Online Chat – How to Prepare for the PHR/SPHR Exams... Transcript - February 12, 2014

Online Chat – How to Prepare for the PHR/SPHR Exams with SHRM and the HR Certification Institute
Transcript - February 12, 2014
Q. When are the test prep materials (SHRM Learning System) updated to incorporate new regulations?
A. The SHRM Learning System for PHR/SPHR certification preparation is updated annually but new regulations that surface during the year are added to the HR updates section of the Online Resource Center. The Online Resource Center is accessible for 18 months after you login. Q. How similar or different is the 2013 SHRM Learning System compared to the 2014 version.
A. The content within the SHRM Learning System for PHR/SPHR certification preparation is updated annually to ensure that it covers the most recent HR information including any recently passed or updated legislation and/or case law. We also review the content to ensure that it is presented in the most understandable format, taking into consideration any feedback we may have received from the prior year. Any significant content changes are posted in the “updates” section of the resource center. You should find you have sufficient information within the 2013 SHRM LS to prepare for the exam if you are sitting in May of 2014. Test-Taking Tip #1:
Trust your first impressions. There is a correct answer to each question. It is widely believed that your first
impression of the correct answer will be a better choice.
Q. What are types of study guides are available for the PHR exam? What are costs of the study guides?
A. SHRM's tool is called the SHRM Learning System. You may find the different learning options along with their fees at Q. I've heard there are courses to help study for the PHR exam. Can you explain?
A. You can find a list of courses at We have a variety of partners who offer the Learning System course in online, classroom or hybrid. Q. Are we able to go back and review each question prior to submitting on the exam?
A. We recommend you use the entire time by first getting through all of the questions once, marking any you'd like to review and going back. You have that option in the Computer Based test Q. What resources are available free to military?
A. Since these are practice‐based exams you do not have to purchase materials. You need to self‐assess your knowledge and experience. The Army has a special program which translates the body of knowledge into military terminology. You can find other resources via the S‐1 Net. Q. What are the best materials to help in preparation for the test?
A. We recommend the SHRM Learning System for PHR/SPHR Certification Preparation, with Learning Modules to correspond to the bodies of knowledge tested on the exams. You can learn more at Q. What is your advice to someone who has been performing HR duties in the military on areas that may be
more or less challenging on the test?
A. Everyone's experience is unique. If you have had a variety of assignments in the military you will have broader HR experience than someone who has held only one position. Start with the body of knowledge available at and compare your knowledge and experience to what the exam includes. If you have never managed compensation, that could be challenging for you, for example. Q. The SHRM learning system frequently touch up on acts such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act - Is it safe to assume
they should all be memorized? Why are some bolded in the books but others are not?
A. We recommend that you refer to the Bodies of Knowledge to determine which laws will be covered on the exam. SOX is covered under Functional Area 01 in the PHR and SPHR BoK. Q. What is the average percentage of students that pass the PHR exam the first time? I heard it is tough and
some items on the test may not be covered in the study guides? A. On an individual basis, pass rates will vary based on personal experience and time and method of exam preparation. The rates also tend to vary from test window to test window. In the last test window that we have results for (May/June 2013) 60% of those who sat for the PHR exam passed. Q. Once you take the exam and pass what is need to maintain certification?
A. To maintain your certification you must earn at least 60 recertification credits within a 3‐year window Q. Is there a book I can buy to review for the exam vs. classes? I am a 20+ HR person
A. You can prepare with the SHRM Learning System on your own with our Self‐Study learning option. Details are at Q. Has SHRM taken a survey to see how the candidates that passed the exam studied? I am interested to see if
one way of studying for the exam is more successful.
A. Based on the exit surveys we know that most people use the SHRM Learning System to prepare. And studies show that people who use the Learning System have a better chance of passing. Q. Hello. I am the Personnel Director for an Army National Guard unit in Washington State. I and several of my
staff members are preparing for the PHR exam this spring. I am curious, what are the most common difficulties
military HR professionals have with the PHR exam?
A. We don't have direct feedback from soldiers who have taken the exam but we know there are differences in terminology. Also, we know that some HR professionals in the military don't handle things like health care benefits and compensation. Q. I signed up for a SHRM virtual class. Will the instructions be sent via email on how to join the class?
A. Yes, you will be sent a welcome letter via email a few weeks prior to the class start date. Q. Where do I take the exam?
