Medical Assistant Practice Test 1

Below you will find the first of our free Medical Assistant practice tests. This in an online practice exam with 50 challenging questions. Each question is scored instantly and detailed explanations are provided. This is designed to be an effective CMA practice test as well as an RMA practice test. Start your medical assistant test prep right now!

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Question 1
The medical assistant reads a handwritten clinical order from the physician and, due to the handwriting, cannot distinguish the dose of the medication ordered. The medical assistant should:

A
dismiss any concern and transcribe the order as best as possible.
B
call the physician to verify the order.
C
ask a coworker what he or she thinks the ordered dose is.
D
make a best guess and take off the order.
Question 1 Explanation: 
Any order that warrants the slightest concern requires speaking with the physician to clarify the order. Because the order is legal documentation, it must be verified before the physician’s assistant can carry out the order. Do not make a guess or ask a coworker — consult with the physician who wrote the order.
Question 2
The psychologist who described developmental periods based on cognitive ability, such as preoperational and concrete operations, was named:

A
Miles Erikson.
B
Sigmund Freud.
C
Erik Erikson.
D
Jean Piaget.
Question 2 Explanation: 
Jean Piaget described the developmental learning stages in terms of cognitive development. Erik Erikson described the various lifestyle stages in terms of this vs. that (such as autonomy vs shame and doubt). Sigmund Freud’s stages were based on sexual development throughout the lifespan (oral, anal, etc.). Miles Erikson is unrelated to theories of development.
Question 3
When communicating with an angry patient, the medical assistant should do all of the following EXCEPT:

A
listen and let the person tell you his or her story.
B
use a lower-volume voice with low tones to reply.
C
apologize for the circumstances, whether a delay or a rescheduled appointment.
D
apologize and let the person know that you will call the police if needed.
Question 3 Explanation: 
Do not threaten the patient with over-the-top action unless absolutely necessary. Most people will become calm and reasonable after a few minutes with all the other strategies.
Question 4
Which bone is found superior to the pelvis and inferior to the cranium?

A
Radius
B
Clavicle
C
Metacarpals
D
Femur
Question 4 Explanation: 
The clavicle is the only bone found above the pelvis and below the head. The radius is on the arm and typically rests below the pelvis. The femur is in the leg, below the pelvis. Metacarpals are fingers at the end of each arm.
Question 5
The abbreviation CSF stands for:

A
cerebral stenosis finding.
B
chorionic stimulating factor.
C
cerebrospinal fluid.
D
cortical stimulant factor.
Question 5 Explanation: 
CSF stands for cerebrospinal fluid, an essential component to the central nervous system. It is an abbreviation frequently used in the medical field.
Question 6
The medical assistant is getting coffee with a friend after work. She mentions to the friend that she recently saw the friend’s neighbor in the office and that she is feeling better after having had kidney stones. This is:

A
an okay situation to have.
B
a breach of confidentiality.
C
close to breaching confidentiality, but not quite because the information will stop with her friend.
D
not a breach of confidentiality.
Question 6 Explanation: 
This situation is considered a breach of confidentiality, regardless of whether the person told is a friend or a stranger. There is no guarantee that the friend will not tell someone else.
Question 7
A medical assistant is proofreading the physician’s letter to another physician. The medical assistant would correct which of the following situations?

A
The date is written “April 10, 2015”.
B
The physician wants a carbon copy sent with the letter and writes “bcc: Dr. George Sterner”.
C
The opening of the letter is “ATTN: Dr. Kramer”.
D
The address to which the letter is to be sent is included in the opening of the letter.
Question 7 Explanation: 
A carbon copy would be cc, not bcc. Bcc indicates a blind carbon copy. All other items are correct — the opening has a correct introduction with the address and ATTN, and the date is written in the correct format. Letters have very specific formats which must be followed exactly.
Question 8
A physician’s office schedules patients at the top of the hour and brings them to the exam room based on arrival time. This method is known as:

A
wave scheduling.
B
open hours scheduling.
C
cluster scheduling.
D
time-specified scheduling.
Question 8 Explanation: 
Wave scheduling relies on statistical evidence indicating that some patients will be late, and is sometimes modified to be every half hour rather than every hour. Open hours scheduling is a first-come, first-served situation. Time-specified scheduling is when a patient is given a specific time to be seen that is given to no one else. Cluster scheduling involves grouping similar style appointments together.
Question 9
The medical assistant is asked to obtain a sterile urine specimen from a patient. The medical assistant should:

