For those who have recently taken the exam . What are your take aways on areas to hyper focus on ? 


  • Everything... not kidding. I just sat for the exam in May and passed.  Whew!!  I honestly would tell you that there is no one area for focus because the test is very comprehensive.  If you don't already have the CCDS Exam Study Guide, get one; the book is only the beginning of what you should study, but it will help you see what is going to be on the test.  I didn't utilize a boot camp, but I'm sure it would be very helpful if you can afford to take it. I would say that if you are not involved somehow in the reporting, regulatory, quality and compliance aspects of CDI in your facility, you may want to get acclimated with those areas.  And as the book says, your everyday experiences are very helpful.  I can see why we cannot sit for the test until two years experience.  Don't get bogged down with one thing when you study.  Be sure to write as many things in your DRG Expert that you can fit in there that you would want to reference.  Don't assume you'll be able to remember something that you would likely look up in reference material anyway, because you only have so much time for the test.  Be sure to tab your books for quick reference.  The test is an exciting accomplishment, no doubt!  You'll do great!
  • Definitely get the CCDS study guide.  Every area discussed in it will have a question on the exam.  
    Do not forget to bring the DRG book & a drug guide book they allow for the exam.  I was so glad I did as some questions I would not have been able to answer without those books (TIP: write little notes on any blank page you can--this is allowed but loose paper is not. I had normal lab values/abgs, ckd stages, etc written in case I had a "mental freeze" during the exam).  
  • Look at the exam objectives- those that fall into areas of which you have less experience are the ones to focus you time. For example if you are not involved in interpreting metrics assure you are comfortable with those concepts. Read the official guidelines, read the AHIMA/ACDIS Query Brief and the ACDIS Code of Ethics.
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