A. Please go to for locations for our exams Q. I have attended PHR/SPHR class a year ago and could not take the exam due to personal reasons. Has the
course changed since?
A. The course and the Learning System have been updated for 2014 to reflect the latest laws and regulations. If you are planning on attending a SHRM Seminar the price of the 2014 Learning System for PHR/SPHR is included in your registration fee. Q. With the on-line SHRM test prep site you see if your answers to the practice exam are right/wrong as soon
as you answer. That's not the case with the actual exam, is it?
A. You will see if the answers are correct or incorrect in most of the practice exams in the Learning System. However, if you take the post‐test it is set up to mimic the experience you will have the actual exam where you will not see the correct/incorrect until you finish the exam. Q. I took the exam this past January and failed by 4 points - bummer. I was surprised at how many questions
were on the exam that were not touched within the SHRM prep books - and visa verse - do you have any
suggestions or thoughts regarding this?
A. You should have received an explanation of your performance level on each of the topic areas (domains) covered on the exam. If you failed to achieve a passing score, you can use the explanations to guide future study efforts. Focus on those areas in which you are weaker. You might also wish to use other study guides listed at the HRCI website, where there are retired exam questions that you can use to practice ‐‐
preparation/preparation‐resources/official‐hrci‐certification‐guides Q. Do you know the approximate pass rate for those that used the SHRM learning system?
A. On an individual basis, pass rates will vary based on personal experience and time and method of exam preparation. The rates also tend to vary from test window to test window. In the last test window that we have results for (May/June 2013) 60% of those who sat for the PHR exam passed, and 58% earned their SPHR designation. While it varies from window to window those who prepare with the SHRM Learning System consistently beat the national average by 6‐ 10 percentage points.
Q. If you fail the PHR exam how many times can you retake the exam? I know it depends on the window but is
there a limit of number of times you can take it? A. You can retake the exam as many times as you like. Only in one exam window. Q. I am an HR Professional for the military and but also a recent graduate with an HR degree, however,
because I am not on the civilian side of HR, how will this book of knowledge be adequate to prepare myself
and others within the HR field with the military service be prepared for this extensive exam?
A. Your HR degree will help you understand how the HR body of knowledge is different from military HR competencies. Q. How can I sign up for the SHRM virtual class?
A. You may sign up online at Q. I noticed many of the recertification classes are expensive, are there cost effective ways to obtain
recertification credits?
A. Yes, please check out our recertification resources page‐
resources Q. I am preparing for my SPHR examination in the Summer, I am presently PHR certified. I am working on my
prep by using the SHRM Learning System, as I did for my PHR. Do you find that this is sufficient or should I use
other materials to supplement, perhaps even attend classroom sessions?
A. This really depends on your preferred way to study. We have heard from many students that they were able to pass on their own but still others prefer to have a class where they can network and ask questions. Both can be successful. Good luck on your studies! Q. What does it mean that there are 175 questions and 150 are scored? (25 pre-test) How is it determined
which 25 are eliminated from the scoring?
A. The HR Certification Institute tests questions to make sure they perform within our statistical parameters before they affect someone's score. You will not be able to tell the difference when you take the exam so you should answer every question and do your best on them all. Q. Are stats available showing percentages of pass rates...first try, second try...
A. No, we do not have pass rates based on exam attempts. We do post overall pass rates by test administration on our website at‐programs/who‐is‐certified‐/exam‐statistics Q. I recently took the PHR Exam in December 2013. I received a 471. I took a course at a University to prepare
me, studied all 6 modules and ordered study guides, took practice tests multiple times and ordered study
guide books as well. What else can I do to pass if I take it again this year?
A. There are many different ways to prepare for the exams and each depends on your personal preference. We recommend using the entire Learning System including the online resource center to fully utilize all the benefits of the system. Many people say that a study group was very helpful or a study buddy. The SHRM Learning System LinkedIn group is a helpful resource to find others who are preparing. The link is‐b‐grp‐v Q. You can take the exam over and over in one "window" until it's passed? So if I take it on June 5th I can sign
up again for the next test date? And do I have to pay the fee again?
A. You can take the exam once per test window. And yes, there is a fee each time because the Institute incurs costs each time someone sits for the exam.
Q. Is the pre-assessment a good indicator of exam success?
A. The assessment in the Learning System is designed to help you identify the areas you need to study based on your knowledge and experience. Your post‐test results would be a better indication of how comfortable you are with the material. While it is a good indication of success we can't guarantee you will. Good Luck! Q. How long does it take to be approved to sit for the exam? How do you translate your military resume into
HR experience, when your title may not be human resource specialist but your duties are the same?
