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After all this time, I’d hate to ruin the surprise for anyone that hasn’t read the other portions of this article series. The compilation of other articles can be found at this link. If you have already read them, or if you’re just itching to find out how I fared on the PHR exam, then you may read on!
It’s over. I’m finished. And I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome! If you look at the little author photo above this article, you’ll see a brand new Professional of Human Resources smiling back at you.
I am still waiting on my “official” scores, but when the little preliminary “pass” report came up on the screen after the exam, I just sat back in awe.
A New Resource
Me! After getting so much help from other PHR and SPHR exam-takers, I have decided to do whatever I can to help other human resources employees and managers to prepare for and pass the certification test. I have already been getting questions from others in human resources that are preparing to take or sign up for the exam, and I am more than happy to provide any assistance that I can for them. If anyone in the reading audience would like some advice on the PHR or anything related to human resources, just leave me a comment or send me a private message. (You can also email me, and if you’ll put your email address in a comment, I can copy the address and delete the comment so that it doesn’t get picked up by spammers.)
Just the Facts, Ma’am
After all of the hours of studying human resources (~75), the practice questions answered(~700), and the pages read (~1000), I finally completed the task that has dominated my waking life for the past several months. I felt like many of the questions required some critical thinking regarding human resources topics, and I marked approximately fifty questions to re-check, because they were worded in a tricky way. I estimate that 95% of the exam material was found in my various PHR study sources, and the other 5% was technical information that would have taken a good bit of studying from multiple other resources to memorize.
The pass rate for the PHR exam has dropped from 67% in 2005 to 60% in 2008. In the same time frame, the SPHR exam pass rate has fallen from 58% to 54%. This was one of the facts that really bothered me as I prepared.
My Take on the Material
I think the PHR exam was tough, but doable. I have read many comments in recent weeks. Most of them say one of two things.
A) The exam was hard, but I passed, because I studied a lot.
B) The exam was nothing like my study materials. I studied a lot, but I failed.
This leads me to think that too many people rely on a single source of study information. I know that I used several different kinds of study materials, including a human resources management textbook, a PHR and SPHR Study Guide, multiple sources of practice exam questions, and various online sites with relevant information. I know that branching out into other sources forced my mind out of the “groove” it was in while studying just from the book or just on the practice questions. I was forced to think more strategically, and it really helped me during the exam to be able to say, “If I was in charge of human resources, what would I do?”
After the exam, I just felt sort of listless, because all of my extra time and energy has been focused on the PHR exam. In the past few days, I have started re-working my resume and looking for jobs in the human resources field. Beyond those two things, and the added help I hope to provide to the soon-to-be-certified human resources community, I don’t have any immediate plans. I also have to think about the recertification process, but for now, I’ll just bask in the glow for a moment.
I have used the knowledge and discipline gained from studying for the PHR to begin writing career and employment articles for publication on other sites, and I plan to continue doing that in the future. Thank you all for joining me on this wild ride, and I hope you’ll stick around to read more of my work in the future!
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