Facing Your Final Exam Fears

Posted on 07.11.2012

woman appears stressed while looking at a book, she is biting the side of her pointer finger nervously

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: CareerStep 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 (90-100%).

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

CareerStep 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.