Preparing for the RHIA Exam

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The time has finally come. You have finished (or nearly finished) all your required undergraduate work to qualify for the RHIA exam. Now it is time to start preparing. Of course, we all know your entire undergraduate coursework is a great way to prepare, but you can take some additional steps to ensure your success.

  1. Plan ahead

Schedule your exam at a time when you know you won’t be busy or at least will have a little time to focus on studying (tip two). Head over to AHIMA’s website to learn more about how, when, and where you can take your exam. Make sure to schedule the exam far enough in the future to give you time to prepare.

  • Study, study, study and study some more

Studying should begin two months before your exam date, if not sooner. Reviewing will be the key to success, but remember, DO NOT CRAM! So, grab your favorite study seat and pull out your notes. I find it very important to keep all your undergraduate work to look back on. Especially those classes you took three for four semesters ago. However, not everyone is a packrat like me and if you have thrown out those old materials, fear not. There are plenty of practice materials out there that can give you the same information. I highly recommend “Schnering’s Professional Review Guide for the RHIA and RHIT Examinations”; there are both online and physical textbook options. This book is a great study tool (that I used myself)! It is jam-packed with practice problems that will help you get in the mindset of taking the RHIA exam.

  • Don’t get overwhelmed

Work a little at a time. Do not spend hours just taking practice tests. We do not learn when we shove a lot of information in our heads all at once. Take it bit by bit. Work a few minutes here and a few minutes there. If you find there is a topic you are struggling with (I know many students struggle with reimbursement concepts), then spend more time in that area. Practice some reimbursement problems 30 minutes each day until you feel comfortable. That will be the most important thing for all students getting ready to take the exam; make sure you are comfortable. Do not let yourself get overwhelmed. Do not psych yourself out. You have the knowledge, and now you need to apply it.

  • IT’S TIME!!

It is the week of your exam, so now what? First, stop studying. Huh? I thought it was all about studying. Yes, but now your brains need time to analyze and process all the information you have been studying for two months or more. Do things you enjoy, see a movie, take a hike, visit with your friends, or spend time reading your favorite book. Just find something that will help you relax. The week has turned to days; start getting a good night’s rest now. Go to bed early. Give yourself time to unwind. On the night before your exam, go to bed early and make sure you wake up in time to get a good breakfast in before your exam. Eat your favorite meal and head over to the testing site. Bring your ID but leave your phone in the car. Now, put your knowledge to the test and pass that exam!!

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By: Heather Tudor, DrPH, MBA, RHIA, CCRP, program director and assistant professor, EKU Department of Health Services Administration

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