Test Taking Tips

Following are some test-taking tips, which have been adapted from the HR Certification Institute’s PHR and SPHR Certification Guide:

  • Use the provided computer-based calculator as needed.
  • Trust your first impression. 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.
  • Avoid over-analyzing. Be careful not to read too much into an answer.
  • Don’t base your answer on your own organization’s policies or an individual experience you may have had; instead, focus on generally accepted HR practices.
  • Choose the best answer to the question. Some questions may appear to have more than one answer that is technically correct. These questions are specifically designed that way to assess your knowledge of HR by requiring you to choose the best answer.
  • If uncertain, use the “mark question for review” feature and return to it later.
  • Use the “strike through” feature. This feature allows you to strike through the answers that you believe to be incorrect as a means of narrowing down your options. This is a particularly helpful feature if you’ve narrowed down your answers to two and want to come back to the question later.
  • Don’t stop. If you are stumped by a question, continue to the next one. Otherwise, you may lose valuable time. Mark the question and return to it later.
  • Don’t look for answer patterns. The psychometric testing process used by the HR Certification Institute ensures that questions do not fall into patterns. Contrary to some myths, “C” is not necessarily the most frequent answer.
  • Try to identify the answer before reading the choices. By doing this, you will more likely have one answer stand out as being correct.
  • Use “educated guesses.” If you still cannot decide on a correct answer after eliminating one or two choices, choose one anyway. There is no penalty for guessing on the exam.
  • Review your answers. After going through all the questions on the exam, go back and answer the questions left unanswered the first time. Also, be sure that you answered all questions.

Don’t rush. There are no points for finishing early. Use the time allotted to review and check your answers.

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