A. See page 18 for the time it takes to be approved to take the exam.‐
source/web‐files/2010‐certification‐handbook‐pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=0. See page 16 of the same link, which describes what to do if your job title is not listed already, and document work experience Q. Do you know of any financial assistance for paying for the test?
A. The SHRM Foundation offers various scholarships for professional development and certification. For more information visit Q. If I am sitting for the PHR but score very well - does that automatically grant the SPHR title? How does that
A. The PHR and SPHR credentials are based on experience. PHR Requirements • 1 year of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher • 2 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree • 4 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree • 4 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher SPHR Requirements • 5 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree • 7 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree Q. Does the SPHR exam cover PHR related topics? Is taking one over the other recommended?
A. The PHR and the SPHR cover the same body of knowledge with few exceptions. However the percentage covered by each exam is slightly different. Look at the body of knowledge to see the percentages. One is not better than the other; it all depends on an individual's experience and knowledge of HR. We suggest you start with the PHR. Q. What score is required to pass?
A. The score required to pass is 500 scaled score. Q. How much does it cost to sign up for the Virtual class
A. The 7‐week Virtual PHR/SPHR Prep class is $1,695 for SHRM members. You can find more information at Q. What is a passing score for the PHR and SPHR exams?
A. The minimum passing score is a scaled score of 500. Q. Is there an advantage to taking the SPHR over the PHR? Does the SPHR encompass PHR topics?
A. There is not an advantage of one vs. the other. Register for the exam that covers the responsibilities and knowledge that best describe your on‐the‐job experience. The SPHR BoK includes PHR topics ‐ see‐source/web‐files/phr_sphr‐body‐of‐knowledge‐pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=2 for the full BoK. Q. Why is the passing rate so low?
A. The PHR and SPHR exams are very rigorous, designed to measure mastery of the body of knowledge. We can control the difficulty of each exam but we cannot control what people bring with them on test day in terms of experience. Some people attempt the exam too early in their HR career. Q. How much of the information on the practice exams is represented in same format on the PHR test?
A. If I understand your question correctly, the post test is the one practice exam in the system that is formatted in the way the actual HRCI exam is. For example in that test you will have the ability to mark and review, skip a question, strike thru and practice timing. There are 2 post‐tests available in the system ‐ one for PHR and one for SPHR. Test-Taking Tip #2:
Avoid over-analyzing. Be careful that you do not read too much into an answer.
Q. If I received a confirmation to test, is that the same as an authorization to test?
A. Yes, if you have any additional questions please contact [email protected] Q. In the SHRM learning system, there are several acts that are discussed such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act etc.
Are these all important to memorize? And why are some bolded and others are not?
A. SOX is listed as one of the examples in Functional Area 01 in the BoK. Refer to the BoK to determine which laws are fair to be tested.‐source/web‐files/phr_sphr‐body‐of‐knowledge‐
pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=2 Q. Once you sign up for the SHRM website with practice exams how long can you use the website and if it
expires and you need to retake an exam how do you get access again?
A. You will have online access to the SHRM Learning System for duration of 18 months before it expires. This will allow for you to take the exam during 3 testing windows. Q. Can you view what questions you missed on the test after you leave the exam location?
A. No ‐ for test security reasons we cannot share questions with you after the exam. Use your score report to know what areas you need to focus on for the future. Q. I used SHRM learning system to prepare for the PHR exam, however I only got 492 and so did not
what would be your suggestion for me.
A. So sorry to hear that! Many people have stated that a blended learning experience has helped them prepare for the exam such as taking a SHRM Seminar or attending an Education Partner Program at a local college or university and studying every night. Throughout this chat we will be posting exam tips that many have found to be helpful. The online resource center that comes with your SHRM Learning System is a very helpful resource that enables you to create a customized study plan, set a time table for how long you will need to prepare and a variety of tests and quizzes to assess your current knowledge and any gaps in your learning. Q. How long does it take to be approved to sit for the exam?
A. Please see page 18 of this handbook for processing times:‐source/web‐
files/2014‐certification‐handbook‐pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=6 Q. Can anyone access the online SPHR tests on SHRM site?
