How to Prepare for Your PHR or SPHR Exam

Another HR Certification Exam season has passed and the world now has many newly Certified HR Professionals.

Congratulations to everyone out there who has received your HR Certification, PHRs, SPHRs, and GPHRs alike. This is a great achievement and you should be very proud.

To those of you who were unsuccessful with receiving your certifications or have not yet taken the PHR or SPHR exam, you have some studying to do, and now is the time to start for those who will be successful in receiving their HR Certifications this Spring.

So how should you prepare for your upcoming exam?

Start Studying Early – Around 45% of those who take the PHR or SPHR exam each year fail to achieve passing scores. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest culprits of this is because people simply don’t prepare far enough in advance.

Many think because they have experience in the field that they don’t need to study. This is definitely not the case. Even with a fair amount of experience, the HR Certification Exams are very specific in the way they are formatted. The six areas of the HRCI body of knowledge are quite comprehensive as well.

In order to be successful, you need to ensure that you allow yourself plenty of time to cover all of these areas thoroughly, as well as learn how the test is formatted.

It’s true that some people will need more studying than others, but ask anyone who has had to re-take the exam before passing. It is far better to err on the side of too much studying than too little. Getting started early is the key here.

Get a Comprehensive Study Solution – Many candidates try to piece together a study solution by purchasing several different forms of study material, reviewing textbooks, and scouring the web for anything they can find.

This might work for some people, but for most this isn’t going to provide enough firepower to cover all of the areas of the HRCI body of knowledge, and it certainly isn’t going to prepare you for the format of the exam.

These study programs may be somewhat costly, but don’t think of it as an expense. Think of it as an investment in your future. The opportunities that will come your way when you receive your PHR or SPHR will easily pay for the small investment you have to make to secure a comprehensive study solution. Passing the first time is a lot less expensive than a re-take.

Take a Class – Many local chapters, universities, and professional organizations offer HR Certification Exam preparation classes which yield extremely high success rates. In fact – The course offered at the Integrity HR facility in Louisville, KY currently holds a 100% pass rate for three years running.

Most often, seats in courses such as these are quite reasonably priced and can be expensed as training. You also get access to already Certified HR Professionals as well as materials that have been proven to work time and time again that you often get to keep as a part of your entry fee.

The bottom line is this. There is no magic pill to take to pass the PHR or SPHR exam. You just need to make sure to adequately prepare with trusted resources and you’ll be fine!


This article is a guest post by the blogging team at Integrity HR, an HR Consulting and Outsourcing organization based in Louisville, KY.

Many readers of the HR Review blog may also wish to view the Integrity HR blog at as it has recently experienced rapid growth, offers thought-provoking and helpful articles any business professional can put to use, and is published on a weekly basis.

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