How to Study for Medical Coding and Billing Exams: Develop a Strategy
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How to Schedule Your Day while Training for a Medical Coding and Billing Career

Classroom training for medical coding and billing, like most vocational school programs, involves about 10 hours per week in the classroom. For every hour you spend in class, plan on at least 2 hours of study time. Grand total for this scenario? About 30 hours per week for class and study.

But that’s not all you need to consider as you think about your daily schedule. You also need to include time to commute and time for family and household responsibilities.

If you’ve not been in school for a while, here is a refresher course in time management. Calculate approximately how many hours you need to spend on each of those activities, add them up, and then multiply that number by a factor of 10. That’s how long accomplishing all these tasks each day will take.

While that may be a slight exaggeration, the point is spot on: When you’re in school, these tasks take longer than you anticipate. So from now on, make your mantra “Overestimate, overestimate, overestimate.” Build in extra time for both study and all the other activities.

Here’s some advice to help you maximize your time and stay sane in the process:

  • Dedicate ample time to study. Regular study is essential for success. The number of hours you need depends on your current level of familiarity with the medical curriculum. If you are a registered nurse, then the only new material you’ll encounter in a coding program will be the method of medical record abstraction (basically, which codes are where and how to choose them).

    If, on the other hand, the last time you read the word patella was in middle school, then mastering medical terminology and anatomy in addition to learning the methods used in coding books may require a bit more study. Plan for the scenario that’s most appropriate to your situation.

  • Plan a time and place to study. Pick a quiet time and place where you can concentrate on your work without distraction. Give your study time the same importance as your other daily tasks.

  • Take care of yourself. Make time for ample rest and relaxation. A well-rested brain is a powerful brain. Staying up all night to study for the next day’s test is counter-productive.

If you have a plan and the tools to study efficiently, you’ll be prepared for the job, not just the test(s) and subsequent certification exams.

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