Some methods for preparing for the Medical Coding Certification examination recommended by the AAPC include online or classroom-based training, study guides and online practicums. Those new to coding will also need to familiarize themselves with medical terminology and anatomy. Practice examinations from the AAPC are another good method of preparation for the real exam, since they are created by the people who design the real examinations.
If not following an established study program, it is a good idea to ensure that independent study covers all of the subjects included on the certification exam. These are:
- Systems of the body
- Pathology and laboratory coding
- Medicine, such as heart catheterizations, but also injections and psychotherapy, among other office procedures
- Evaluation and management service guidelines, such as on working with new and existing patients and giving consultations
- Diagnosis coding
- Medical terminology
- HCPCS codes
- Coding guidelines, such as or bundling and the use of modifiers
To achieve higher levels of certification, it is also important to gain experience in medical coding prior to taking the exam. Those without such experience only qualify for the apprentice level certification.
Other important and practical ways to prepare for the certification exam are to save money, obtain a government-issued ID and obtain a copy of the American Medical Association standard or professional edition Current Procedural Terminology coding manual. This is the only manual approved for use in the exam; the expert edition is not permitted.