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Not worth the money put into CPC

  1. Default suggestion
    Medical Coding Books
    If you can, purchase the Study Guide. It helps immensly and if you can, study with someone who has taken the test. It really is difficult but if you have the expectation of not passing, then you will do just that...not pass. Read your books, highlight, write in them, put tabs on important information, ask those who have taken the test what to expect. You can also ask coding friends for redacted op reports or how to obtain them. Go in with a positive attitude and you'll do well. GOOD LUCK to everyone!
    Veronica Robles, CPC

  2. Question Super Nervous
    Ok so i'm scheduled 2 take my CPC exam next month and I'm super excited and nervous!!!! I have read all the comments made and they really helped me, but I was also wondering is it's necessary 2 purchased the study guide does it help better than just reviewing the book? And also if there is any more good suggestions you guys can give cause I am hoping 2 do this once....the course wasn't easy so I do not expect the test 2 be either. all advice is welcomed

  3. Default
    Are all the questions multiple choice?

  4. #34
    Milwaukee WI
    Default It's already LONGER time frame than when I took it
    Quote Originally Posted by coderwoman View Post
    It would seem that if a little more time were allotted to the coding exam, a larger percentage would pass. I.... Perhaps AAPC should rethink the time frame and make adjustments since so many seem to experience this as the ultimate reason for failure.
    When I took BOTH the CPC and CEMC exams the time limit was 5 hours. The exam was still 150 questions (like today), still included notes to read through, anatomy, every section of CPC, questions on HCPCS, ICD-9, etc.

    You need to be prepared. It is a challenging test that measures your readiness to actually work in an office setting. Believe me, the real world scenarios are no picnic (and we don't have any multiple choice answers to help us narrow it down).

    Off my soapbox now ...

    Test anxiety is a bear. I am fortunate that I've not suffered from it, but I know that it is real and many people struggle with it. The only advice I can give you is what I tell everyone before beginning the exam whenever I've proctored any of the AAPC exams. Stretch your arms to the sky. Then shake them out to loosen your muscles. Take a deep breath. Remember - the answers are right there on the test ... Yes, the answers are right in front of you.

    I hope that helps.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC

  5. Default
    Quote Originally Posted by Jashani1 View Post
    Are all the questions multiple choice?
    Yes. All quesitons are multiple choice with a few true and false.

  6. Default
    I have a degree in Medical Assisting but work for a life insurance company right now. I also have a certificate in medical insurance. I will be taking the CPC exam next year. I am hoping to get a job in the hospital or specialty office and get an entry level job and work myself up to be coder. I am trying to stay positive since the economy is so bad right now. I appreciate all of the tips for studying. I will keep taking the test until I pass. When I took my insurance class, it was 1/2 medical insurance and 1/2 coding and I did very well in the course but unfortunately I could not find a job where I could do coding and moved away. I worked in claims and paid claims but never coding. I have always thought about it over the years but never knew about how to pursue it so now here I am today. I feel that this is my passion and hopefully I will be able to pursue it.
    Last edited by steels816; 10-07-2011 at 11:06 AM.

