How to Pass an HR Certification Exam


When it comes to professionals, rare is the person who is willing to sit back and work on the same job with the same tasks forever. Everyone wants to move up and ahead in their professional lives. The era when someone works on a job for a number of years and gets promoted on the basis of seniority and time spent in the company is gone, and the imperative now is to go grab any opportunity that comes your way and make the most of it to expand your role and move up in your career. And, a popular means of doing that is certification.

Is preparation tough?

Research suggests that for an HR professional, the average time spent on preparing for any of the best HR certifications ranges from 120 to 160 hours. There are of course people who spend more or less than this particular range of hours, but the magnitude does not matter as much as wisely using the time spent, does. Spending the equivalent of 5-7 days continuously studying is a lot, and it is worth the effort as the payoff – passing the exam – can push an HR career to the next level. There are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of success.

Study hard and use available tools

To crack the exam and become a certified HR professional, it is essential to study hard. The exams often require a strong grasp of technical and operational aspects of HR, and experience helps. The pass rate is quite low, as the exam is tough.

In preparing for the exam, an HR professional could use the following tools:

  • Study materials and guides from different publishers and sources
  • Flashcards: readymade flashcards are available, and you could create your own basis your problem areas
  • Mobile applications for test preparation
  • Give practice tests: These are great to assess the level of preparedness once the studying has commenced. A number of free options are available, though the paid ones are considered better in terms of a more real structure

Prepare outside the box

“Traditional” studying is important, but to crack the exams for the best HR certifications, this must be supplemented with other strategies as well. Some of these are suggested below:

  • Look for coworkers with certifications: It helps to get some inside information on an exam from someone who has already cleared it. Useful study tips and tricks, and possibly mentoring, could be invaluable in the quest to become a certified HR professional.
  • Attend preparatory classes for the exam from accredited universities and colleges that conduct such classes
  • Join a study group from among colleagues, friends, or members of professional organizations

Keep it together during the test

A test for any of the best HR certifications typically includes long questions, multi-part questions, and more. Understand exactly what is being asked and learn to focus on the important parts of the question.

As mentioned earlier, the pass rate is low, implying that a large proportion of candidates for an HR career are unlikely to clear it anyway. Giving the test more than once is not something to be embarrassed about, and the first attempt can be looked at as practice for a better performance in the next attempt.

Other tips

Aside from core study-related tips, the following suggestions are also handy:

  • Sleep well and be properly rested before the exam
  • Eat properly before the exam, and be suitably hydrated
  • Dress in layers, so that a colder- or warmer-than-expected examination room does not perturb you
  • Be confident in your abilities and preparation
  • Watch the clock closely during the exam
  • Answer the questions strategically by looking for the one closest to what the question is asking for