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Get Yourself Certified: How to Study for the CPC Exam

CPC Exam

Years of hard work and studying has brought you to this point. It’s time to take your CPC exam and get your medical billing and coding certification. Even though you’ve taken classes and you have the knowledge you can’t help but feel a little nervous.

What if you go in and everything you learned goes out the window? Take a deep breath. You’ll be fine as long as you do a bit of study prep.

Are you not the best at that? Don’t worry, we’ll help you with that part. Keep reading for a complete guide on how to study for your CPC exam.



The Exam

Before you prepare for the exam you'll need to know what to expect. We're going to briefly go over what the exam covers and what the requirements are to pass.


What Does it Cover

The exam is going to cover medical terminology, Modifiers, HCPCS, evaluation and management visit codes, ICD-10-CM, radiology, medicine, path & lab, and anesthesia.

On top of these processes, you're also going to need to be familiar with a few human body systems. These are the musculoskeletal system, respiratory system, integumentary system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, urinary system, endocrine/nervous system, reproductive system, eye/ear system.
Requirements to Pass

Medical billing and coding requirements call for you to at least make a score of 70% or more to pass. You can miss 45 out of 150 questions and still pass the test.

You have around 3 minutes to answer each question and still make the time requirements. This means that it's not a good idea to stay on a question that's stumping you for too long. 


1. Spend the Most Time with the CPT Manual

Out of all the things on the test, you're going to spend the most time with your CPT manual. While you'll still have plenty of questions on the other stuff, a lot of them are centered around the CPT codes.

Study your manual so until you know it like the back of your hand. You'll also want to be able to navigate through it quickly because you can take it into the test area with you. We'll get into that a little later. 


2. Review Medical Terminology

Before you can get certified you'll need to have a passing score on the test and two years of experience. When you're gathering this experience (probably via internship) you will pick up a lot of medical terminologies.

Even though your brain knows the information though, that doesn't mean you won't panic and blank on these common terms. It's a good idea to create a bunch of flashcards that you can use to study the terms and also review information from your courses. 


3. Take As Many Practice Exams as You Can

On top of studying there are practice exams that you can take. You'll want to study for them like they are the real thing and take as many as you can. Time yourself much like you would be timed when you go in and take the test.

When you're done, mark any of the questions that you got wrong so you can focus more of your study efforts in sections that you're sloppy with. You should keep taking these practice exams until you are consistently making 80% on them. They will be easier than the real thing so if you can't even do that much you aren't ready for the test quite yet. 


4. Setting Up Your Manual

Going back to something we mentioned earlier, you can take all of your manuals in with you. It's important that you make preparing these a vital part of your studying process. 


Make Notes in the Margins

The first step in preparing your manuals is to write any important information in the margins. Keep in mind that any notes that you take can not contain any information that is specific to the test.

You also can't tape anything into them. All of your notes must be handwritten by you. 


Mark Important and Frequently Used Sections

Mark any important information that you find yourself backtracking to a lot because you can't remember it otherwise. The manual makes this easy because it comes with little tabs that you can stick to it.

Again, there will be a lot of questions about different codes so it's a good idea to mark these off for quick reference. Other than codes, the manual also has a lot of pictures and diagrams of the human anatomy.

You'll want to mark these sections. Trust us, you'll be using them a lot. 


Let it Make Since to You

During your test, you'll be given questions that put you in the spot you would be in if you were actually performing the job. To this end, any information that you write into the manual needs to make sense to you or it will be hard for you to answer hypothetical questions organically. 


How to Prepare Yourself for the CPC Exam

You have been preparing yourself for years to pass the CPC exam. You can't afford to mess up when you've come so close!

Make sure the night before your exam you get a good night's rest, get breakfast in the morning and keep these study tips in mind so you can live up to your potential. Go get em!

Medical billing and coding isn't the only job field that requires you to take an exam to get certified. Check out the business section of our blog for more job tips like the ones you read here.

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