Staying focused on your studies is never easy. The struggle only gets harder if you have a day job, have a family to look after, or have other demands on your time. Whether you’re learning medical coding or medical billing in a classroom or online, here are three simple tips that can help you stay focused on your studies.
1. Eliminate distractions
If you are attending medical billing school online, the hardest part may be finding a time that you can focus on lectures. When you sit down to your coursework, help yourself focus by going into a room where you can be by yourself. If you have kids, arrange for someone else to watch them, or try to do your work while they are at school, if you can. Once by yourself, silence your phone and put it away. The last thing you need is text messages and Facebook notifications distracting you from your work.
If you’re doing your coursework in a class setting, it’s still important to minimize distractions when you study at home, and when you’re listening to lectures in class. You should put that phone away, too, and block distracting websites while you’re in class so you’re not tempted to let your attention wander.
2. Take notes
One simple way to stay focused while studying is to take notes. If you’re listening to a lecture, write down key points. If you’re reading a text book, make notes in the margins or highlight key passages. This simple task will help you retain the information much better than simply listening or reading.
3. Schedule time for studying
If you’re attending medical coding school in person, it’s easy to let yourself believe that you will study when you have a free moment. But free moments don’t just magically appear. You need to set aside time for yourself to study, the same way you set aside time for class.
If you’re taking the course online, setting aside time is even more important. Plan a schedule for when you will listen to lectures and do coursework. Try to stick to the schedule as best you can. Treat your schedule like a solid commitment, not something you can move around whenever you feel like it. This attitude will help you stay on track.
AHIMA and the AAPC talked to a number of recently certified medical coding professionals about their strategies for passing their certification exams. The organizations gained a lot of great insights from these individuals. Here are some of their top tips for getting your medical coding or medical billing certification:
1. Take your exam as soon as you can.
Many students make the mistake of postponing their certification exam for a few months or more after finishing their medical billing course. This is a big mistake. The closer you can schedule your exam to the end of your course, the more likely you will be to pass. It makes perfect sense — you’ll do best when all of the information is fresh in your mind. Delaying will only cause you to lose confidence and forget some of the finer points of the course.
2. Don’t try to cram.
Some people blow off most of their coursework in favor of a last-minute cram session before the medical coding certification exam. This strategy rarely (if ever) works. The skills needed to become a successful medical coder can’t be learned overnight. Your best strategy is to give your coursework the time and attention that it requires. Stay up-to-date on your assignments, and get help as soon as you come across an area that you find confusing. Take advantage of all the resources available to you through your course.
3. Check your problem areas with practice exams.
Practice exams are an incredibly helpful tool while preparing for the actual test. You won’t see the exact same questions on the actual exam, but practice exams can help you get a feel for the format of the test and the types of questions that you’ll see. Practice tests can also help you identify areas where you need more work and give you a sense of whether or not you’re ready for the actual exam.
4. Create a support system.
It’s much easier to learn when you have other people on your side. Whether you’re interested in medical billing or coding, the programs at Allied Prep can provide you with all of the training and support that you will need to succeed. You can study at home through our online program or in class with other students who share your goals. In either case, you’ll have access to knowledgeable instructors who can help answer your questions and guide your studies.