I am so discouraged right now. I cannot believe it. I was confident and finished this time and everything. I got a 65 back in February. I cannot believe I failed by 3 points.
I failed my CPC a second time with a 67
I'm so sorry to hear that. I'm taking my second try Saturday. My spirit is with you.
I just wanted to say "don't be discouraged." You should be encouraged that you attempted the test and this is not a giving up. I am learning to put on new glasses that give a different perspective, a lot learned through taking this course. This is not an easy course. Be encouraged. Take time, go ahead have that bon bon, but then analyze, analyze...was it speed, was it an unfamiliarity with something else but DON'T beat yourself up over it! And don't over-analyze. My dilemma is that I will be through Module III one week before the deadline of the CPC exam in my area. That only gives me three weeks to prepare for the exam...and I just don't know if that is too close or not. Because I certainly do not feel ready to take the test. But all aside, there comes that day we have to do it anyway....take your experiences and use them to help you meet the next exam and I'm certain you will pass it.
~hugs~ So sorry to hear that. You will get over this hurdle and pass.
Please don't be discouraged! There are all sorts of reasons why a person might fail an exam. E-mail Debby with as much information as you have so she can help you.
Also, I'm going to post two new "I passed the CPC" messages that I just got today. They should not discourage you. They should encourage you, because you covered the same material. That means YOU can do it too!
Thanks Linda and Everyone! I feel a bit better today. Still dissapointed but I will take it again in June. I am ordering the CPC Review Book from AAPC and i have practice exams too. Its strange because the parts i did badly on last time i did better this time, but had new ones I did badly on that were okay last time. The 2000 series was my weakest. ICD was not that great either. Back to studying...
Take a deep breath, Michele! Send me a detailed email and we can work on getting you ready for June.
Hang in there, Michele. You are really close! Bear in mind: when I watched my review videos, the instructor noted that one, the exam has increased in difficulty from past years -- so that's an additional challenge for us -- and two, most people who failed it were very, very close, like you. Meaning that a "pass" hinges on something small but correctible. It's not as if you (or the other examinees) are just blowing it with 30s and 40s.
It is discouraging, but MANY moments as we learn to code are discouraging. We just can't give up. This stuff is hard, if it weren't, anyone could do it. You are almost there!
Carmel Si: Do you recommend these videos? I am considering purchasing them, but they are so pricey. Can I rent yours from you? LOL. Kidding...Let me know if you think they are worth it.
LOL...that might involve some legal issues I'd rather steer clear of!
Bottom line: Yes, for me they were worth it. I could point to about 4-5 questions that I was able to answer easily and quickly because of the way my book was marked up and the way she explained those particular sections. So for me, yes: I think those may have been the handful of questions that kept me from going over the "fail" line. To me, that's money well spent.
OTOH, it could have been the fact that I nailed the anatomy, terminology, and the ICD questions. And the AAPC review guide is excellent, and it's a lot less pricey, so maybe you could start with that and see if it helps. If you still want to try the videos, they don't take that much time (10 hours or so, plus about 10-15 hours of marking up your codebook with her technique).