A
ask the patient to provide a urine sample without using toilet paper afterward.
B
instruct the patient to urinate in the cup until it is three quarters full.
C
instruct the patient to start the urine stream, stop it, and then catch some in the cup until it is about halfway full.
D
hand the cup to the patient and ask for a urine sample.
Question 9 Explanation: 
This is the correct method of obtaining a sterile urine specimen. The patient needs more instructions than just to give a urine sample. Halfway up the cup is enough, and three quarters of the way is not needed. Using toilet paper afterward will not contaminate the sample.
Question 10
The medical assistant is seating a patient in the exam room who will be receiving a pelvic examination. The medical assistant should:

A
lengthen the exam table and ask the patient to lie down on it.
B
shorten the exam table and have the patient sit on its edge with his or her feet dangling.
C
shorten the exam table and tell the patient to remove only his or her shirt when changing into a gown.
D
lengthen the exam table and attach or extend the foot supports.
Question 10 Explanation: 
The examination table should be lengthened to accommodate the patient lying down and the foot supports extended. This patient will soon be in lithotomy position for a pelvic exam.
Question 11
A patient in end stage renal disease is likely to end up with a surplus of which of the following electrolytes?

A
Sodium
B
Magnesium
C
Potassium
D
Chloride
Question 11 Explanation: 
The potassium level is likely to be higher in normal and needs to be closely assessed. In end stage renal disease, the kidneys are not functioning and are therefore unable to regulate the potassium. Dialysis helps, but the patient must still eat a low potassium diet.
Question 12
The physician orders a medication to be given PO. The medical assistant should:

A
give the medication by injection.
B
give the medication by mouth.
C
give the medication by applying it to the skin.
D
give the medication by inserting it vaginally.
Question 12 Explanation: 
PO is an abbreviation that stands for the Latin phrase “per os” or “by mouth.” By injection would be IM, for intramuscular. Skin is usually written out as “transdermally,” and the vaginal route is usually written out fully as well.
Question 13
Mitosis refers to the process of:

A
immunospecificity and memory b cells.
B
digestion and its effect on cells.
C
cell division that creates cells with the same number of chromosomes as the parent cells.
D
cell division that creates cells with half the number of chromosomes as the parent cells.
Question 13 Explanation: 
Mitosis creates cells with the same number of chromosomes as the parent cells, while meiosis creates cells with half of the number of chromosomes as the parent cells. The process of digestion is sometimes referred to as the gastrointestinal process. Immunospecificity and memory b cells have to do with immune system function, not cellular replication.
Question 14
Physicians and other healthcare professionals who contract with the insurance carrier to care for patients are known as:

A
primary care physicians.
B
preferred providers.
C
managed care organizations.
D
assignment of benefits.
Question 14 Explanation: 
A preferred provider is one who contracts with the insurance carrier to provide care for patients. Managed care organizations help process the claims from the insurance company. Primary care physicians are usually the general practitioners who initially see the patient. Assignment of benefits is up to the insurance company.
Question 15
The SOAP note acronym stands for:

A
situation, opinion, advice, and problem solved.
B
subjective, objective, actions, and plan.
C
subjective, objective, assessment, and plan.
D
situation, objective, assessment, and plan.
Question 15 Explanation: 
SOAP stands for subjective, objective, assessment, and plan. The first part indicates how the patient is feeling or what appears to be the case. The second is precise and accurate factual information about the patient or situation. The third step is the assessment of the patient or situation. The last part is the plan, which includes any follow-up the writer plans to do.
Question 16
A patient calls the office and describes a contusion over the phone to the medical assistant. Which of the following descriptions represents a contusion?

A
“An area of my left side that is numb and sometimes tingling to the touch.”
B
“An area of my arm with raised red welts that won’t stop itching.”
C
“A cut about three quarters of an inch long that is bleeding a lot.”
D
“An area of my right thigh that is black and blue in color, and very sore.”
Question 16 Explanation: 
A contusion is, in more simple terms, a bruise. Pain and a black and blue color are common descriptions for bruising. Cuts are known as lacerations. The raised red welts and itching probably indicate an allergic reaction or a rash. The numb area may indicate poor perfusion and should be further assessed, but is not a contusion.
Question 17
A very low white blood cell count would be indicated with the medical term:

A
osteopenia.
B
anemia.
C
thrombocytopenia.
D
leukopenia.
Question 17 Explanation: 
Leukopenia is the term for a low white blood count. Osteopenia refers to a weakness of the bones. Anemia indicates a deficiency of red blood cells. Thrombocytopenia indicates a low platelet value.
Question 18
A patient calls the office twice in a week and is told both times he will be called back. The call is never returned. This situation could be legally termed:

A
assault.
B
abandonment.
C
fraud.
D
invasion of privacy.
Question 18 Explanation: 
This situation could be labeled abandonment in court because the physician and/or staff has not returned the call in a timely manner. If it is necessary to discharge the patient, the action must be performed formally and not by simply ignoring the situation. For the remaining answer choices, assault would be a threat of bodily harm. Invasion of privacy might be a situation of sharing patient information without consent. Fraud is intentionally misrepresenting facts.
Question 19
Which of the following methods is the most common way to achieve sterilization?

