The CPC examination contains 150 multiple-choice questions.
It is fairly harsh since it takes about 5to 6 hours.
You have two breaks in the middle.
The price of the exam is $300.
However, if you are an AAPC member, you will pay only $260.
Individuals pay $125 of annual dues while students pay $70.
This exam precisely tests the grasp of the entire coding process of the coder, including medical terminology, code sets, and more.
The CPC exam covers 24 subject areas, which include medicine, radiology, anesthesia, and more, according to the AAPC’s website.
Some of those areas are sections of the CPT code manual, e.g., Radiology or Evaluation and Management.
Other areas, such as Physiology or Anatomy, are a part of the daily skill set of a coder.
The questions in the test aren’t grouped by the topic they relate to.
So, you will be examined on all 24 sections of medical coding but you won’t find the markers like “This question relates to the anesthesia section”.
Instead, you will be asked about human anatomy, or anesthesia, or surgery, etc.
You will find a number of test cases for practicing coding in the test.
These questions will contain a medical report to which you will have to choose the right set of codes from the possible answers.
For instance, a test case can be as follows:
“Melanie, a patient aged 45, visits the doctor and has symptoms that include fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.
Having performed a quick strep test, the doctor confirms streptococcal sore throat as a diagnosis.
The doctor prescribes the patient an antibiotic Amoxicillin.
Which code below is correct for this diagnosis, prescription, and procedure?”.
Questions can also test general knowledge, such as “Which types of joints are synovial?”.
These questions don’t have an attached test case.
This question is related to the musculoskeletal system but the test doesn’t specify it.
You will need knowledge of medical terminology, code sets, best practices, and coding process to pass the test.
You will pass the CPC exam if you earn a 70% score (answer 105 questions correctly).
If you fail, you can retake the test one time for free.
After passing the exam, you need to meet a few other criteria before you will get certified by the AAPC.
You should become a member of the organization to complete the CPC certification.
Also, certificates are available to individuals with two years of experience or those who agree to complete an apprenticeship
So, the CPC exam is a great option for those who already started a career in medical coding.
You should remember that the AAPC holds the copyright for all information on the test, including past tests.
So the best way to prepare for this examination is by taking a course held by the AAPC.
You can buy study books and other materials that will help you prepare as well.