CCS FAQ: What to Expect When You Are Sitting for the CCS



by Mary Beth York, CCS, CCS-P, CIC

Sitting for a coding credential is exciting! Knowing what to expect before you go in to the test center will help you marshal the butterflies and focus on being successful.

If you haven’t already, a great place to start is AHIMA’s Candidate Guide updated for 2019.

Since we work with so many students to help them prepare for the CCS, we are often asked questions about the testing center process. Frequently asked questions include:

  • What versions of the code books are allowed?
  • Can I write in my code books?
  • Can I highlight in my code books?
  • Can I tab my code books?
  • Can I bring water into the testing center?

Page 13 of the Candidate Guide provides information about Test Center Restrictions. The purpose of these restrictions is to maintain a standardized testing environment to ensure examination results for all candidates are earned under comparable conditions.

Keep the following restrictions in mind and you will be ready to sit for your exam:

  • Candidates are required to bring codebooks as indicated on the list of allowable code books. (The list of allowable code book for the CCA, CCS, and CCS-P; effective May 1, 2019 are located on the AHIMA website)
  • No reference or study materials may be brought into the examination room
  • Code books with handwritten notations, or comments are allowed but must be free of any notes containing coding rules and guidelines from other reference materials (for example, Coding Clinic, CPT Assistant, and similar materials)
  • Code books with Post-It Notes and/or loose materials will not be allowed
  • No handmade tabs will be allowed
  • Documents or notes of any kind may not be removed from the examination room. All computer screens, paper, and written materials are the copyrighted property of Pearson VUE and may not be reproduced in any form
  • Candidates will not be allowed to take anything into the examination room other than those items given to them by the administrator and their identification documents
  • Prohibited items will not be allowed in the examination room. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, the following: calculators, pagers, cell phones, electronic digital devices (PDAs, watches, and the like), recording or photographic devices, weapons, briefcases, computers or computer bags, and handbags or purses. Candidates cannot bring in drinks or snacks of any kind.
  • Eating, drinking, and smoking are prohibited in the test center
  • Questions regarding the content of the examination may not be asked of the test center administrator during the examination

Good Luck!


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About the Author

Mary Beth York, CCS, CCS-P, CIC
Mary Beth York has over twenty year's experience in coding, auditing and documentation improvement for hospitals ranging from community to teaching hospitals as well as physician group practices. Mary Beth is the author of Libman Education's highly successful CCS Exam Prep course, as well as Libman Education's highly successful CCA Exam Review course. 

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