Trying to get certified as a medical coder by passing the CPC exam is a significant investment of your time and money. For some their careers as medical coders are on the line. Whether it’s your first attempt at taking the coding certification exam or not, the fact is that the CPC exam is not easy. In fact, as much as 60% of exam takers will fail. With so much riding on the line on this one exam, how do you cram for the CPC exam?
First of all, don’t expect miracles to happen. Prepare early for the CPC exam so you don’t have to cram last minute. Treat cramming as the final step of your overall study and test preparation, not the beginning. But if you’re going to cram, then read on.
Get yourself organized. If there is a time and place for proper planning and organization, this is it. Chart out how much time you have left and prioritize what you need to work on. Choose a good study technique that you know works for you. Flashcards and mnemonics are fine if you’ve been using it for some time, but this is not the time to start something new. Identify your best style of study, it could be rereading your notes, reviewing summaries, study groups, taking practice exams, or using audio-visual tools.
Also, try to eke out as much time as possible for study and review. Look for time that can be recovered such as waiting for the bus, sitting in the toilet, watching tv, going out for drinks, cooking, and etc. If you find yourself having some idle time but without your notes, then start to quiz yourself to review the information you’ve retained.
The CPC exam is an open-book multiple choice test. If you’re going to cram, then you’ll want to focus on memory recall rather than memory retention. Develop a plan and strategy for time management and looking up your book. You’re allowed to mark it up for easy reference, so make sure you take advantage of that. Look around, ask, or pay someone to show you the proven ways or methods to mark it up. Not all questions are equal when it comes to answering them, but they are worth the same number of points. A major problem that most CPC exam-takers face is not having enough time to finish it, so be efficient.
You can’t pass the CPC exam if you’re not actually in it. Keep yourself fit, mentally and physically. Maintain a positive, confident, and relaxed attitude so you don’t get nervous and choke in the exam hall. Even if you’re doing a cramming marathon, make sure you break it up a bit to have enough rest. Having enough rest is crucial because this is the time when your mind absorb and file away all the information.