Do People Pass Their AAPC CPC Exam on the First Try, and How Do They Do It?

If you are taking the AAPC CPC exam, then you will at some point ask yourself this question; do people pass their medical coding certification exam on their first try? And how do they do it? Although official figures are hard to come by, rough estimates suggests that only 40% to 50% of exam-takers pass on their first attempt.

The medical coding certification exam is no pushover

Make no mistake, the CPC or Certified Professional Coder certification exam is a grueling marathon of an exam that takes nearly 6 hours long. Medical coding careers and its industry are growing fast because of the federal push for the implementation of electronic health records such as ICD-10. This translates to better salaries and career options, but also mean it is getting more competitive as more people like yourself try to get certified.

But people do pass the CPC certification on the first try or attempt

The good news is that 40% to 50% of people do pass on their first try, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do the same. If you do a simple survey of those who passed on their first try, most will say the exam is tough. You will also find that the common things they all share is that they are well-prepared and have a good amount of previous coding experience. Some do pass without experience but these cases are rare. Almost all of their advice points to the same pattern, which is to:

1. Review the official study guides

2. Get yourself some coaching or online blitz review videos

3. Do plenty of AAPC practice or mock exams

4. Plan and practice your strategies for answering questions and time management

If you fail the exam, you can retake it until you pass

The other thing you might notice from the advice of those who passed is to keep calm and not give up. Those who failed the exam the first time just continued to retake the exam until they passed. Sometimes it takes a few attempts so as long as your scores improve with each attempts then you’re on the right track. If you fail you have one free retake within 12 months, so use the time well to get fully prepared.

Recover fast and learn from your mistakes

Before you retake the exam, it is worth examining what you felt was the problem. The most common complaint is the lack of time to finish answering all the question. Those who passed on their first attempt finished answering all their questions even if they thought it was tough. Based on the many advice out there, it is safe to conclude that perfecting your time management, question answering, and CPT lookup strategies is often the best way to improve your chances other than knowing your topics.

ITEC Questions on the Cell – Tips to Help Pass Your Exams

The cells are the basic units of all living organisms and are the building blocks of the human body. Therefore to understand the ITEC Anatomy and Physiology syllabus it is crucial that you have a thorough understanding of this area. Having a good range of ITEC questions on the cell will play a vital role in gaining this understanding.

Before I give you some example questions let’s take a look at the different parts of the cell that you will need to learn.

The cell is broken down into the following sections;

1. The structure of the cell, for example, cytoplasm, nucleus, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria.

2. The functions of the cell including growth, secretion, movement and respiration.

3. The movement of substances in and out of the cell – diffusion, dissolution, osmosis, active transport and filtration.

4. Mitosis and its 4 active stages – prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase.

5. Types of tissues – epithelial, connective, nervous, muscular, blood, bone, cartilage.

This is only a short sample of the syllabus, it is much more detailed and challenging in its entirety. There are several ways to learn the various sections of the cell, such as;

1. Word Association – Associate a cell term with something that you know. So for example, the function of Ribosomes is to produce protein. Pork Ribs contain protein. I bet you won’t forget this now!

2. Acronyms – This is a word formed from the first letters of a number of terms. The active stages of mitosis in order are, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telophase (PMAT) – Peter Makes Apple Tarts. It might sound silly but it is a very effective way to learn.

3. Multiple Choice Questions – As ITEC offer multiple choice questions on their exam papers it is very important to use this format of questions when you are revising.

Examples of ITEC questions on the cell include:

01. DNA can be found in:
a) Mitochondria
b) Cytoplasm
c) Nucleus – Answer
d) Golgi Apparatus

02. What is the function of hyaline cartilage?
a) Helps to maintain the shape of an area
b) Flexibility & support – Answer
c) To add nutrients to articulating surfaces
d) Stretch & recoil

03. What process of metabolism releases energy?
a) Catabolism – Answer
b) Homeostasis
c) Phagocytosis
d) Anabolism

04. An area of cytoplasm which contains the centrioles is called?
a) Chromatid
b) Centromere
c) Chromosome
d) Centrosome – Answer

Learning the cell doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you have a structured plan in place with plenty of revision questions and puzzles, it will become less stressful and you might even have some fun!

ITEC Exam – Tips on How to Pass

Regardless of what ITEC subject you are studying the exams can be quite a worrying and stressful time for any student. Exam preparation is therefore essential.

I have been teaching ITEC for a number of years and as a result I can offer the following tips on how to pass your exams;

1. Read each question very carefully before answering. This might sound obvious to you but you’d be amazed at the number of students that overlook something on a question. A typical example of this:

Question: Which one of the following is not a function of the Skeletal System?

The “not” is often not seen by students especially if they are stressed and in a panic. Always read the question a couple of times.

2. Because the format of the exam paper is multiple choice questions, these are the type of questions that you should use when revising. Purchase a study guide that has a large set of revision questions and use them consistently throughout your studies to test yourself.

3. Make sure your study guide contains puzzles. Based on my teaching experience completing crossword puzzles is an excellent way for students to retain information. They are designed to be completed over and over again until the student feels confident enough not to look at their notes.

Take plenty of deep breaths before you enter the exam and try not to get yourself in a state. Keep calm and focused. If you follow the above 3 tips passing your ITEC exam may not be as difficult as you think!