Taking notes

Can be an art!

How do you take notes?

are you a scribbler, are you more organized, are you a double note taker, or maybe you are a combination of the above!

Well in Medical Coding notes are very important because you are permitted to use notes on your CPC exam.

I became obsessed with note-taking while preparing for my latest Certification exam(CPMA) and I would love to help you also become a star note-taker 🙂

I would get a few sheets of notebook paper or a notebook(nothing too fancy)

Go to the AAPC website and print out the certification exam for which you are taking(see screenshot below)

screen-shot-for-blogFor example here I have the CPC prep pulled up on my internet browser and the E/M section

In your notebook place E/M as your page heading and then begin your notes (take note that there are only 10 questions on the exam, do not get too hung up on E/M section)
on your note page you want to go through each bullet point and make sure you have a note or two about the subject! Every note will not end up in your CPT book. You are just writing basic notes right now.

Once you get through going through each section then you will want to review your notes and organize them into the following categories

  1. Definitions
    1. anatomy
    2. term
    3. disease
    4. terms you are unfamiliar with
  2. Guidelines
  3. Example of how to code

You are going to re-write your notes on a different page with the above as your new headings (example: E/M terms…E/M guidelines…E/M examples)

Once you get through now it comes time to prioritize your notes do you really need everything you have written so far(probably not). Mark what is most important and what is least important.

Now begin to transfer your notes into your CPT book starting with the most important if you still have room you can put the least important information too.

Happy Learning,


A Professional Student

Have you ever heard of someone who says “when I grow up I want to be a student!”? No most of the time students cannot wait to graduate and be finished with school. Not me I love school, I have found my calling as a teacher…instructor…facilitator of learning…professor, whatever term you want to use!  I also have a deep love of learning so I am back in school to get my third collegiate degree, a Masters degree in Public Health!  I am loving school so much that I am heavily considering to get my doctorate.

Do you have a love for learning? Do you already have a degree in coding but need CEU credits? Do you work as a receptionist or patient care representative and just want to learn more about the business side of medicine? Are you a nursing student or other allied health professional student and need help getting through Anatomy, Physiology, term and other courses?

You have come to the right place.. At Americode our mission is to create star coders and to help all medical professionals be the best they can be!

Full courses coming soon but until then blog posts will be filled with helpful information that can be used for research, learning, or as a reference for you! Please check the disclaimer on using information from this site!

Welcome to Americode Professional Coding I hope we can help you achieve your goals and dreams

If there is anything that you would like to see offered by Americode please e-mail me at dchapman.americodeprofessionalcoding@gmail.com

Happy Learning,


Pass that Exam

First of all in order to pass this massive exam you must prepare

The first blog post of this series is going to be a prep post

  1. you need to create a study plan
  2. you need to gather your study materials
  3. you need to set your goals
  4. and begin

Study plan

  • What is it?
    • this is going to be your plan on how you will study, when you will study, why you will study, and where you will study
  • How to study
    • I would suggest highly to purchase the AAPC practice exams and the AAPC study guide you can purchase both here
    • go through the study guide taking each page seriously– the book is great at giving test taking tips– take these seriously
    • do not take the practice exam yet but have them ready(I would not even look at them yet)
  • When to study
    • in your plan you will need to look at a calendar/planner to see when you have available time
    • schedule study sessions and write them down
    • do not schedule a study session when you obviously wont be able to study (example: I go to church on Sunday 9:30-12:00 then I go to lunch with my family– I would not schedule a study session on Sunday at 1:00 because more than likely I will still be out with family)
  • Why you will study
    • this is pretty self explanatory but write it down… you are studying because you are going to pass this exam!
  • Where you will study
    • This is very important– you want a quiet place, good lighting and little to no distractions( you probably will not want to study in the bedroom as it is very tempting to take nap while studying, don’t want to study in front of TV because even if it is off very tempting to turn on and watch tv instead of studying)

Tell your friends, family, work that you are  preparing for this exam and that this time is all about preparing for your success in the exam. If your inner circle knows your plans they can support you and wont be tempted to get you to cancel your study plan to hang out with them 🙂

Gather your study materials

You need the following materials and place them in your study spot for easy access. Myself I like to move my study session around depending on the day so I have a study bag (this ends up being the same bag that I take to my test, more on this later)

  • code books
    • ICD-10-CM
    • CPT
    • HCPCS
  • Study guide
  • practice exams
  • anatomy book/ reference materials from Americode
  • term book/ reference materials from Americode
  • medical dictionary(although you wont be able to use in the test, for anything you dont know make a note in your code books)
  • highlighters- I would choose 4 colors
  • post it notes
  • tabs
  • pencils no.2
  • a good eraser

Set your goals

This may seem not necessary but this is a very important step in preparing for your exam. Only you know how long you personally need to prepare. Before you schedule your exam you will want to figure out how much time you need to prepare and study. Obviously your ultimate goal is to pass the exam on the first time but your goal also needs to include when you want to sit for your exam.

