The top two organizations in the professional medical coding community that offers certification is the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Students who wants to become a certified medical coder have a choice between the two exams offered by these organizations. A high number of people wants to get into medical coding because of the better salaries and career options, which makes the certification exams difficult and quite challenging, especially if the student is not fully prepared for the exams properly. Not only do they need the knowledge and experience in medical coding, but they also need to time and question-answering strategies for the actual exam. One of the main reason cited for failing the certification exams by past students is because of a lack of time. Here are some reason why time is an issue for you.
Spending too much time on one question
Although you may be able to answer all the questions on the certification exam, it is important that you actually have enough time to go through it all. The nearly 6 hours might seem long but because there are so many questions to go through in reality you only get about 2 and a half minutes to answer each one on average. The kicker here is that each question is worth the same whether you spent more time on it or not. To avoid this costly mistake, always allot a certain aomunt of time for each question. You have to move on when the time is up. This is often an effective tactic because it forces you to come up with strategies to maximize time. Scan through the questions at the start and then do all the easy ones first. This way you free up more time for the harder questions later.
Not timing yourself in practice tests
This is something that is obvious but not everyone have the discipline to fully carry out. After all, the real CPC exam takes nearly 6 hours to complete. It can be physically and mentally exhausting, so you need to practice for that as well. A lot of people are unable to fully commit the 6 hours needed of themselves in this mock exam as they get distracted by chores, phone calls, etc. The CPC exam is like a marathon, so you’ll need to develop time management strategies that suits you. Without doing at least one timed practice exam, you’ll be walking into the CPC exam hall without being fully prepared. If you’re unable to commit the full hours at least break it up into chunks that are timed so you know how fast you’re able to answer questions.
Because the CPC exam is an open-book test, you’ll be looking up codes on your CPT book a lot. It can be surprising how much time can be wasted just by flipping through the book to look for certain chapters, pages, or codes. If you’re not familiar with your CPT book, then this can be a fatal mistake. Practice flipping through the book rapidly to look for certain codes and remember where everything are. Developing a good technique for marking up your CPT book for easy referral is vital here. The use of colors, highlighting, tabs, etc. can mean the difference between passing and failing the CPC exam. One final word here is to make sure to check and find out what is allowed and not allowed in respect to this.
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