Exam always bring fear in our mind. When I left the school and college, I thought I will never have to face any more exams in future. But, it was not like that for me and other medical coders. When I entered into medical coding, I was not aware of any medical coding certification exams. As I started gaining experience, I was then started gaining knowledge about CPC or CCS exam. Since CCS (Certified coding Specialist) exam conducted by AHIMA gives only one attempt to clear the exam, many coders would not apply for this exam. Even, when I was into outpatient coding I was told to first go for CPC (Certified Professional Coder) exam conducted by AAPC, which can be passed or cleared in two attempts. But, I always prepared myself to clear any exam in first attempt. Now, since I have finished almost six years as CPC certified coder, I would just like to share some fundamental rules for CPC exam, which might help you in clearing this exam.
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Be focused from Day 1
My teacher always use to say in school, you can get anything in your life if you are totally focused in achieving it. So, the important fundamental rule here is, just start preparing yourself from the beginning and work hard till you clear the CPC exam. Since, CPC exam has two attempts and the passing marks is just 70%, most of us think it is easy to achieve it. But, one should not forget, if you don’t study, even an easy question becomes difficult to answer. Whenever you get some tips for clearing CPC exam, learn something from it. I have seen medical coders, getting all the information through internet and passing the exam without any professional training. If you are really dedicated and determined to clear this exam, you can easily do so, just be FOCUSED to your goal.
This is really very important rule to understand, you should always be optimistic. When I was preparing for CPC exam, there are lot of negative thoughts going around me. This happens, when you are surrounded by negative thinking people. Always try to be in a company of positive minded people. If you are having negative thoughts in your mind, they will constantly lose your confidence. Many times my seniors who failed to clear CPC exam in first attempt, tried to build fear in me for this exam. The main fundamental rule to follow here is just don’t bother what others are saying, follow what your heart says. Sometimes, people around you makes things complicated and one should be prepared to deal with such situations.
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Practice hard with Sample CPC papers
If you really want to clear any exam, you should always first solve the model question papers of that exam. This is really a game changer technique to clear CPC exam. If you want to prepare for CPC exam, solving sample question paper will be the best technique to follow. The CPC exam has 150 questions and the allotted time is 5 hours 40 minutes. Now, when you attempt the first time, you will struggle to manage the time for the sample CPC question paper. So, time is a very big factor in clearing this exam. When I was preparing for this exam, our trainer has told us not to waste time on difficult questions, go ahead and solve the easy ones first. If you solve the sample paper, you will avoid all these silly errors done during the CPC exam.
Attempt full Question paper
Since, the CPC exam has no negative marking, you should not miss any question. The fundamental rule is just finish the whole paper in the allotted time. No negative marks mean you can do some guess-work as well in the end. This is really important to remember, because many coders miss to attempt all the questions and then in the results they fail in the exam with just few marks. Hence, while solving model or sample CPC question paper, the coders should always manage the time and attempt every question. This is one of the major reason, why medical coders apply for CPC exam, since there is no negative marking. When I gave this exam, I have tried to solve all the one or two-line questions first and then went for bigger questions. With this approach I was able to finish the whole paper, you can also follow the same technique in your next CPC Exam.
Be Confident during Exam day
Many of us are so scared so much of exam, that even if we are prepared confidently we will feel nervous during the exam. This nervousness should be absent during CPC exam. If you lose your confidence, you will forget all the ICD and CPT coding guidelines during exam. The more you will be focused the more easily you will find the answers. And always, carry a chilled water bottle to keep you mind cool during exam. If you find any difficult question, keep it aside and solve the other simple questions. This way you can gain some confidence which will help you in finding the answers for other questions. During exam, keep checking the clock and try to finish the paper before half an hour. The remaining time can be used to check the question paper again. This technique can be used find any unanswered question and wrong answer.
Hope, these 5 fundamental rules will be really helpful for you to crack the CPC Exam in future. Do share your thoughts on CPC exam preparation in the comment section.