A. SHRM has a variety of preparation resources. If you mean the online assessments offered by the Institute, yes, those can be purchased for a modest fee on the HRCI website at Those are actual retired questions from our item bank. Q. What is the cost for each exam and what do the fees cover? Are any discounts offered for members of the
A. PHR Exam: SHRM Member: $350 | Nonmember: $400 SPHR Exam: SHRM Member: $475 | Nonmember: $525 You can receive GI Bill reimbursement for licensing and certification tests. These tests must be specifically approved for the G.I. Bill. There is no limit to the number of tests you may take, or number of times you may take the same test. VA will pay for tests even if you fail them. VA can pay only for the cost of the tests, up to $2,000.00 for each test. We cannot issue reimbursement for other fees connected with obtaining a license or certification. Payment is issued after you submit proof of payment, etc. to the VA. More information can also be found at:‐bill/gi‐bill‐license‐and‐
certification‐program.html Q. Would you recommend someone sit for the exam with more than 2 years of HR Experience? Would your
chances be greater as Passing the longer you work in HR?
A. Yes, I would recommend taking the exam. Please review the Body of Knowledge for more information PHR Requirements • 1 year of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher • 2 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree • 4 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree‐handbooks Q. If I purchase the learning system now and then decide I want to sign up for the SHRM virtual seminar
starting in April, would I get credit for that in the cost of the seminar since the cost seems to include the LS?
A. Hi Cathy, you may deduct $200 from the program price if you have already purchased the Learning System for PHR/SPHR. The program price would be $1,495 for Members and $1,800 for Nonmembers. It’s best to call our Member Care Center to expedite your registration so this deduction can immediately be applied. The phone number is 800‐283‐7476, option #3. Q. If I pass the PHR and then meet the criteria of work/school experience to become a SPHR do I have to retake the test?
A. Yes, each exam is separate. You do not have to take the SPHR right away, of course. You might want to recertify once rather than rushing to sit for another exam. Q. I purchased the learning system and seeking more assistance to ensure that I pass the exam. I enrolled in a
class however it was cancelled on last week, I do not know what else to do? Can you provide guidance???
A. Many people say that a study group was very helpful or a study buddy. The SHRM Learning System LinkedIn group is a helpful resource to find others who are preparing. The link is‐b‐grp‐v Q. Would you recommend locating a study group to prepare for the SPHR exam? If so, do you know of any
study groups in Manhattan, NYC?
A. The SHRM Learning System LinkedIn group is a helpful resource to find others who are preparing. The link is‐b‐grp‐v Q. I would like to take the test in Dec 2014, is it too early to purchase the Learning System?
A. No! It's never too early! Q. If I received a confirmation from the testing center, is that the same as an authorization to test?
A. You should contact HRCI at [email protected] to confirm that you are authorized to test. Q. On eligibility, what does exempt level HR experience refer to? If I am a Benefits Specialist with the HR
Department, have a Professional certificate in HR and a bachelors in another field would that qualify me?
A. In terms of meeting the exempt level HR experience, the following may help you determine if you meet the criteria yet. Your job duties must meet the criteria for exempt‐level, or professional, work. While you may be classified as non‐exempt at your company and paid an hourly rate, if your experience meets the criteria, then you may be deemed eligible for the exams. The HR Certification Institute uses the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) definition of “exempt” level work as guidance to determine eligibility. To be eligible for our exams, applicants must have exempt‐level work experience. Professional HR work experience (exempt‐level) requirements can demonstrated by having: • Primary duty consists of managing the enterprise, a recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise; • Work that can include some supervisory responsibility for staff or work product; • Primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance; • Work that requires advanced HR Knowledge; • At least 51% of your job responsibilities must be “exempt‐level” in nature; Often times, you can determine if you are exempt from the help of your supervisor or through reviewing your job description. You can use the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet #17A for additional reference ‐ Q. Do you know how long it takes before an application is reviewed and an ATT letter is received in a
candidates profile inbox on the HR Institute website?
A. Please contact us at [email protected] for more information. Q. I have purchased the SHRM learning system but it is hard to stay on course for the self study, I tried to go to
the class at GMU but it was cancelled and there is no study group in my area. I feel a bit overwhelmed at this
point. Do you have any suggestions?
A. Sorry to hear about your class. You can look into SHRM Seminars as well, for a classroom‐setting learning experience: Q. What aspect would you say is the most difficult of the exam. SPHR?
