AAPC CIC Exam: Your Gateway to Inpatient Coding Mastery

The AAPC CIC (Certified Inpatient Coder) exam is a crucial step for individuals aspiring to build a successful career in medical coding within the inpatient setting. Earning this certification demonstrates your proficiency in applying ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS codes to accurately represent diagnoses and procedures performed in hospitals, critical access hospitals, and other inpatient facilities.

Exam Format:

40 multiple-choice questions: These questions assess your theoretical knowledge of coding principles, guidelines, and specific codes.

7 inpatient cases with fill-in-the-blank questions: This section tests your practical ability to analyze medical records and assign the appropriate codes.

Testing Rules:

Time limit: 4 hours to complete the entire exam.

Delivery options: Choose between taking the exam online at home with a live proctor or at a designated testing center.

Open-book: You’re allowed to use your current year ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS codebooks from any publisher.

Passing score: 70% or higher.


The CIC exam syllabus covers a wide range of topics related to inpatient coding, including:

Anatomy and physiology: Understanding the human body systems is crucial for accurate coding.

Medical terminology: Familiarity with medical terms is essential for deciphering medical records.

Coding principles and guidelines: Knowing how to apply the official coding rules is paramount.

ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS coding systems: Thorough knowledge of both diagnosis and procedure coding is required.

Inpatient hospital services: Understanding the different types of services provided in inpatient facilities is important.

Healthcare reimbursement methodologies: Familiarity with how healthcare is financed is helpful.

Preparing for the CIC Exam:

AAPC offers various resources to help you prepare for the CIC exam, including:

CIC Exam Preparation Course: This comprehensive course provides in-depth coverage of the exam syllabus and includes practice exams.

Self-study materials: AAPC offers a variety of study guides, practice exams, and other resources for independent learners.

Online forums and communities: Connect with other CIC exam candidates and experienced coders for support and advice.

Earning your CIC certification opens doors to exciting career opportunities in various healthcare settings. With dedication and thorough preparation, you can ace the exam and embark on a rewarding journey in the world of inpatient coding.

Here are some additional tips for success:

  • Start studying early and don’t procrastinate.
  • Create a study schedule and stick to it.
  • Focus on your weakest areas.
  • Take practice exams to gauge your progress.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before the exam.