A
Cold sterilization
B
Soap and water
C
Gas sterilization
D
Autoclave
Question 19 Explanation: 
The autoclave is the most common way to achieve sterilization because it is timely and easy to do on a small scale. Gas sterilization is usually performed in a large health care facility while cold sterilization is both difficult to confirm and time-consuming. Soap and water may get instruments clean, but they are not sterilized, which is an important difference for procedures.
Question 20
Blood flows from the right atrium through the:

A
tricuspid valve.
B
aortic valve.
C
bicuspid valve.
D
mitral valve.
Question 20 Explanation: 
The tricuspid valve separates the right atrium from the right ventricle. There is neither an aortic valve, nor a bicuspid valve. The mitral valve separates the left atrium from the left ventricle.
Question 21
Eye contact is an example of which of the following types of communication?

A
Empathic
B
Verbal
C
Therapeutic
D
Nonverbal
Question 21 Explanation: 
Eye contact is an example of nonverbal communication. Verbal communication requires spoken words or sounds. Empathic and therapeutic communication may not be performed through eye contact.
Question 22
According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, all human needs must be met before being able to achieve:

A
self-actualization.
B
safety and security.
C
self-esteem.
D
love and belonging.
Question 22 Explanation: 
Self-actualization represents the ultimate peace and contentment with oneself. According to Maslow, it can only be achieved when a person feels as though he or she belongs to the community, is loved, feels physically safe, and possesses self-esteem. Therefore, it is the last stage in Maslow’s hierarchy.
Question 23
The antibody type responsible for creating body-wide reactions to allergens is:

A
IgE.
B
IgM.
C
IgD.
D
IgG.
Question 23 Explanation: 
IgE is the antibody type that mediates allergic reactions to various allergens. IgG is a general antibody widely present throughout the body. IgM mediates reactions in the initial immune system at birth. IgD is present on the surface of B cells and plays a role in the production of antibodies.
Question 24
Which mailing option from the United States Postal Service offers a next-day delivery guarantee?

A
Priority Mail
B
Priority Mail Express
C
Media Mail
D
First-Class Mail
Question 24 Explanation: 
Priority Mail Express from the USPS is delivered 7 days a week and is their fastest domestic service for time-sensitive letters, documents, or merchandise. Includes guaranteed overnight delivery to most locations.
Question 25
Normal sinus rhythm has a rate of:

A
Between 60 and 90.
B
Between 60 and 100.
C
Below 60.
D
Over 100.
Question 25 Explanation: 
Normal sinus rhythm includes a rate between 60 and 100. Below 60 is considered bradycardia. Over 100 is tachycardia.
Question 26
A patient suspected to have a concussion begins to have a seizure in the waiting room. The medical assistant should:

A
call 911.
B
put a blanket over the patient.
C
ask for help as needed to move the patient from the chair to the floor.
D
insert a tongue blade into the patient’s mouth.
Question 26 Explanation: 
Safety is the number one priority. This patient already has a concussion and probably has increased ICP and swelling. Making sure they do not fall out of the chair and injure themselves further is the most important action. Calling 911 when they are safe is a good idea. Putting a blanket over them may impair their airway and is unnecessary. Tongue blades should never be inserted because they compromise the airway.
Question 27
The hypothalamus controls body temperature through the use of a:

A
self-limiting mechanism.
B
negative feedback loop.
C
neutral feedback loop.
D
positive feedback loop.
Question 27 Explanation: 
The hypothalamus controls body temperature through the use of a positive feedback loop, which roughly equates to each response initiating further response and this generating further response. A negative feedback loop is a loop that reduces additional response as it continues. There is no such thing as a neutral feedback loop, and positive feedback is not self-limiting.
Question 28
The physician asks the medical assistant to develop a lecture for teaching patients in the practice about diabetes and wants it to be available via computer. The medical assistant should primarily use:

A
communication software.
B
word processing software.
C
presentation software.
D
graphic software.
Question 28 Explanation: 
The medical assistant should use presentation software to develop the lecture for the patients. This will enable a clean presentation that makes learning easy. A word processed document would be informative but less interactive. Graphics software would lack the ability to provide detailed information. Communication software is not necessary because the medical assistant will be face-to-face with patients.
Question 29
Which of the following is a situation where the legal term “Respondeat Superior” would apply?