A. The exam experience differs for everyone taking the exam. One of the helpful features of the SHRM Learning System is the online resource center which enables people to take a variety of assessment tests which will identify any learning gaps and areas for improvement. There are also module‐specific tests that will help you further identify areas to focus your studies on. Q. All my HR experience is military based. Is it difficult to meet the HR experience requirements for the PHR
A. As long as your military experience is primarily focused in HR and you have the right number of years based on your education you should be able to take the exam. Everyone's experience is unique, however. Remember that eligibility does not guarantee success on the exam. Q. Does the SHRM committee ever take into consideration that the questions may need to be reevaluated if
only 60% are passing and using all of the SHRM materials and may be practicing HR in general? Corporate HR
practice and SHRM practice may be different creating the challenge of passing the exams.
A. For the Learning System the questions are evaluated each year and looked at for their relevance to the body of knowledge which is tested on the exam. Since the exam questions are written by an exam writing committee separately our system can only address whether or not the questions relate to the body of knowledge. However, students who use the Learning System generally beat the national pass rate by 6 to 10 percentage points. Q. Will the 2014 exam prep materials include information related to the ACA? Will that topic be included on
the 2014 exam?
A. We recommend that anyone sitting for the exam to be updated on any current laws and regulations. The SHRM Learning System includes an online resource center that enables users to access HR resources, laws and regulations.
Q. Presently work for a school district as a HR Manager I'm required by contract to get a PHR. How long does it
typically take or should plan for?
A. It is up to each person's individual experience and knowledge. In general, many people prepare at least 60 hours. Again it's up the individual. Best wishes! Q. I have the 2013 learning system and will be taking the test in 2014. Do I need to purchase the 2014
A. The content within the SHRM Learning System for PHR/SPHR certification preparation is updated annually to ensure that it covers the most recent HR information including any recently passed or updated legislation and/or case law. We also review the content to ensure that it is presented in the most understandable format, taking into consideration any feedback we may have received from the prior year. Any significant content changes are posted in the “updates” section of the resource center. You should find you have sufficient information within the 2013 SHRM LS to prepare for the exam if you are sitting in May of 2014. Q. You mention retaking the exam as many times as you like just as long as it is in the same exam window. Do
you have to pay the full price of the exam to take it over within the same exam window?
A. No, you cannot retake the exam in the same application window. Yes, you will have to pay full price to retake the exam in a different application window. Q. How much is it to retake the exam?
A. If you are a SHRM Member, the exam price is $350 and if you are a non‐SHRM member, the exam price is $400. All exam fees include a nonrefundable $75 processing fee. Q. I am an Officer in the US Army. I've been either a Battalion S1 or Brigade S1 for going on 6 years now. Will
this experience be sufficient for SPHR qualification??
A. It depends on your education, first of all. You might be able to demonstrate eligibility but you may not have sufficient experience in HR strategy to be successful with the SPHR. Review the body of knowledge and ask yourself “have I actually done this on the job?" and "how well do I really know this?" Q. The learning system is great but is the virtual class more successful than lets say a group of people coming
together and studying with the learning system? I have signed up for the virtual class but want to know if that
is my best study option
A. Everybody learns and retains information differently so it really depends on your preference for studying and how you retain information best. Q. If I am planning on taking the test in April when should I sign up for the exam?
A. The Spring PHR/SPHR Exam Testing Dates are 1 May ‐ 30 June. You can find the exam deadlines on the HR Certification Institute website at‐and‐deadlines/2014‐exam‐deadlines. Q. How long does it take to be approved to sit for the exam? Are you provided test sites for your city/state?
A. See page 18 of the following link ‐‐source/web‐files/2010‐certification‐
handbook‐pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=0 for the amount of time it takes to be approved. See this link for test sites ‐‐and‐locations Q. What are the main core subject areas to focus on?
A. The exam will cover the body of knowledge so you should focus on the entire thing in order to increase your chances of success. Q. I have recently purchased the SHRM Learning System but would like to have it uploaded to my Nook. Is this
possible? A. Yes you may. If you look on the online menu in the middle of the screen click on the download ereader files to find instructions. Good Luck! Q. Is there a cost for the SHRM virtual class?
A. The member rate is $1,695 and nonmember rate is $2,000. You may register at Q. Is the SHRM 2012 book sufficient enough to study? If so, how can one get access to the online questions?
