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Resolved How much time is enough time to study for CPC exam?

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Automated Robot
Staff member

Hey all waves!

I am registered to take the exam in December (first try). I completed the CPC training course, and just finished the Blitz review videos. I have just about 4 1/2 weeks to study guidelines, take the practice tests etc..

I am really nervous about this being enough time for me to be ready for the exam, but I don't see any more exam dates for late Dec or even early next year.

Should I go through with it? Or wait another month? I am really sick with nerves right now because I am worried about having enough time. :eek:


Answer Thread:

Ruth Sheets:

Well, of course, it depends on how much time each day or each week you can devote to your study and doing practice exams. Since you have already done the Blitz and presumably, marked up your manuals, I'd say start taking some TIMED practice exams and see how you do. The recommended list of practice exams is here. No matter how well or poorly you do, plan on studying the rationales before you take another practice exam. I would not wait to go over every last guideline before starting doing the practice exams, because time management practice you get from taking the practice exams is critical to success on the board exam.

You could intersperse the practice exams you do with more guideline study, but you will find that the practice exams will test you on your guidelines, so by taking them you will be doing a review of the key guidelines.

In years past, AAPC has told me that local chapters always have a lack of exam offerings the first couple months of the year because the new officers take awhile to get up to speed, and don't set up their exam schedules until a month or so into the year. They don't have to offer any exams in the first few months, if they want to wait until a later time. So, if you can get ready to take it in December, that would be best.

There is no need to panic! If you are having doubts about being ready, remember you do not have to believe what you think! (Surely, you don't believe everything you read or hear, do you? So why believe every negative thought that pops into the head?? 99.99% of them are totally false! Choose to let those negative thoughts be replaced with positive thoughts such as "I can spend time today to do a practice exam, or review the rationals, or review this area that I have difficulty with, etc." or simply, "I can do this"! Let positive thoughts support you in steadfast progress of getting ready for the exam.

If a week before the exam, you find yourself not getting at least an 85% on the practice exams, then fine, it is okay to cancel and reschedule it for a later time. Meanwhile, you have time to give it your best shot.

Good luck with your studying and practicing! :)


Thanks for the advice and support, Ms. Sheets! I think I just had an attack of the nerves...being out of school for 12 years and all (and the CPC prep course nearly killed me lol).

I have four practice exams from AAPC (they came with the course), plus the one freebie from the Blitz, so hopefully they'll be more than enough to tide me over. I will stick with the December date for now and see what happens.

BTW- I have one last question regarding studying CPT guidelines; is it best to just review the guidelines at the beginning of each chapter, or is it better to read the book cover to cover, since there are so many notes throughout it?

Thank you again. :)


Ruth Sheets:​

If you read the guidelines in the Introduction (starting on page xii in the Professional Edition CPT) and the guidelines at the beginning of each chapter that is the most important. The other key guidelines relating to specific codes that are likely to be on the exam have been noted from the Blitz, which you have completed. Then, during the exam, it is just a matter of looking for relevant notes for the codes that are involved in the answer choices. I don't think reading the book cover to cover is a good use of time because you don't need to know every guideline in the book, just be able to identify and apply guidelines associated with the codes that you are trying to compare and contrast.

i am looking at stuff i struggle with in my practice and original exams where i scored reallly low
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