If you’re nervous about what is going to happen when you’re taking the AAPC CPC exam for the first time then you must continue reading. The panic or stress you feel when taking a medical coding certification exam mostly comes from uncertainty. You feel this way because you are not sure what questions to expect and how you’ll do during the exam. An excellent way to alleviate that is to know exactly what to expect in the exam hall so you go in mentally and physically prepared. The following is how a typical CPC exam is conducted.
The AAPC CPC exam hall will have proctors to assist you, they will introduce themselves and begin giving you instructions verbally. Listen carefully and make sure to ask if you have any questions.
First you’ll be given a Proctor-To-Coder Instructions along with an exam packet. The exam packet contains a test grid, marking instructions for the grid, gold seals, and exam booklet 200-300. You’ll be told to fill in the grid marking instruction form using a #2 pencil before it is collected. If you are still unsure this is time to ask now.
Then you’ll be told how to fill in the answer grid for sections A, B, C, and D. For section D you’ll refer to the back of the exam booklet for the exam type, version, exam number and sign your first and last name on it. You can refer to the white adhesive label on your exam packet to find your member ID#.
The proctor will then tell you the rules of the exam. You’re given 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete the exam. Snacks and hydration is allowed during the exam but you need to be careful to keep your answer grids dry and clean. You’re also allowed to take breaks and go out but only one person at a time. The time will continue ticking if you take a break and you’re not allowed to bring exam materials out with you.
One useful thing to know is that if at any time you feel the exam environment is distracting or have other reasons, you may elect to not take the exam. You have the responsibility to follow up and contact the AAPC to reschedule. If you stop the test in the middle of the exam then you have to contact them to review your decision and the AAPC may or may not choose to grade the exam.
When you have completed answering, locate your gold seals that was part of the exam packet and put them on the top, right side, and bottom of your exam booklet. Do not attempt to seal it though. Fill out sections F and G and return everything to the proctor before leaving the room quietly.