A
The medical assistant answers the office phone politely.
B
The medical assistant forgets to take the tourniquet off the arm of a patient.
C
The medical assistant takes the temperature of a child.
D
The medical assistant is late to work three days in a row.
Question 29 Explanation: 
The term Respondeat Superior literally means “let the master answer.” Because the medical assistant works under the physician’s license, the physician is legally responsible for any negligible actions performed by his or her employees. The other situations do not fall under this legal domain.
Question 30
The medical assistant obtains a rectal temperature on a child of 103.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The medical assistant should:

A
inform the doctor.
B
inform the office manager.
C
inform the pharmacy.
D
inform the child he or she has a fever.
Question 30 Explanation: 
It would be most appropriate to inform the physician in charge of the child’s care so that he or she may prescribe a medication to lower the high fever. Telling the child that he or she has a fever is fine, but the number will mean nothing and may only scare the child. Informing the pharmacy or the office manager is not appropriate.
Question 31
Which of the following foods is considered a good source of potassium?

A
Seafood
B
Oranges
C
Chicken
D
Bread
Question 31 Explanation: 
Oranges are an excellent source of potassium, as are bananas, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, and cantaloupe. Seafood is a good source of iodine. Chicken is primarily protein. Bread can contain good amounts of calcium if fortified.
Question 32
Which of the following signs and symptoms would most likely be found in a patient with asthma exacerbation?

A
Wheezing
B
Cough
C
Eczema
D
Mucus production
Question 32 Explanation: 
Wheezing is a hallmark characteristic of asthma. While mucus production or cough could be part of a patient with asthma, it is not specific to asthma itself. Eczema is not a sign of asthma; it is a separate skin condition.
Question 33
The process of using the number of members enrolled in a plan to determine the salary of the physician is called:

A
catchment.
B
basic insurance.
C
HMO.
D
capitation.
Question 33 Explanation: 
Capitation is the process of using the number of members enrolled in a plan to determine the salary of the physician. Basic insurance does not determine the salary of the physician, nor does an HMO (health maintenance organization). Catchment is the geographical area served by a hospital.
Question 34
It would be appropriate to perform all of the following actions as a medical assistant when helping a blind patient, EXCEPT:

A
asking if the patient needs assistance moving to the exam room or changing.
B
providing detailed instructions when necessary.
C
telling the patient to please leave their cane in the waiting room.
D
letting the patient know when you are leaving the exam room to retrieve equipment.
Question 34 Explanation: 
Allow patients to bring their canes with them, as this will help them feel where the walls are, doorframes, etc. Do provide detailed instruction, ask if assistance is needed, and let them know when you are entering or exiting the room.
Question 35
Which of the following patient populations are more likely to experience side effects from medication?

A
Elderly and Pediatric
B
Elderly
C
Pediatric
D
Immunocompromised
Question 35 Explanation: 
Elderly and pediatric populations are more likely to experience side effects than a patient of an average age. Pediatric populations have less weight and react differently to medications. Elderly patients have decreased renal and liver function and may process drugs at different rates.
Question 36
The initial reaction by a medical assistant to stop bleeding in a patient is to:

A
go to find a Band-Aid.
B
ask the patient what happened.
C
hold a cold-pack against the wound.
D
apply pressure.
Question 36 Explanation: 
Applying pressure is the crucial first step in stopping bleeding. Once the bleeding is stopped, a Band-Aid can be applied. Asking what happened and holding a cold-pack against the wound are secondary.
Question 37
Which of the following is crucial in manufacturing red blood cells?

A
Sodium
B
Bicarbonate
C
Iron
D
Magnesium
Question 37 Explanation: 
Iron is crucial in the production of red blood cells because it enables blood cells to bind to oxygen. The other items are also important, but not as specifically as iron for red blood cells.
Question 38
It is considered good office etiquette to answer a telephone by:

A
the second ring.
B
the first ring.
C
the third ring.
D
the fourth ring.
Question 38 Explanation: 
It is considered good manners to answer the telephone by the third ring to prevent callers from waiting unnecessarily. Each caller must be given the listener’s full attention.
Question 39
In DNA, adenine pairs with:

A
adenosine.
B
thymine.
C
guanine.
D
thiamine.
Question 39 Explanation: 
Thymine pairs with adenine. Guanine pairs with cytosine. This pairing can be recalled with the mnemonic, “GCAT PuPy PuPy.” Thiamine is vitamin B1. Adenosine is an antidysrhythmic medication.
Question 40
When a payment schedule is arranged for a patient, the office should:

