Certification Exam Prep

I was looking for helpful tools n' tips in preparing to take the ACDIS certification exam. I purchased the CCDS exam study guide and I was wondering if this is sufficient (and enough) to pass on the first attempt? The book gives you 8 chapters each focusing on one specific area, but I was curious if this was enough? please feel free to leave a comment, e-mail me or call/text me. I would appreciate any valuable information you may be able to share with me. "Ryan" (216) 789-3304


  • The study guide references White Papers and other documents.  I printed out copies and read through them.  I also took notes on areas where I was weak in my DRG Expert book.  We are allowed to have notes in the book.  Needless to say, I also took my medication book with me!
  • I would make sure you practice using the DRG expert, do some of some of the cases you review with both your encoder and the DRG expert, see if you come to the same DRG both ways. I would also recommend strongly that you read over the 2016 Practice Query Brief jointly published by AHIMA and ACDIS. last piece of advise would be to also read over the ACDIS Code of Ethics for CDI.  Good Luck!

  • My old DRG expert got inadvertently "retired" before I had a chance to move my notes to the current one, so now I don't have any of those valuable coding tips and re-directions I put in the boot camp. What would be the most important notes to put in my new one that would help me pass?
  • If you have any confusion about specific guidelines or sequencing issues those notes may help. to be honest I had a ton of notes and did not really rely on them. I found if you know how to navigate through the book then the book is very helpful. 
  • Want to start for CCDS exam, just wondering if anyone can provide pdf CCDS exam study guide & DRG Expert book, also any suggestions, tips, advices how to start will be appreciated. Thank you
  • the best place to start is the CCDS candidate handbook which is available within the website for download. 

    My standard advice-
    1. Read and understand the coding guidelines- especially related to sequencing and chapter specific issues such as HIV, sepsis coding. 
    2. Read and understand the AHIMA/ACDIS Query practice brief
    3. Be comfortable with the resources within the DRG Expert
    4. Review the CCDS Candidate Handbook and the exam objectives- note those areas for which you are weakest and concentrate your prep time primarily in those areas. 
    5. if you have never worked with interpreting departmental metrics or PEPPER data- work with your manager and use online resources for PEPPER.
  • Thank you for your kind reply.
    Need help in buying DRG expert. I just bought CCDS study guide but confused about DRG.
    Kindly advise which DRG expert i should buy,  I heard new DRG expert 2019 vol 1 & 2  will be launched in Oct, 2019. Thank you
  • this book is sold by Optum but there are websites that sell used versions. I would want to have a book that uses ICD-10 codes and is only a couple years old. the biggest changes will be to the CC/MCC list found usually at the back of the book. you can look at the changes that have been made on the cms.gov website and add them to your book, remember you can write directly in the book but are not allowed to bring loose papers into the exam. the newest versions 2018 and 2019 version are two volumes.
  • Is there any downside to buying a used vs. new version of the CCDS study guide?  Would I miss out on any "links" or other attachments that only come with a new book?  Thanks!
  • an older version is likely ok- but you would need to be responsible to understand any guideline changes since the printing of the book. I would make sure the used book is the latest edition.
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