Hi Michele - I also used the Blitz videos and the AAPC guide and the three practice tests from AAPC. What I did with the AAPC guide, which I found extremely helpful was to go through each chapter with my CPT and ICD-9 books open to that particular section. There are highlighted bullets where the guide tells you specifically to mark this or note that, etc. Make sure you go through page by page and do that and then go through it again to make sure you didn't miss anything. Do the tests at the end of each chapter and the big test. It's only 35 questions, but it helps. Also, I found the AAPC practice exams super helpful. I did read that you should do them over and over until you get at least 85% so that is what I did. Interestingly enough, there were definitely 2 or 3 questions on the practice exam that were on the test. Definitely seek out Debby's help and focus studying on what both previous exams pointed out your lower scores were. Also, I would ask Debby to walk you through how to narrow down the coding answers from 4 to 2 and then to pick the best one from there. There were questions where you could eliminate answers just by looking at the modifiers. Read the question first. When I took the exam, I flipped through the book and ended up starting at the back. I answered all A/P questions (remember each question is 2 points so the ones that look like you need an hour just to figure out are worth the same as one-response answers). Anyway, I answered all A/P, lab, practice management, anesthesia, modifier only questions first. Then I answered all questions with only one-code answers next, then two code, and so on. I actually had about 30 minutes left to double check answers where I put a question mark in my booklet. If you have a question and want to go back, make sure you mark what you think the answer might be on your scan form in case you cannot go back. You don't want to leave any blanks. I also circled my answers in the booklet in case I got off track. Don't be afraid to ask the proctors at the beginning if they will call out the time after every hour. I asked and that helped a lot. The Blitz videos helped as far as realizing what I needed to mark in my book so I wasn't all over the place looking for something. It is very time consuming to do your entire book but well worth it; but if money is tight you can pass without the videos. I didn't buy the DVDs by the way, just the videos. One of the biggies is to know your CPT and ICD-9 guidelines! Very very very important!!! Know your surgical package - what's included, what isn't. Know what's included in the critical care codes - read those all those guidelines. Also know your sequencing guidelines for ICD-9, the same with burns. I tabbed and highlighted those pages. Know what codes have priority over others, like the pregnancy codes, certain V codes. Remember to look up carcinomas in the index, don't go directly to the neoplasm table (AFTER you eliminate the answers that are obviously not correct). Really really study the chapter guidelines from ICD-9 and highlight the key features like in chapter 4, a, anemia of chronic disease,"these codes can be used as the principal/first listed etc, etc, etc." I used a different colored highlighter on sections like that and only highlighted key things, not whole paragraphs, so you can flip to that section and pick out the wording to match the question. You will pick up immediately what to highlight once you go through all three practice tests.
Don't over think the questions and the scenarios. I tend to look for more information and then wonder if I am to assume or not! Big mistake on this test and I found myself doing that on the practice tests. And that can hurt you for this kind of test. You have to take each question at pure face value. Work with the information given and based on that information, pick the best answer. That is where the practice tests will come in handy. Allow yourself plenty of time to work those tests over and over and over. It took me 3 times on each one before I hit 85.
This might be helpful for bubbling and highlighting, but don't get distracted by that and not concentrate on studying. :D
Good luck. You can pass it. Make sure your books aren't over tabbed, too. Tabs on the bottom or top, not on the sides. That can be a hindrance.
I cannot emphasize enough how you must be extremely familiar with your ICD-9 guidelines and I recommend reading and reading that entire section.
Sorry this is so long!
You're very welcome, ladies. A lot of this is a culmination of things I found from googling and from attending the chapter review at my local AAPC chapter and from going through the videos at CCO and of course from taking the exam and from things we've learned along the way from Andrews. Those big paragraphs were intimidating but on some when you read the question it's oh okay, no problem--that's all I have to do. So definitely read the question first. It will save you tons of time. :D
Thanks for the information, but I thought you can only go into the test center w/ a book unwritten in? I'm confused how all this highlighting and bubbling is good if we can't bring the book in to the test center, or can we...?
For the book checks for the CPC, they are looking for loose pages, inserted tab sections, etc. My entire book is bubbled and highlighted and I had no issues whatsoever. As long as your notes, highlighting, etc, relates to coding, there aren't any issues. Double check with your proctors before you take your exam or you could even check with them now to put your mind at ease. And as I mentioned the AAPC revew guide put out by the CPC also tells you specific things to highlight and note in your book.
The way things might look on the youtube video to a casual observer are not how the instructor teaches that notes be made in the CPT book. A dark yellow highlighter and pen are used on the book in the video, in order for things to show up on the webcam. Light pencil and a Bible highlighter, used mainly in sections with many guidelines and still very sparingly, is what Carmen is probably describing. Very neat, very professional, very discliplined. This is Carmen, after all!
