Medical Assistant Study Guide

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Core Competency Areas

The exam tests for 'Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities' (KSAs) in the following core competency areas:

15%Clinical Practices

5%Law, Ethics, and Professionalism

10%Administrative Medical Assisting

5%Safety Procedures

15%Medical Terminology

10%Anatomy and Physiology


10%Basic Principles of Pharmacology

5%Patient Identification, Communication, and Instruction

15%Diagnostic Tests and Lab Procedures


Topical Breakdown

Use the following topical guide to help you prepare for the exam:

I.  Clinical Practices (15%)

  • The role of the medical assistant
  • Tasks of the medical assistant
  • Certification and CME

II.  Law, Ethics, and Professionalism (5%)

  • Characteristics of a professional
  • Common laws that apply to medical practice
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Role of ethics in medical care
  • Confidentiality, privacy, and security

III.  Administrative Medical Assisting (10%)

  • Assisting in a physician office
  • Insurance, coding, and billing
  • Scheduling
  • Maintaining medical records

IV.  Safety Procedures (5%)

  • Infection control
  • Basic first aid / Medical emergencies
  • Patient safety

V.  Medical Terminology (15%)

  • Definitions and identification of common medical terms
  • Settings of care
  • Specialization in medicine
  • Basic medical math

VI.  Anatomy and Physiology (10%)

  • Anatomic structures of the body
  • Body systems and physiology
  • Vital signs and measurements

VII.  Disease (10%)

  • Common infectious and non-infectious diseases
  • Factors that contribute to disease
  • Common signs and symptoms of disease

VIII.  Basic Principles of Pharmacology (5%)

  • General principles
  • Medication administration
  • Common medication categories

IX.  Patient Identification, Communication, and Instruction (15%)

  • Techniques for effective communication
  • Basic nutrition
  • Cultural humility
  • Patient instruction for exams, testing, and home care
  • Obtaining patient information
  • Special patient needs

X.  Diagnostic Tests and Lab Procedures (10%)

  • Obtaining an electrocardiogram
  • Phlebotomy
  • Common office laboratory procedures
  • Specimen collection and processing
  • Common imaging studies


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