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Overivew of SHRM & HRCI Exams - aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP
What's on the exam(s)?
Both SHRM and HRCI's exam cover a broad knowledge base for HR, business, compliance, and employment law. For SHRM, share the scope of the exam in a Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge. HRCI's exam scope is called the Body of Knowledge. Both provide the exam taker with an overview of the topics, content, and information that might be included on the exam. To gain more insights on what is covered on the exam, you can view our Insider Secrets webinar series which is free to HR leaders.
We offer a SHRM webinar and an HRCI webinar that discusses many of the exam foundations in more detail. Click the link to sign up below.
Testing Windows and Fees for HRCI and SHRM Exams
Each exam requires that HR leaders apply for the exam and pay a fee. The application will include information about your work history including experience working in HR and your education background.
For SHRM, the testing windows are Spring and Fall.
2023 Spring Testing Window: May 1 - July 15, 2023
Applications are accepted beginning January 4, 2023. The early bird application deadline is March 18, 2023 and the standard application deadline is April 8, 2023.
2023 Winter Testing Window: Dec. 1, 2023 – Feb. 15, 2024
Applications are accepted beginning June 1, 2023. The early bird application deadline is September 11, 2023 and the standard application deadline is November 9, 2023.
For HRCI, the testing window is more simple. You submit your application and once approved, you must schedule your exam within 180 days.
Details about SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP Fees and Application Process for SHRM
|Exam Fees||SHRM Member Price||Nonmember Price|
|Early Bird Exam Fee||$335 USD||$445 USD|
|Exam Fee (SHRM-CP & SHRM-SCP)||$410 USD||$510 USD|
|Student Exam Fee||$149 USD||$209 USD|
|Transfer Fee||$100 USD||$100 USD|
|Retest Fee||Full exam fee||Full exam fee|
|Rescore Fee||$50 USD||$50 USD|
Details about aPHR, PHR, and SPHR Fees and Application Process for HRCI
|Exam Fees||HRCI Price|
|Application Fee (aPHR®, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, PHRi™ SPHR®, SPHRi™, and GPHR®)
|aPHR®, aPHRi™||$300 USD|
|PHR®, PHRca®, PHRi™||$395 USD|
|SPHR®, SPHRi™, and GPHR®||$495 USD|
|Second Chance Insurance (SCI) allows a candidate to pre-purchase the opportunity to retake the same exam type a second time if the candidate is unsuccessful the first attempt.||$250 USD
(pre-paid and non-refundable)
|Cancellation or exam change fee||$150
There are many ways to study and prepare for your exams with HRCI and SHRM. Whether it's the aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP, we recommend that you first assess your strengths and weaknesses taking a self-assessment. This will help you understand what areas should be your primary focus. As far as studying, we recommend at least 12 weeks of studying 3-7 hours a week. In our signature HR review program, we offer a 12 week study schedule along with a comprehensive self-assessment designed to help you organize and focus your study efforts.
How to Study and Prepare for the SHRM Certification Exams, SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP
It's one thing to prepare for your HRCI or SHRM certification exam(s). However, there should be a larger strategy to retaining, absorbing, and applying all that information. Here are five things to consider that can help with study and preparation.
#1 - Accountability and scheduling.
Having a program as opposed to a single deadline can help keep you on schedule, especially when your time to study is limited to nights, weekends, or your lunch hour. Programs like the SHRM Learning system break your studying down into manageable bites with multiple deadlines, setting you up with a series of accomplishment milestones as opposed to a singular finish date. This helps to ensure you have absorbed each section of exam prep as an item you can check off of a list, and holds you accountable for the deadline for each section.
#2 - Make time for your studying, as it should be a priority.
Your job, especially if you’re already working in human resources at any level, tends to consume a large percentage of your time. If you’re looking into SHRM and/or HRCI Certification, it means you’re also looking for ways to be more efficient with your time and better at your job. Like any type of training, in order to accomplish the goal, sometimes you have to put some projects on hold or prioritize tasks differently so you have time to study. Setting aside blocks of time and treating them as appointments you must keep can help move you forward in the learning process.
#3 - Studying regularly and over time on a consistent basis.
Consistency is key to retaining the information you learn. By studying regularly and having a roadmap to follow, you can ensure you remember the information you studied in week one as well as you remember what you studied this week. A learning roadmap gives you a solid foundation to build on, and each block of new information builds on what you previously learned, with real-world examples and thoughtful solutions to situational questions.
#4 - A community of support is also critical.
Having a method of communicating with like-minded people who are at a similar stage in their human resources career and can commiserate or share information about their study process can help keep you motivated. You’re not out there on your own and you’re not the only person who is struggling to keep up with a study workload along with a full-time job and family. Like a virtual classroom, an online community of people who are also studying for their SHRM or HRCI Certification can be the support you need to keep up with your study schedule and a cheering section when it comes time to take your exam.
#5 - Adapting study to your specific learning style.
There are seven types, and you may fall under more than one. It’s important to know how you learn in order to absorb information in the most efficient way.
TYPES OF LEARNING STYLES
Visual Learning Using Pictures and Spacial Understanding
Aural Learning Means You Prefer Sound and Music
Physical Learners Prefer Using Their Body and Hands to Touch
Social Learners Prefer to Learn in Groups or with People
Verbal Learners Learn with Words Using Writing & Speech
Solitary Learners Prefer to Work Alone or Use Self-Study
Logical Leaners Rely on Logic, Reasons and Systems
Depending on your exam type, you will have different types of test questions. With HRCI exams including the aPHR, PHR, and SPHR, all test questions are knowledge based questions offer a single correct answer with four different options. The exams are weighted scoring meaning that each question is scored differently. A score of 200 with HRCI is a passing score while a 190 is not a passing score.
SHRM's test questions are different. They do, however score using weighted scoring system but a score of 500 is passing. The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams also have multiple choice test questions with a single answer correct. However, their questions are divided into two different test question types.
DOWNLOAD 25 QUESTION HR PRACTICE TEST
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