Exam Tips

Soldiers

Make sure that you present for any scheduled C&P exams and diagnostic studies that may have been scheduled by the VA or its examiners, following the outlined recommendations below

  1. Be at least 15 minutes early to your scheduled exam time, leaving enough time to drive to the facility location that contains the exam site, check in with the C&P staff, and settle into the waiting room and unwind and use the bathroom facilities, prior to being called by your examiner. Most C&P examiners will decline to perform your exam if you are late, as they would not have enough time to complete the history and physical exam, and would be rushed or get behind on their schedule, which would be unfair to other vets.
  2. If you find that your scheduled C&P exam date or time conflicts with some other life event, immediately call the facility C&P department and try to get it re-scheduled. Unless it is an emergency situation, try not to reschedule this exam the day before you are to be examined, or worse yet, the day of the exam. No shows will most likely result in the cancellation of your claim by the regional office. Most facilities try to accommodate your requests (if possible) if you have a good reason for rescheduling and you give enough notice.
  3. Be polite and genuine and courteous. Do not to be rude and insensitive or mean to your examiner. Worse yet, do not be artificial and try to suck up either, as your examiner may view this as insulting or disrespectful. Yelling or cursing at the examiner for the injustices you perceive from the military or VA will do nothing but alienate him/her, and harm your case. Never threaten a C&P examiner, as you could be barred from receiving medical care and treatment benefits at the VA for life!
  4. Dress in a conservative manner with clean clothing that does not contain offensive or controversial language or pictures. Avoid flashy jewelry. Refrain from excessive use of make up and perfumes. Afford your examiner easy access to the body part or system that is being examined (for example, consider wearing shorts if you are scheduled for a knee exam). Always present with adequate hygiene.
  5. Speak and communicate in coherent and concise sentences without rambling rants or raves, tangents or flight of ideas, using appropriate gestures and eye contact. Use a tone of voice that is neutral and not hateful or angry. ANSWER THE QUESTION that the examiner asks you in a time efficient manner. If you are physically and mentally capable, then answer the questions yourself, and instruct any person who accompanies you to merely observe. Examiners hate contradictory data interjected by family members or overbearing and angry spouses who try to answer on your behalf.
  6. Answer the questions to the best of your ability. If you don’t know the answer, then say so, or inform your examiner that your answer is only an estimate.
  7. Be honest and do not lie or embellish your stories. Provide factual data that you can substantiate with facts in your medical records or objective evidence on examination. Do not claim to have all kinds of physical signs and symptoms if the examiner will not find them on examination, as you will look ridiculous and lose credibility in your history.
  8. Present to your exam prepared to answer questions regarding the condition and disability for which you filed. Be prepared to identify the approximate date or year that this condition first began and the details surrounding the development of the disability, types of treatment that you have received in the last year to include medication (bring your medication bottles with you), current signs and symptoms of the condition, and the effects that this disability is having on your functional status at home and at work. When responding to examiner questions that provide you with choices, you should chose the best answer choice that corresponds to your condition in recent times. Be decisive if possible, as there are no “maybe” boxes built into the software program!
  9. Give reasonable efforts during your examination. Do not exhibit exaggerated pain behavior that is out of proportion to your current condition, as you lose credibility to the examiner, who will undoubtedly document this in the report and tip off the disability raters that your exam findings are erroneous, and thereby damaging your case. Furthermore, it is illegal to try to obtain federal benefits fraudulently by malingering. There is no "extra credit" for screaming, crying, or throwing yourself on the floor or falling on the examiner! Most examiners will then suspect that you are not giving your best efforts, and even document and test you for this during the exam. If you merely verbalize your pain to the examiner, this is sufficient for C&P documentation purposes.
  10. At the completion of your C&P exam, genuinely thank your examiner for providing this service for you and other veterans who are seeking disability benefits. Without C&P examiners, there would be no validation process to help you gain benefits to which you are deserving and entitled. Examiners frequently feel that they have a thankless job, and are treated as the "enemy" in the C&P process, as the front line personnel. They have a difficult and tedious job, performing veteran examinations, reviewing and ordering diagnostic studies, reviewing stacks of medical records, and researching the medical literature to help formulate valid medical opinions. They can be your advocate, if you treat them with mutual respect.