Sunday, June 16, 2013

In Which I Retake the AAPC CPC Exam

Yesterday I took the CPC exam to become a certified medical billing & coder in hopes of opening doors and finally becoming gainfully employed.  It’s been a loooong road.

It began in autumn of 2011 when I took a few courses at Chattahoochee Tech—medical terminology, anatomy, and billing and coding.  I completed that course with a certification but one that amounted to little more than the paper it was printed on.  Still, it was a foundation.

One of the other students and I agreed to take the AAPC (American Association of Professional Coders) course for the CPC.  My study buddy and I were limping along, mostly because she was very busy and I kept waiting for her to catch up and then she was quiet.  I didn’t hear from her and all I could do was review what we had already studied together and try to slow myself down that way.  Eventually I caught up with where we had been and still hadn’t heard back from her so I just kept going. 

In autumn of 2012 I finally heard back from her, after her children were in school and she had some free time, wondering where I was in our studies.  Truth is, I had given up on her altogether, assuming she had decided it was all too difficult for her.  Besides, I really didn’t want to buy another set of coding books so I signed up to take the exam in December, as late in the year as I possibly could, to give myself as much time to study as possible.

And I spent the rest of last year studying and studying and studying.  I took the final exam and, when all was said and done, I completed the course with a 90%.  I was not particularly impressed with the course itself, finding the online experience rather tedious.  The few times I reached out to one of the tutors for help, they were useless.  Inevitably, they would reiterate what the rationale said, responding with rote explanations that added no meaning to what was already a point of confusion for me.  Nonetheless, I had learned the material well enough to get a 90% so I felt prepared for the exam. 

Then I took and failed the exam.

It is no exaggeration when I say that I had a bit of an existential crisis.  I had never failed at learning something before.  If I wanted to learn something, I did it.  I put myself through college and graduated with honors.  I had been on the Deans’ list and the President’s list every semester even as I went through a divorce and the challenges of being a single mother with three children.

How was it even possible for me not to pass this exam? 

So back to the books in January, with my buying a whole new set of coding books, something I had hoped to avoid, and taking what little of my birthday money was left over after paying for the surgery that killed Romanov and buying a set of dvds.

Laureen Jandroep
Laureen Jandroep’s Medical Coding Certification Review Blitz is brilliant!  The tips she gives gave me the confidence I needed to go into this exam with at least a little hope.  Truth is, I still didn’t feel like I understood the practice of coding better but she explained how to take the exam. 

I could go into the boring details of what she explains and how it makes a difference.  The quality of the program itself is a bit weird.  You have Laureen, in the corner of your screen, talking to an audience.  The angle of the camera has you mostly looking up at her chin and her nose.  But she is personable and she really knows her stuff. 

Anyone who is trying to take and pass the CPC exam would benefit from getting Laureen Jandroep’s dvds!  Or just sign up for the onlineaccess to the videos.  Seriously.

If I didn’t pass the exam this time (I won’t know how I did for two more weeks), it won’t be because of what she showed me.   If we all have something we simply cannot understand, no matter how hard we try to do so, I may have found it in medical billing & coding.  But if I passed the exam this time I know it is because of the tips she gave.  I’m not saying I wasted time taking the AAPC online course.  Not at all.  But it didn’t prepare me for how to take the test and the section reviews and even the chapter exams were not designed to mirror what is actually on the exam itself.  And I could bore you with how they differ but that would bore me in the writing of it.

The key here is, I took the exam and I am no longer going to consume every minute of my day and life with studying.  I’ll have all sorts of other boring adventures to describe—like the books I am reading and the excitement of taking Snowdoll for a walk around our neighborhood and frustration I feel when a woman my age sends me a text spelling good g-u-d which I would find reprehensible in a woman half of my age and find unforgivable in a woman my own age. 

Yes.  I am free and maybe I’ll even have time to read blogs again.  Reading for pleasure?  For fun?  I think I have forgotten what that feels like. 

In the meantime, every issue of the coding magazine from AAPC, I look for my former study buddy's name. I haven't seen it yet but it could be I've overlooked it.  I'm not sure.  I sometimes ponder sending her a quick email to see how she's doing.  Then I figure there's no point.  My life is so full right now and I doubt my encouragement would have any meaning for her.  I did all of this in hopes of improving my life and my future. Now I wait for the exam results and get ready for the real work:  finding a job.


  1. Wao what an amazing motivational person you are, hectic schedule and 95% of exam preparation, Excellent!
    My younger sister is also going for CPC exam in upcoming session and she is very much tensed for her exam that whether she can pass it or not. You are second one where i can refer her to get motivation, the first phase is completed through :)
    Once again thanks for being motivational for many people and thanks for this great writing..

    1. Thanks Jess. I didn't realize I was being motivational but I definitely wanted to get the word out there that Laureen's method works. I hope I never have to take the exam again but at least I know some of the tricks that will get me to where I pass if I do have to do so.

    2. :) Please disclose the tricks for me.....

    3. Jess, I would encourage you to search for Laureen Jandroep on youtube and see what she offers for free but, in all honesty, I would urge anyone and everyone to make the investment. Yes, it seems like a lot on the surface of things but I went into the exam feeling more confident, more relaxed, and I finished answering all of the questions well before the time was up. The first time I took the exam, I didn't finish so that alone made it worth the investment.

      If she cannot afford the latest edition of the DVDs (you'll find a link to order them in my blog post) then you may be able to find some outdated ones on ebay for less.

      With that said, I still recommend getting the most recent because Laureen goes over the latest additions and changes. These typically show up on the exam so using an older version of the DVDs or online course will result in some outdated information. Perhaps you and some of your family members and/or her friends can pool some money together to buy the course for her. Unfortunately, I cannot share specifics because the tips and tricks are copyrighted and I would not disrespect Laureen by sharing them promiscuously.

      It's a small investment in the future and, once employed, the money spent on the DVDs or online course will quickly be earned back.