Test Taking Tips

The PHR or SPHR human resources certification exam is challenging. Review these tips to help you pass the PHR or SPHR certification exam on the first try.

You’ve taken the first step to become a PHR or SPHR certified human resources professional and have registered for the exam. Now it’s time to prepare, so that you’ll pass the test on your first try.

Preparing involves more than just studying for the PHR or SPHR knowledge exam. It involves ensuring that you have broad-based business knowledge and making sure that you are mentally ready for the exam.

Studying for the PHR or SPHR Exam

Consider your grasp of the human resources field. In areas where you feel your knowledge may be a bit weak or out of date, read internet articles from different sources. It’s simple to find these articles through internet searches. Reviewing different thoughts or opinions about a human resources issue will round out your knowledge.

t least once a week, take time to read non-HR financial publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s or the Financial Times, either online or in print. The Wall Street Journal’s Tuesday edition focuses on workplace issues but with a financial focus. This type of study will enhance your mergers and acquisitions knowledge and serve as good background for the strategic management and total rewards section of the exam. In addition, it’s excellent knowledge for human resources professionals to possess.

Take Practice Tests for the PHR or SPHR Exam

Practice tests are valuable because they expose you to the test format and the manner in which the actual exam questions will be asked.

The Human Resources Certification Institute has practice tests, for which there is a fee. These are very good, almost a mirror image of test questions.

Here are some free PHR /SPHR Practice Questions, divided by section:

Compensation & Benefits

Employment & Labor Relations

Human Resources Development

Risk Management

Strategic Management

Workforce Planning & Employment

A last minute, intensive review based on a practice test is very helpful. Focus on the sections that are your lowest scoring areas on the practice tests.

Get Mentally Ready for the PHR or SPHR Exam

Ensuring that you are in the right frame of mind on exam day will help you succeed on the PHR or SPHR exam. If practical, eliminate all outside distractions for a full day prior to the exam. Shut off your cell and don’t look at email from the afternoon prior to exam day until the time you leave the testing center.

The exam is especially grueling because of the length. Make sure you are well fed and hydrated before you begin. Although you are allowed bathroom or water breaks, make an effort to minimize these, since any break may compromise your focus. On the other hand, if you feel frustrated, tired, or can’t concentrate and think a break will clear your head, take one.

Plan to take the whole day off from work. You’ll be tired, no matter how well you do. You owe yourself a little reward for all that studying. Take yourself to your favorite restaurant, or just head home and put your feet up.

Make a dry run to the testing center before exam day. Know precisely where you are going, where to park and how to access the building. The last thing you need on exam day is the stress of a wrong turn or inaccurate directions. Going to someplace that is familiar instills a calming influence.

Arrive early, since there is no penalty for doing so, but being late could cause you to be turned away. You can sit in your car and scan a few questions before going in. In some cases, the testing center will allow you to enter even if you are a bit early.

Preparation Hill Help You Pass the PHR or SPHR Exam

You can pass the PHR or SPHR certification exam on the first try if you take time to prepare. Careful study and thoughtful personal preparation are important steps toward successfully completing your PHR or SPHR certification exam.

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