A. SHRM always recommends you use the most current version of the Learning System. With that said, the HR Certification Institute updates the Body of Knowledge (from which the Learning System is based) every five years. It was last updated in 2012, so the basic outline hasn’t changed. Keep in mind that you are responsible for knowing the laws and regulations that are in effect as of the start of each testing window. If you’ve purchased a previous Learning System, any changes that have occurred will be posted online ( in the Resource Center under HR Updates. Please note that your online access is valid for 18‐months from the date of purchase. Q. For membership, does SHRM offer a military discount?
A. Yes, a $20 discount. The discount code is MIL13 Test-Taking Tip #3:
Answer the questions in order. The exam is structured so that the questions are inserted randomly by degree
of difficulty. Therefore, the most difficult question on the test could be the first or middle or last question.
Answer all questions in order with the understanding that the test will be balanced in terms of the degree of
Q. Does the exam question heavier in a specific area? Comp & Benefits vs. Risk Management etc.?
A. The body of knowledge includes percentages for each domain so you'll know what portion of the exam will include questions in each area. Q. I do not have a degree - but do have ten years of experience, can I sit for the PHR exam?
A. For the PHR • 1 year of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with a Master’s degree or higher • 2 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with a Bachelor’s degree • 4 years of demonstrated exempt‐level HR experience with less than a Bachelor’s degree Q. While reading through the SHRM Learning System books, is it likely to see the sample questions from each
section of the books on the actual exam?
A. The test questions on the Learning System are not the same questions as the HR Certification Institute exam questions. Q. If we are sitting for our exam in June, how soon can we expect to hear back regarding our exam results?
A. You will receive preliminary results the day of your exam but should not start using your certification until you receive your results from HRCI. Q. Can I prepare with my SHRM Chapter? A. SHRM chapters run study groups and are another opportunity for people to participate in a networking learning experience. Also, some education partners have had to postpone classes due to weather related issues. There are a number of classes that will be starting soon. Find a course near you at: Q. How do one gain access to the HRM questions online, if I am doing self study?
A. When you receive your SHRM Learning System materials you will also be given access to the Online Resource Center, once you login the ORC is available for 18 months. Q. I am thinking of transitioning from the Army soon, and am having trouble finding out how valuable the
SPHR certification is to employers on the outside. Any advice on where to research how the civilian workforce
views PHR/SPHR certifications? A. All you have to do is look at job postings for HR positions. Most will seek HR professionals who have a degree and many will seek those with a PHR or SPHR. Check out SHRM's HR Jobs page for example. Our Value of Certification Study revealed that employers are more likely to hire and promote people who are certified. Q. When taking the PHR exam if you don't answer all the questions, are they counted as being incorrect?
A. We recommend answering every question on the exam. Even if you are unsure you have a greater chance of answering the question correctly than if you leave the answer blank. You can also mark the question and go back to it later during the exam. Q. If someone purchased the Learning system now but doesn't take the exam until December 2014 will that cut
down the amount of test windows vs. the expiration of the Learning system online access?
A. You will have access to the Learning System for 18 months from your purchase date. So if you purchased now you would still have access to the system until August 2015 which should provide you plenty of time to prepare. Q. What is the passing grade for PHR?
A. The minimum passing score is a scaled score of 500. Consult the HRCI Handbook for more information on that. You can also find the body of knowledge there which will outline the weightings of each domain by PHR/SPHR. Test-Taking Tip #4:
If uncertain, leave blank and return. If you cannot decide on an answer, mark the question and return to it
later. It is possible that later questions may trigger information useful for those "undecided" questions.
Q. Being HR in the military does it make a difference what exam to take, the PHR or SPHR? I have a master in
Human Resource Development.
A. It depends on your years of experience in HR as well as your exposure to all areas of HR while in the military. The PHR is the best place to start if you want to demonstrate to civilian employers you are knowledgeable about U.S. employment laws, regulations and practices. Q. If I purchased the Learning system now for Dec 2014 testing window, how are updates to the information
and law changes communicated?
A. Any updates to laws and regulations are posted to the online resource center which is accessible for 18 months after your initial purchase date. Test-Taking Tip #5:
Don't stop. If you are stumped by a question, continue on to the next item. Otherwise, you may lose valuable
time and have to rush through the remaining questions. Mark the question to return to it later if time permits.
Q. If I contact [email protected], how soon should I get a reply?
A. You should get a response within 24‐48 hours. Q. Any tips on how to study for UNIONS when your state does not have a lot of unions.
