Perfect Practice Makes Perfect In Medical Coding

image of bulletin board with post-it notes saying perfect practice makes perfect in medical coding
Perfect practice makes perfect in medical coding.

** This post was reviewed and updated on October 29, 2023. **

Practice Does Not Make Perfect

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Practice Makes Perfect.” Well, I’m here to tell you that practice does NOT make perfect. Instead, “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect,” according to Vince Lombardi. And that goes for just about anything.

Hence, Perfect Practice Makes Perfect in Medical Coding.  

Don’t get me wrong. Practice is important. But practicing medical coding (or anything else for that matter) for 10,000 hours or 100,000 hours will still not result in perfection…

          … Unless you practice in a “smart way!”

At least that’s what Daniel Goleman, an author at Mindful, states, and I tend to agree.

What Is Meant By “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”

According to John Assaraf, a leading mindset and behavior expert, success means,

Doing the Right Things, in the Right Order, at the Right Time.”

This makes perfect sense to me.

Assaraf goes on to say that repetition is key to achieving success, but that’s not all. If you repeat the same wrong moves repeatedly, it only results in a total waste of time. And if you’ve already perfected the right moves, there is no need to keep practicing them.

Instead, it would be best to work on skills that need perfection and practice the right moves repeatedly. This will ultimately result in success. Repeatedly carrying out this perfect practice routine intentionally will turn into getting the right, effortless, automatic result.

If, along the way, you have a problem with perfecting a skill, you are probably doing something wrong. In other words, you are not “doing the right things, in the right order, at the right time.” Something is out of sequence.

So, repetition is important to success, but you need to know if you are doing something wrong and learn how to practice it correctly to perfect it.

And that goes for whatever you want to excel in, including Medical Coding.

How To Practice Perfectly in Medical Coding

In medical coding, it’s all about the coding guidelines, rules, and conventions. Repetition and applying the right guidelines at the right time are fundamental to becoming an excellent medical coder.

Therefore, if you practice, practice, and practice some more, applying the right guidelines in the right sequence at the right time, you will be practicing perfectly.

And that makes Perfect!

If you plan to take the CPC certification exam, you can expect to see multiple-choice coding questions on CPT, HCPCS, and ICD-10-CM. These questions require your ability to locate the correct code(s) based on coding guidelines, conventions, and instructional notes. It is critical that you pay close attention to all the information provided when looking up the correct codes in your coding manuals. Otherwise, chances are you will assign an incorrect code, or you will assign the codes in the wrong order.

My Solution

In order to help you strengthen your medical coding skills, I want to share with you my medical coding tools, so you can practice your coding skills repeatedly in the right way until you perfect them.

I offer this help in the way of medical coding articles and tips, medical coding exercises (with answers and detailed rationales), medical terminology and anatomy multiple-choice scenarios, crossword puzzles, and reference sheets.

You can access “Name That Code” coding exercises, “Medical Challenges,” and Crossword Puzzles here!

In summary, by practicing your coding exercises repeatedly in the right way, you will learn how to apply the coding rules correctly and discover the right code(s) quickly and effortlessly.

So, apply the Perfect Practice Make Perfect advice provided above, and get practicing! Success won’t happen overnight, but you will get there!

And you know what they say — “When pigs fly doesn’t matter to your success in medical coding!” 🙂

image of girl studying and image of medical coding books and showing that perfect practice makes perfect in medical coding


    1. Hspeedi, I am a newer coder working for a federaly funded physician offices, I would love to increase knowledge and speed.

      1. Stacy,

        I think the best way to increase your knowledge in medical coding is to read and re-read your coding guidelines and to implement them. And speed will come the more you code. And my advice to coding students is to practice, practice, and practice some more. When I was getting ready to sit for the CPC exam, I took as many practice exams as I could get my hands on, and I practiced them over and over until I knew them really well. Whenever I didn’t know the answer, I would go back and read the guidlelines and find out where my confusion was. After I was able to do well on the practice exams, I then started timing myself as though I was sitting for the actual exam. That really helped me.

  1. I am hoping this will help me. With everything going to online learning if you have a question it will be a day before you hear back as to where you went wrong if you can not figure it out yourself.

    1. Hi Sandra,

      While you’re waiting for a response from your instructor, just keep reviewing the appropriate coding guidelines, rules, and conventions. Don’t give up! You’ll get there.

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