.
9. Do not take any food with you and only one small bottle of water (try not to drink any water during the exam) and go to the bathroom just before the exam begins. Do not go to the bathroom during the exam. Try to train for this when you're practicing. THIS IS REALLY A BIG TIME SAVER.
10. Now for the actual exam:
(i) Do not answer the questions sequentially but look for the shortest questions first. Finish the questions which do not require coding (anatomy, terminology, general type). I found the easiest questions at the very end. I did the whole exam from back to front in the first pass. Highlight the questions you have answered and make sure you're filling the correct answer bubbles.
(ii) Operative Reports take a lot of time to read. So, first look at the question. You may not have to read the whole Report every time. Look at the choices; are there multiple ICD9/CPT codes? Sometimes, if you get the correct ICD9 codes, you do not even have to do the CPT code or the choice is only 1 out of 2.
(iii) I find E&M codes take more time and very easy to make a mistake. I left them till the end.
(iv) For other questions use the process of elimination. Rule out the obvious wrong ones. You often have to choose between 2 answers. If you can't decide, don't waste time, pick one. You have a 50% chance of being right.
(v) Don't spend too much time on any one question about 2 mins, no more in the first pass.
(vi) Some questions will have answers with modifiers. Check on the modifiers for appropriateness. This will eliminate 1 or 2 of the answers.
(vii) Follow your first instinct. It is usually the correct one.
(viii) Any answer beginning with an E code is out unless it is about E codes only.
(ix) Keep track of the time left. When you have only 15 mins left, begin selecting answers on a random basis. You have a 25% chance of being right. Do not leave any question unanswered.
That's about it. Good luck, all.
Failed by 2pts
I'm pretty bummed I took the CPC exam for first time and failed with a 68%..so close. I received 60's in most areas, 62
A/P, 40s on PA/Lab and 30000. Any tips for my next go round? I retake 8/9th.
I'm taking the CPC exam in 41 days and counting. Reading all these stories about failing the test is scaring me. I would love to have some advice about passing. I just want to take it just one time and pass. Can anyone give me helpful tips, also what notes are approved to take to the exam? I have the AAPC study guide, the practice exam booklet, my ICD-9-CM 2014 manual, HCPCS Level II, and my CPT manual. Please help.
You are not allowed any reference materials for the exam other than a CPT manual, ICD-9 manual, and HCPCS manual. Dictionaries, study guides, cell phones, etc. are not allowed.
The single best tip I can offer for passing the test on the first try is managing your time effectively. Go through the test answering all of the easier questions the first time through. The reason people run out of time is spending too much time on more difficult questions and leaving some very short easy questions unanswered. The difficult questions are not worth any more points than the easier questions.
Another suggestion is to really review the introduction to each chapter of the CPT manual, especially the chapters for specialties that are unfamiliar to you.
Take water and snacks with you for the test. Five hours and forty minutes is a long time to go without food or water. Do watch how much fluid you drink, however. You are allowed bathroom breaks, but that leaves less time for the test! Get a good night's sleep before the exam and take a deep breath before starting the exam.
I brought snacks/water and was able to manage my time I completed all questions 1-2 minutes before time was called. I was nervous to say the least going in and not knowing what to really expect. I jumped around answered all AP questions and short CPT answers first and saved the long op reports to the end. I'm currently focusing on the areas where I scored the lowest but want to in sure that's good enough. I don't want to retake with a 68% or lower, I want to pass this time. 😊 Any study references or tips to brush up on PA/Lab and 30000?
Originally Posted by greatbiller