CPC® Exam Preparation
Everything You Need to Know to Pass the CPC Exam and Become a Certified Professional Coder

So you want to be a medical coder? We might be biased, but we think that's a great decision! After all, medical coding is one of the fastest growing professions in the healthcare industry. Whether you have years of experience as a medical coder or you're brand-new to the field, we'll help you get on track to becoming a Certified Professional Coder (CPC).

We'll break down exactly what you need to do to get your CPC credential. And we'll answer the most commonly asked questions about how to best prepare for the CPC exam.

First, let's take a look at your background. That will determine what your next steps will be.



  1. Take the prerequisite Medical Terminology and Anatomy & Pathophysiology Courses

    To pass the CPC exam — and be a competent coder — an understanding of medical terminology and anatomy is crucial. With AAPC's Medical TerminologyAnatomy, and Pathophysiology courses, you'll get a solid foundation that will help you pass the CPC exam — and thrive in your career.

  2. Enroll in a credible CPC course preparation program Save up to 51% through Oct 31st

    The best way to prepare for the CPC exam is to enroll in AAPC's CPC Preparation Course. This training program, provided by AAPC and licensed education providers, will ensure you receive a comprehensive education on everything you'll encounter on the certification exam. In fact, AAPC-trained students are twice as likely to pass the CPC exam.

  3. Get ready for the exam with practice tests and study guides

    Study guidesexam reviewsexam review classes, and practice tests are a great way to help you prepare for the certification exam. AAPC practice tests are similar to the certification exam. If you get a question incorrect, the right answer is explained. Not only do these practice tests give you an idea of what your certification exam will look like, they also give you the opportunity to practice your time management, which is crucial to passing the certification exam.

  4. Pass the CPC exam

    The CPC exam features 100 multiple-choice questions and must be finished in 4 hours.

Start Here

  1. Enroll in a credible CPC course preparation program Save up to 51% through Oct 31st

    The best way to prepare for the CPC exam is to enroll in AAPC's CPC Preparation Course. This training program, provided by AAPC and licensed education providers, will ensure you receive a comprehensive education on everything you'll encounter on the certification exam. In fact, AAPC-trained students are twice as likely to pass the CPC exam.

  2. Get ready for the exam with practice tests and study guides

    Study guidesexam reviewsexam review classes, and practice tests are a great way to help you prepare for the certification test. The AAPC practice test is similar to the final exam. When you get a question incorrect, the right answer is explained. Not only do these practice tests give you an idea of what your final exam will look like, they also give you the opportunity to practice your time management — so you won't feel rushed during the certification exam.

  3. Pass the CPC exam

    The CPC exam features 100 multiple-choice questions and must be completed in less than 4 hours.

Start Here

  1. Get ready for the exam with practice tests and study guides

    Study guidesexam reviewsexam review classes, and practice tests are a great way to help you prepare for the certification test. The AAPC practice test is similar to the final exam. When you get a question incorrect, the right answer is explained. Not only do these practice tests give you an idea of what your final exam will look like, they also give you the opportunity to practice your time management — so you won't feel rushed during the certification exam.

  2. Pass the CPC exam

    The CPC exam features 100 multiple-choice questions and must be finished in 4 hours.

Start Here



For more information on how to prepare and what to expect on exam day, see below.

How to Prepare for the CPC Exam

In addition to taking AAPC's CPC Preparation Course, here are the top 3 things you can do to prepare for the CPC exam:

  • Become familiar with your manuals. You will be allowed to use AMA's CPT® Professional Edition and your choice of ICD-10-CM and HCPCS Level II books during the exam. Thus, it is strongly recommended that you are familiar with and have highlighted important areas in these books so you can quickly locate codes, guidelines, tables, and instructions during the test. And since the exam focuses on CPT® coding, you should invest extra time learning your way around this book.
  • Know what to expect on the exam. AAPC's 385-page study guide reviews each section of the CPC exam in detail, providing practical examples, sample questions, and test-taking techniques.
  • Take a practice test. We highly recommend that you take the 50-question online practice exams to help you become familiar with the format and time constraints of the real test. The three practice exams can be purchased separately or as a bundle.


What to Expect on Exam Day

When you register for the CPC exam, you will be given detailed instructions on where the test will be taken, what time you should arrive and what you need to bring. People often wonder if the CPC exam is hard. We'll say this: If you have taken the training course, studied, and are familiar with your CPT®, ICD-10-CM and HCPCS code books, the test will be demanding, but not difficult. Here's a quick overview of what you can expect on exam day.

  • If you are not at the location 30 minutes prior to the exam start time you are considered tardy, late entrances will not be allowed. Be sure to bring all necessary items (photo ID, #2 pencils, an eraser, coding books, etc.) and listen carefully as the proctor provides instructions. You will then have the chance to ask any questions. If you are confused or concerned about anything, it’s important to clarify. After all, someone else might be wondering the same thing.

  • Before you begin the test, take a moment and breathe. You have prepared for this. You have your well-marked code books by your side. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your coding expertise.

  • You'll have 4 hours to finish the exam, giving you approximately 2.4 minutes to answer each of the 100 multiple-choice questions. You can save time by reading the possible answers before reading the question and by skipping the more difficult questions and returning to them later. It’s important to answer every question, even if you aren’t sure. Your best guess is better than no answer at all.

  • The questions assess 17 areas of knowledge, most of which are presented as coding scenarios to test application of CPT® procedure codes, HCPCS Level II supply codes, and ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes. The end of the exam has 10 cases that tests the ability to read and accurately code the medical record.

  • You will be able to reference approved code books — the AMA's CPT® Professional Edition, as well as your choice of ICD-10-CM and HCPCS Level II code manuals — during the exam.

  • For a passing score of 70%, you must get at least 70 questions correct. If you incorrectly answer more than 30 questions, you will not pass.

  • Your results will be shared with you online in your My AAPC account. Exam results are normally released within 7 to 10 business days after the exam has taken place. Please do not call AAPC in reference to exam result until after the 10 business days. exam results will not be released over the telephone

    Due to the grading process of the CIC exam, it may take 10-15 business days after the exam has taken place.

    In the month of January there may be a longer wait time due to reviews of new content.

    June, November, and December may be a longer wait time due to high volume of exams being taken.


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