I really like this method and wish I had done it this way from the beginning. I could see myself using this method for the rest of my coding career.
The CCS exam setting seems to be a whole different animal, what with the Pearson people involved who may or may not even know what the CCS exam is. I've heard of at least one instance where a test-taker was hassled about taking their coding books in!
I plan to have a clean backup CPT book in my car, even though I've only heard of one instance where there was a problem with notes in books.
From AAPC FAQs: "What is allowed in our books? Handwritten notes are acceptable in the coding books only if they pertain to daily coding activities. Questions from the Study Guides, Practice Exams or the Exam itself are prohibited. Tabs may be inserted, taped, pasted, glued, or stapled in the manuals so long as the obvious intent of the tab is to earmark a page with words or numbers, not supplement information in the book. No materials (other than tab dividers) may be inserted, taped, pasted, glued, or stapled in the manuals."
From AHIMA CCS Candidate Guide: "No reference or study materials may be brought into the examination room. Code books with handwritten notations, or comments are allowed but must be free of any notes containing coding rules and guidelines from other reference materials (for example,Coding Clinic, CPT Assistant, and similar materials). The testing center staff reserves the right to deny code books that contain excessive writing and information that may give the candidate an unfair advantage. Post-It® Notes and any loose materials are not allowed (code books are for use on CCA, CCS, and CCS-P exams only)."
Since the testing center is so close here, I am going to call a few weeks before I schedule the CCS and ask if I can bring my books in for checking, but I am also keeping a clean set in the car just in case. Cannot afford to forfeit 400 bucks or whatever it's going to cost.
Thanks for all the helpful information Carmen and everyone else. Not to beat a dead horse..but I have more questions.
Did you buy the AAPC guide and the 3 practice exams via the AAPC website? The 3 practice exams were online I assume (50 q's)? (after looking at their website)
For those of us who learned on the CPT 2011 materials, how much is that a hinderence in learning and taking the CPT test for 2013? I realize we have to have current CPT book when applying, but should we do Blitz on the AAPC study guides using a newer year CPT book?
And will there be new updated stuff (modifiers, etc.) on the test that isn't on the 2011?
Ugh.. all the updating and coordinating money/materials. It's good to take this stufff asap. If money wasnt such an issue. Thanks
Could I ask the students who have been posting such helpful hints and great questions to repost that information over in the Coding Certification section's CPC forum? It'll not only be easier for students who get to that point in the course a couple of months from now to find, but I also want the discussion to stick around. We clean out these front-page forums periodically, so this information isn't particularly permanent posted here.
Well, I got a 69 this time. UGH!! What is the passing score anyway? I did much better this time but still not good enough.
Oh No Melody! I feel your pain. You need a 70 to pass! I ordered the Blitz videos and those are helpful and I'm preparing for round 3 in June. Geesh, it stinks huh?
I don't know when you tested, but if it was this week, I would most definitely contact the AAPC by telehone and request a manual grading of your exam since you were only 1 point away. I learned you can do this from the AAPC CPC review class I attended. It couldn't hurt to request it. Good luck!
Dustin I did buy the study guide and the practice exams from the website. I bought the package on the exams. I bought those first and after not being able to get past 77 or 80 percent, I then ordered the guide. Also, I didn't worry about timing on those tests until I took them a third time - all three at once. I understand with money believe me, but I think whatever advantage you give yourself will now to pass the CPC and learn even more will reward us in the end.
There were quite a few changes in the CPC book from 2012 to 2013. You can get a short overview from the link below, but you will need a newer book to test. From the 2012, which I have from the course, to the 2013 manual, there was a LOT more green text and I went through my entire book page by page!
The Blitz videos are based on the 2013 book. Those videos are updated every year.
Glenda where can we find the Coding Certification Section CPC forum? Please excuse my ignorance, I’m new to all the forums. Thanks!