A. You can read a labor relations textbook, attend a seminar, read on the NLRB website, etc. Q. Can you tell me what the total cost of the PHR certification is and the duration averagely? Also, are the tests
solely online? Can experience and education levels compensate for taking the test? Is the test timed?
A. You can find the answers you need here:‐programs/our‐hr‐certifications/phr Exams are administered a test centers around the world. Test-Taking Tip #6:
Don't look for answer patterns. The psychometric testing process used by the Institute ensures that questions
do not fall into patterns. Contrary to some myths, "c" will not necessarily be the most frequent answer, and
the first answer may be correct.
Q. Valuable information. Should conduct these sessions more often
A. We will be holding another webcast on March 11 and information will be available on the SHRM Learning System homepage at Q. Can you repost some of the military specific questions to S1NET?
A. We continue to post answers to military‐specific HR questions on the S1NET at every opportunity. Test-Taking Tip #7:
Length of an answer is a false clue. One test-taking myth is that the longer an answer, the more likely it is to be
correct. However, it often is more difficult to write incorrect distractors than the correct answer, so it is just as
likely that the longest answer is incorrect.
Q. The application asks for an official document for job duties/descriptions. What does that mean for a military
A. The NCOER or OER can be used for military job description purposes. Q. I have already scheduled my exam. I did not receive an ATT, I was told it wasn't issued anymore and there
was a link in my profile that allowed me to register for the exam. Is that ok? I received my confirmation of
registration from Prometrics already too!
A. You are correct; there is not ATT letter anymore. If you have already received your confirmation from Prometric, then you should be all set. Test-Taking Tip #8:
Eliminate obvious distractors. For most questions, there are two distractors that usually appear to be incorrect,
one that is likely to be plausible but incorrect, and then one correct answer. The following tips may also help to
narrow down the correct answer:
- When you first read a question, generally you should be able to eliminate two of the answers as incorrect
(consider using the strike-through feature to cross them out).
- If two or more options are identical, then both responses must be incorrect.
- If two options are opposites, then at least one of them may be eliminated.
- Select the option that is the most inclusive.
- Do not change your answers unless they are obviously wrong.
Q. Are there any PHR study groups or associations in NJ that would be recommended?
A. You can join a study group through your local SHRM chapter or look for study buddies through the SHRM Learning System LinkedIn group at‐b‐grp‐v Q. How do you feel about using the study guide by Anne Bougous (not sure spelled last name right?
A. While we can't speak directly to the guide we hear that many professionals use it in conjunction with the Learning System for additional practice. Q. Why are pass rates so low?
A. As mentioned earlier, we can control the difficulty and consistency of the exam but we cannot control the individual knowledge and experience candidates bring with them on test day. Some people attempt these exams before they have mastered HR. Q. How long does it typically take to review all the information in the SHRM Learning System if you are pacing
yourself daily or weekly till June?
A, While your study efforts will be dependent on your knowledge of the content, we generally recommend that you study a minimum of 60 hours to adequately prepare for the PHR or PHR exam. Your time could be reduced if you feel comfortable with a particular area. One of the unique tools within the Learning System is a SmartStudy tool that provides you with a detailed plan to study based on your current experience and knowledge since your time will vary based on those factors. Q. What does holding a PHR certificate mean to the employer and the industry?
A. Employers view the certifications very positively, as it is more common that employers are seeking candidates who are already certified. HR certification is a career‐long commitment that shows your peers, your employees and your organization that you have mastered the principles of human resources and that you are dedicated to staying current in your profession. To become certified, you must meet strict professional experience and educational requirements before taking the exam. To remain certified, you must stay current in the HR profession and recertify every three years. All of this sets you apart from the next candidate. Q. This may not be specifically for this forum, but does the certification give employers a different look at the
candidate if the majority of experience is military?
A. The PHR and SPHR are recognized credentials in the private sector. It helps employers verify your expertise. Make sure your resume is translated into civilian terms as well, however. Test-Taking Tip #9:
Use the HR Certification Institute strike-through feature. Exam candidates are able to use a "strike-through"
feature on the exam. This feature allows test takers to strike through the answer choices they believe to be
incorrect. This will help applicants narrow down their answers.
Test-Taking Tip #10:
Use the HR Certification Institute mark and review feature. Exam candidates are able to mark a question on
the exam and navigate to it later by using a Review button. This feature allows candidates to mark questions
that they would like to review again if time permits.
Thank you for participating! If you have any other questions please e‐mail [email protected]