It is now that time 

To begin the process and journey to pass your CPC exam the first time

please look for other blog posts on how to pass your test the first time by searching the tags Pass the first time

Happy Learning


Intro to Pathophysiology

We learned on Monday that physiology is the study of the function of the human body when we add patho- to the beginning this changes the meaning. Patho means disease processes. in Pathophysiology we are studying disease processes which affect the normal function of the human body.

In the blog I will be offering a preview of content the full content can be purchased if interested.

Look for the tag pathophysiology to find the blog previews

We will be studying pathophysiology in the following sections

  • Integumentary
  • cardiovascular
  • nervous
  • digestive
  • urinary
  • reproductive
    • male
    • female
      • pregancy
  • infectious diseases
  • cancer

we will learn terms like etiolgy, diagnosis, prognosis, idiopathic, terminal, acute, chronic, treatment options, and more

Happy learning


Intro to Medical Term

As Medical Professionals we speak a unique language, it is called Medical Terminology. A good solid foundation of knowledge is a must as a Medical Coder(and any medical professional for that matter). This language is both written and spoken and thus knowing how to spell and pronounce is a requirement.

I am going to offer a full Medical terminology course you can purchase for yourself or you can follow this blog for previews with great tips and tricks on how to memorize and how to learn medical terminology. As with any new language this takes some time and lots of repetition on spelling and pronouncing. I will offer a great study tool in my full course that is FREE to you!

Look for the tag Medical Term for all the preview blog posts

Happy Learning


Intro to Anatomy

Anatomy is the study of the human body structures, while physiology is the study of the human body function. Many get these two confused while studying.

If we are talking about Anatomy we would discuss the heart itself– the chambers, the muscle that makes up the heart, the vessels that go into and out of the heart. talking about physiology of the heart we would discuss how the heart beats, how the ventricle pumps blood and the atrium receives it. You would not be able to understand physiology until you have a good foundation in Anatomy. I will be Posting Anatomy blog posts you can purchase the entire course in my courses available section.

The body sections that will be covered are

  • Organization of the body
  • Body chemistry
  • cells
  • tissue
  • Integumentary
  • Skeletal
  • muscular
  • cardiovascular
  • lymphatic and immunology
  • nervous system
  • respiratory
  • digestive
  • urinary
  • reproductive
    • male
    • female
      • conception
      • pregnancy
      • delivery

each will be covered as a preview on the blog and the full content can be purchased

This is a great way to review for Medical Coding, Nursing, any Allied health fields that involves anatomy and physiology courses. I have been told that I make Anatomy easy and fun to learn!

Happy Learning


Look for Anatomy as the tag to easily find the posts about Anatomy/Physiology

Pass on the first time

Every coding student has the good kind of nervous butterflies anytime their instructor brings up the CPC exam. Don’t you?

You feel like you are just going to loose it, you want it to hurry up and arrive but you want more time to prepare. Does this sound familiar?

I was right there with you here is my story

I went to a local junior college and received an Associates degree in Medical Coding upon graduating my Instructor, mentor, friend and soon to be family asked if I would consider helping her teach! What an honor, of course my first reaction was WHAT….ME….TEACHER???? I don’t think so, I just want to go to work as a coder, but very honored that she would choose me to be her protege.

She had spoken to me prior to this huge conversation about her illness, but I never realized the truth until much much later. I asked her if I could think about her question for a few days. she said of course.

Over the weekend I thought and prayed about this monumental decision. the next week we went to Marshall University and got me enrolled in Bachelors program, the same one that she had also completed several years prior. I graduated with Coding in June of 2008 and May of 2010 I graduated with my bachelors degree(minor in History).

In June of 2010 I dropped off a resume at HJC and was   hired on the spot starting in 2 weeks.

I began teaching at night for 11 weeks and 9 weeks into that quarter was called into the office(I was a bit nervous) I was asked to stay on full time!!! WOW how awesome I accepted.  I had been out of Medical Coding practice for 2 years while completing my Bachelors degree, I then was told by my mentor I needed to sit for and pass the CPC exam(which had truly been the last thing on my mind)

I began studying– The book I used was the Carol Buck series CPC prep with study guide. I had a few study sessions with my mentor and then I scheduled my exam date for August 21,2010.

The CPC was probably one of the hardest things I had ever done in my entire life, but I had prepared as well as I could have and did the best I could. I completed my exam with 2.5 hours left, I cried the entire way home thinking I had failed.

When I found out I had passed It was the BEST feeling in the entire world. I decided I wasn’t done sitting for certification exams. in 2014 I sat for the Certified Professional Coding Instructor exam, passed it on the first time as well, then in 2016 I sat for the Certified Professional Medical Auditor exam(which was harder than the CPC) Found out I had passed on Thanksgiving day– Very thankful!!!

I have made it my goal to get others to pass their exams and thus Americode Professional Coding was born!

Every week I will have another tip on how to pass your exam, I have passed 3(4 if you count ICD-10-CM) and ready to help you pass yours on the first time!

stay tuned and search tags Pass the first time

Happy Coding