A
determine whether the patient requires payment schedules for other offices.
B
determine whether the patient could be seen at an emergency room.
C
decide whether interest will be charged.
D
bill the patient at a different time in the month than all other accounts with a monthly billing schedule.
Question 40 Explanation: 
The office decides whether interest will be charged on the patient’s bill. It is not the office’s concern what financial relationship the patient has with other offices. Patients will always be seen at an emergency room, regardless of financial status. Offices always bill all patients at the same time each month when they have a monthly billing schedule.
Question 41
The final stage in the Kübler-Ross Model is:

A
fear.
B
acceptance.
C
denial.
D
grief.
Question 41 Explanation: 
The Kübler-Ross model describes 5 stages of grief. Acceptance is the final stage in the Kübler-Ross model. Neither grief nor fear is a stage. The order of the stages is as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Question 42
Which of the following medical abbreviations would be considered inappropriate by the American Medical Association?

A
subQ
B
q.h.
C
stat
D
q.d.
Question 42 Explanation: 
The abbreviation “q.d.” is no longer recommended as an abbreviation for “every day” by the American Medical Association. It can be easily misread for other abbreviations such as “o.d.” which is “for the eyes.” The other 3 abbreviations are fine. “subQ” means to administer a medication subcutaneously, “q.h.” means every hour, and “stat” means immediately.
Question 43
To assure social and emotional growth, love and security are most essential during:

A
infancy.
B
childhood.
C
adulthood.
D
post-adulthood.
Question 43 Explanation: 
Love and security are considered most important for a person to receive during infancy. This lays the groundwork for the rest of a person’s life and is a crucial period.
Question 44
An office policy and procedures manual is written primarily by:

A
the medical assistants.
B
the physician(s).
C
the physician and staff.
D
the nurses.
Question 44 Explanation: 
The office policy and procedures manual is ideally written by staff in a joint effort. In most cases, the manual is a collaborative effort between the physician(s) and the staff.
Question 45
The pancreas produces the important substance known as:

A
metformin.
B
insulin.
C
bile.
D
cryogen.
Question 45 Explanation: 
Insulin is produced in the beta cells of the pancreas and is vital to life. Cryogen is a substance not made in the body that is used to produce very low temperatures. Metformin is a medication for treating diabetes. Bile is a substance produced by the intestines and stored in the gallbladder.
Question 46
The medical assistant cares for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease and knows she should:

A
assess the patient’s gait for safety.
B
assess the patient’s level of functioning for safety.
C
encourage the use of memory games to support cognitive function.
D
encourage proper nutrition despite poor appetite.
Question 46 Explanation: 
The level of functioning in Alzheimer’s disease is critical to care. A patient in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may still be high-functioning, while someone in the later stages needs greater supervision and assistance for safety. Gait is important, but the patient is more likely to be in danger due to memory and behavioral impairment.
Question 47
The established primary care practitioner of a patient calls the specialist’s office where the medical assistant works and asks what procedure was performed at the patient’s last office visit. The medical assistant should:

A
ask the patient’s permission before releasing any information.
B
check the encounter form.
C
check the ledger form.
D
check the receipt form.
Question 47 Explanation: 
The encounter form would provide a description of services rendered, including any procedures performed. The ledger and receipt forms would contain financial information only. If a patient has declared a primary care physician, consent is inherent in sharing medical information between the primary care physician and a specialist.
Question 48
The fee schedule of an office should be reviewed at least:

A
once a month.
B
once every five years.
C
once a year.
D
as needed.
Question 48 Explanation: 
It is standard to review a fee schedule once per year to determine if any changes should be made. Any more often than once a year, and the office risks confusing definitions and fee amounts.
Question 49
The medical assistant supervises care for a patient with diabetes. The patient asks how he is doing in managing the disease. The best way to assess management of diabetes is to:

A
check how the patient is feeling.
B
check the INR.
C
check the patient’s HbA1C.
D
check the patient’s blood sugar.
Question 49 Explanation: 
The patient’s HbA1C is a three-month average of how well the patient’s blood sugars remain controlled. A normal HbA1C is between 4-6%. The blood sugar will tell us how well the patient is doing today, but is not a long term average. INR assesses coagulation status. How the patient is feeling is important, but diabetes often has no symptoms.
Question 50
The medical prefix 'supra' means:

A
away from.
B
excessive.
C
above.
D
important.
Question 50 Explanation: 
Supra is a prefix denoting a position above the part indicated by the word to which it is joined.
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