PHR / SPHR Exam For Dummies
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HRCI makes no secret that the PHR and SPHR exams can't be taught. Yet individuals who fail the exams gnash their teeth and wail loudly, wondering how they're supposed to prepare for an exam that has no precise preparation resource. Thinking this way is unfair and unrealistic perspective, because of the following reasons:

  • The exam is deeply experience based. Writing a study guide that gauges every exam taker's level of experience and breaks down the content into the right size piece for everyman's palette is impossible. It comes down to quantity versus quality. Having the right number of years of experience doesn't guarantee that you'll pass. The quality, depth, and breadth of the experience get you an invitation to the certified members' lounge.

  • The exam isn't about rote memorization and to suggest that it must become so is diluting the value for those professionals who are certified and the profession as a whole. Dumbing it down into memorizable pieces mocks the profession, because it doesn't translate into practice. Imagine binding HR professionals to textbook answers and one-size-fits-all strategies. C-suite executives would take one cross-eyed look at that approach and go rogue, exposing businesses to risk and devaluing an HR professional's role. Talk about why executives avoid HR! This approach damages HR's credibility and effectiveness.

  • The homework, research, and creative studying methods make you a better HR practitioner. You'll come out of the preparation trial-by-fire well-seasoned and tempered to be the business partner that your enterprise needs. Unless you hope to go back to party planning and payroll, jump on the bandwagon and dig deep. These exams aren't for the faint at heart.

  • Just because you fail doesn't mean that you aren't good at your job. You may not be a good test taker. The testing room may have been too hot. Perhaps you aced one area, but you need more rounding out in others. Toughen up and try again. As an HR professional, you need to be the model of perseverance for those impacted by your talent, and inflating your ability or transferring blame serves no one.

    Having a do-over is okay. Review how far you came in terms of knowledge before you began preparing compared to test day. Growth is happening, so believe that with another few months of studying those initials shall be by your name as well. And guess what — you'll have earned the certification.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Sandra M. Reed, SPHR, is the owner of EpocHResources, a consulting firm specializing in the unique HR needs of small businesses. She has authored learning modules and case studies for the Society for Human Resource Management. She is the co-author of PHR/SPHR: Professional in Human Resources Certification Study Guide, 4E, by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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