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How to Succeed in Medical Billing and Coding Courses

When you are taking courses toward a medical billing and coding certification, your habits and personality can have a significant impact on your success. Certain study habits give you an advantage, and your health and participation will also affect your ability to make the most of your courses. And students who have certain personality traits are more likely to do well in the top online medical billing and coding courses.

Study Skills

Flash Cards

Whether you take medical billing and coding courses online or at a traditional college, you will be required to learn medical terminology. Using flash cards will help you to learn and retain these terms. You can buy flash card sets for medical terminology and human anatomy, or you can make your own from note cards.


Memorization is an important skill for success in medical coding courses online. You will be expected to know medical and anatomical terms and use them properly on exams. When you work on memorizing terms, start with only a few and focus on those for a few minutes. Then shift to a few new terms, and return to the first set. Repeat this process and enlarge the group of terms that you memorize. At the beginning of every study session, always return to old terms that you memorized earlier to jog your memory and keep your mind sharp.

Misspelled Word List

As a medical biller or coder, you will be expected to correctly spell and use medical and anatomical terms, and both brick-and-mortar schools and the best medical billing and coding online courses will test your ability to do this. Improve your spelling by keeping a list of terms that you commonly misspell and then write them multiple times while saying the letters aloud.

Typing Drills and Games

Accurate typing is crucial in the field of medical billing and coding. Students who wish to improve their typing skills for medical billing courses online can practice using free online typing tests and games that improve speed and accuracy.


Interacting with others in the class improves performance, even for online medical billing courses. Choose a study partner who you can meet or talk with to discuss the course material. When reading or listening to a lecture, note what is not clear to you and ask your study partner or instructor questions about it afterwards.

Helpful Tips

Your mental, physical and emotional states will significantly impact your academic performance. Preparation and participation make it easier to succeed in a medical billing and coding online course. There are a number of simple strategies that can help you gain an advantage.


You are better able to learn and retain information when you exercise, eat and sleep properly. Exercise enhances mood and cognitive ability. Being hungry or thirsty is distracting, but so is eating or drinking during class. You can improve your ability to focus by exercising and eating a healthy snack before each medical coding online course or on-campus class begins.

Work Posture

An accredited online medical coding course will require you to work at your computer for even longer periods of time than you would in traditional college courses. Developing good posture, stretching and regularly moving will help reduce potential pain and free your attention for listening and learning.


Students who participate in class activities get more out of their classes, and this is equally true of online medical billing courses. Asking questions and interacting with your instructor or fellow students keeps you alert and helps clarify concepts. If you are taking online classes, try to eliminate any distractions from your environment that will prevent you from actively participating.

Traits of the Best Medical Billing and Coding Students

Certain personality traits can make students more likely to succeed in medical billing and coding programs online or in traditional programs. These traits often correspond with the job skills that students who are taking medical billing and medical coding online courses will need to use in the field. Some of these characteristics include:

Using Good Communication Skills

Communicating with and relating to others is an important skill to work on, especially if you are taking a medical billing online course. Medical billers are in constant contact with patients, insurance companies and healthcare providers. Students can use class discussions or Internet chats to develop the social skills that will be needed on the job.

Paying Attention to Detail

Noticing details in written and verbal communication is particularly important for medical billers and coders because a mistake can delay payments or even impact patient health. Traditional colleges and accredited online medical coding courses will test your ability to memorize and enter codes correctly.

Being Good with Numbers

Medical coders and billers must track outstanding balances and collections activity as well as translate medical records into standardized numerical codes. The best online medical billing courses will test students’ math and accounting skills.

Having Good Concentration

Maintaining focus for long periods of time is important for medical coders who have to spot small differences in diagnoses after hours of coding. Students taking a medical coding course online are more likely to be successful in their work if they can perform routine tasks consistently and accurately.

Practicing Conflict Resolution Skills

Successful medical billers are able to deal with interpersonal conflict. Some jobs allow employees to perform medical billing and coding from home, but most medical billers work in an office and must resolve problems between insurance companies, healthcare providers and patients. Just like developing clear communication, if you are taking medical billing online courses you will need to develop your ability to stay calm during disagreements and form compromises.

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