  7. #37
    Thumbs up Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by bettinadodd View Post
    I employed the following strategy and passed the CPC exam on my first try with an 84:
    1. Skip any question that is a page long - there are only a couple of them, and they aren't
    worth the time investment.
    2. View the exam as a timed puzzle which you have 5 hours and 40 minutes to solve - it's
    not all about the knowledge - you won't have time to look up the vast majority of the
    codes anyway.
    3. DON'T read the question first - go straight to the answer options. By the time you
    determine what codes to look up and then find them, you will have forgotten what you
    read anyway.
    4. LOOK FOR PATTERNS!!! What you want to do is quickly eliminate 2 of the 4 options.
    Look for codes that appear in identical form in more than one answer option.
    5. If a code appears in identical format in all 4 options, ignore it, because it MUST be part
    of the answer, and you don't have time to look up codes that will not help you determine
    the correct of 4 choices. If a code appears in identical form in exactly 3 of the 4 answer
    choices, it is likely part of the answer, so eliminate the option that it does NOT appear
    in, and then ignore that code as well.
    6. If a code appears in identical form in exactly 2 of the answer choices, look THAT CODE
    up in your books (if you have a choice of ICD-9 vs. CPT, ICD-9 is easier - less to read).
    THEN, read the question. If the code fits with the information, delete the 2 choices that it
    does not appear in. If it doesn't fit, delete the 2 that it appears in and concentrate on the
    remaining 2 choices. Remember, the name of the game is to quickly eliminate 2 choices,
    so that you only have to deal with 2 possibilities.
    7. Once you have narrowed your choices down to 2 possibilities, look for SIMILAR codes
    between them - codes that differ from one another by only one numeral or decimal
    point, etc. Again, ICD-9 is easier than CPT if you have that option. Pick 2 similar codes,
    look those up, note the difference between them, and refer again to your information to
    determine the correct fit. Mark your answer and MOVE ON TO THE NEXT QUESTION.
    8. Remember, look up ONLY those codes that will help you narrow down your choices. You
    don't have time to look up everything. You must use your time judiciously and only look
    up those codes that are going to help you find the MOST LIKELY answer in
    approximately 2 minutes, because you have only 340 minutes to answer 150 questions.

    Best of luck to you. I passed my exam 15 months ago - still no job. Practically no one hires coders with no experience, so the trick is to find that "sidedoor" to slide in through - access registration specialist, HIS document imaging tech - these are two of the ones I'm shooting for. No luck yet, but I'm persistent. Everything is supposed to change in October 2013, so I'm trying to maintain hope.
    Thank you for posting these tips. I am taking my exam for the first time in a few weeks and I'm freaking out! I've just finished up the CPT cardiovascular section in the study guide and my head is spinning.

    I'm going to use your tips on the practice exams and see how I do

  8. Default
    Do not give up!!!! You guys can do it.... It is not a waste of money, It will pay in the long run.... I started off as front office and I took a CPC coding class then took my test and passed and now I am making great $$$$$ I was very lucky I had an amazing instructor... You just need to find the right teacher, Mentor to guide you...

  9. #39
    I agree with Teresa. Coding isn't for everyone and you must be passionate about it and like what you are doing. And when you get on the job you won't be able to eliminate the incorrect answer or guess at which one is presented. You must know the rules of coding! If you think the test is difficult just think what it is going to be like when you get on the job and have to look at a 4 or 5 page surgery report and determine the correct procedure codes!

    Good Luck to everyone and I hope you find your passion!

  10. Smile
    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa Collins View Post
    I have to agree with Roxanne. You must know the guidelines and where to look in the books for the answers. However, I did not write anything in any of my books, added no tabs, etc. and passed the exam on the first try in 2006.

    I think an important part of becoming a Certified Coder is in knowing that this is what you want to do......that this is "your field". Working as a Certified Coder and/or medical insurance biller is not for everyone. It is not something to go into because a friend suggested it to you or you find that some Certified Coders make lots of money.

    I think being a Certified Professional Coder is not "what you do", it is a part of "who you are".

    Before spending the money/taking the exam, look deep inside yourself and know without a doubt that this is what you want.....that this is "who you are". If you decide that it is, then study hard (I used the AAPC study guide and read CPT, ICD-9 and HCPS) and you'll do just fine.

    I hope someone finds this information to be beneficial to them.


    You raised some interesting points about really thinking is this the field I wish to enter in. I did do some research before taking classes about a year ago at the local community college. We are about the complete the 2nd part of the medical coding course. Some of my classmate are probably more ready to take it than I am. But my plan will be to study the guidelines, read the textbook again and practice, practice, practice. Hopefully I will be ready to take the exam in the spring.

    Thanks for the insight.


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