Facing Your Final Exam Fears

Updated January 9, 2017

Many students in medical coding schools fear the final exam because it’s far away and they cannot yet see themselves being successful to the point of finishing. Others are getting closer and are now starting to worry about whether or not they will pass, making all the money, time, and energy they have invested into the program worth it. Sometimes fear comes from the unknown, and therefore, we are here to answer your questions and provide you with information so you have no need to fear!

What’s on the final exam?

Objective Breakdown of the final Medical Coding & Billing Exam: 150 multiple choice questions, 50 questions from pre-coding modules (ie: Terminology, Anatomy, Pharmacology, etc). 5 ICD-10-CM guideline questions, 5 ICD-10-PCS Guideline questions, 10 CPT/HCPCS guideline questions, 15 ICD-10 Coding Scenarios, 15 ICD-10-PCS Coding Scenarios, 35 CPT/HCPCS Coding Scenarios.

I feel like I’m struggling in the practicum. Does this mean that I’m not going to do well on the final exam?

While the practicum is an important part of the learning process in your medical coding & billing training, and it is important to do well on the reports, it is not necessarily an indicator of how you’ll do on the final exam. Many students do better on the final exam because it is multiple choice rather than fill in the blank.

Understanding the sequence of codes and the corresponding guidelines is something that comes with practice. Do not give up because you are feeling discouraged; instead, know that the practicum is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve along the way. If you are struggling with specific reports in the practicum, you can contact support by email at codingsupport@careerstep.com or by phone at 888-657-5752. You can also schedule an appointment to speak with an instructor. We are happy to help you and offer additional advice, tips, and resources.

How long do I have to complete the final exam?

Students have 48 hours (two full days) to complete the entire exam. Although it will not take the entire 48 hours to complete the exam (it typically takes an average of 6-7 hours), you may want the additional time to go over your answers before submitting the final.

Can I use my reference materials on the final exam?

You may use reference materials on the final exam, including your reference books or 3M, code books, the program, and the internet, but you may not use human resources (ie: Career Step Student Support, the forum, chat room, or friends/relatives).

What is a passing score on the final exam?

A score of 75% or above on the final exam is considered a passing score. Although the standard graduation range (85-89%) shows a good grasp of medical coding skills, a higher score on the final exam is an indicator that you will likely do better on pre-employment exams and the national certification exam. For that reason, if you pass the final in the standard graduation range, we recommend retaking the final until you score honors (90-100%).

If I do not pass the final, can I retake it?

Career Step students are afforded up to three opportunities to pass the final exam and receive a certificate of graduation. You are required to wait two weeks after receiving a no pass to ensure you have time to study before retaking the exam. This two-week period will give you time to schedule a consultation, identify what areas you would like to improve, and practice, practice, practice. If you get a lower score on the retake, it does not count against you in any way, but it is a strong indicator that you need to spend some additional time reviewing and perfecting your skills.

Is there anything I should do to prepare for the final?

The Medical Coding & Billing program is designed to prepare you for the final exam. By reviewing the material you learned in the program you will be well prepared. It is helpful to let those around you know when you’re taking your final exam so you can have some alone time and avoid outside distractions.

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15 thoughts on “Facing Your Final Exam Fears

    • Erin Oxley says:

      I can’t open the final exam even though I meet all the requirements. Anyone have this problem?? Frustrated and it’s Sunday so support is open😞

  1. Janine Kellough says:

    Take my exam on March 29,2018! There’s so much to review. Nervous and excited at the same time! Soooo ready for a new career in the medical field.

    • mbunderson says:

      Janine, you’ve put in a lot of work to finish your course, good luck with your preparation efforts!

      As you prepare for your exam, you can always reach out to your instructors at support@careerstep.com or 1-888-657-5752 if you feel you need any help or even just a little encouragement—that’s why we’re here! You may also want to connect with other students and graduates in the Student and Graduate Community. You can sign up with your Student ID (if you can’t find that, just shoot us a quick email at support@careerstep.com and we’d be happy to look it up for you) at http://community.careerstep.com. You might be surprised at just how much it can help to have other students to connect with. Best of luck on your exam, I’ll be rooting for you!

  2. kim pagano says:

    I could have not made it through the course without the help on the instructors. I only wish I could have had more free days to chat with them. Working full time makes it very difficult. I finally decided to take my laptop to work and use my lunch hour to ask questions vs scheduling the 20 min appt. I am hoping to take my test this Saturday…which will be February 23, 2019. Just over a year after beginning this course It was a long road and I am praying I pass the first time but not so sure as I have really struggled along the way and having 20+ years in the Medical industry is just insane. I should have done this sooner. Thanks for all the help and support from Career Step.

  3. Tracy says:

    I’m scared to death! I don’t think I know it good enough to pass, but I beat myself up a lot! So I’m hoping for the best! I’m taking the final in professional medical billing and Coding! I’m older, this will be my 2nd career in life! So I need this to happen! I wish I could get one on one help, in person, hands on! I learn better that way!

    • Tiffanee Gurney says:

      Tracy, are you taking advantage of the CareerStep Help Community? If not, I highly recommend that you do so! Through that community you can:

      1. Find answers to common questions about their training programs in our ever growing knowledge base.
      2. Connect with other learners in our new discussion boards and groups.
      3. Chat with our expert staff when you need one-on-one support from an instructor, advocate, operations advisor, or technical support advisor.

      Here’s a link 🙂 https://careerstepcommunity.force.com/s/

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