15 Tips and Tricks to Beat Certified HR Exams

March 23, 20203:03 pm469 views
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The role of HR has changed throughout the years, and today HR is demanded to do more than just administrative tasks. This means HR professionals will have to level up their skills and competencies to stay current. As one works on building core HR competencies and provides a benchmark to the fellow practitioners, it is encouraged to join the league by gaining HR certification. 

Gaining the certificate might not be easy, however. SHRM revealed that the average percentage of people passing HR certification exams is 55 percent, with each individual who successfully passes the HR certification exams spends 120 to 160 hours of time studying in preparation. It is a lot of time to invest, but it is worth it because passing the HR certification exams can push your career to the next level. Those who pass the exam will be able to join prestigious HR group practitioners and add HR credentials to their names. 

Therefore, those wishing to excel themselves through certifications must prepare well. To start, here are tips from Adam Calli, a Principal Consultant and HR Instructor, who has helped many prepare for and take HR certification exams. 

1. Time commitment 

Those who are successful in HR exams should at least invest and dedicate most of their time to study. Calli advised that there should be a solid month between 120 to 160 hours in preparation or as little as 60 to 180 hours which can be adjusted as needed. These hours, however, are not guaranteeing your success because it depends on how you spend this amount of time.  Those who succeed are most likely stealing lunch hours to study online, spending time on books, or never going out without flashcards. 

See also: What It Takes to be a Human Resources Director

2. Practice questions and look for answers 

The more you get familiar with the questions, the more likely you will pass the exams. Therefore, find sources of HR-like exams such as Quizlet, Kahoot, WizIQ, or Mometrix. With all question practising, gain as much as explanation and information about the questions. Read books, attend classes, take notes, and study them continuously. This will certainly boost your knowledge and chances of doing the exam excellently. 

3. Learn with your own style 

There are different unique learning styles each can adapt, find the most comfortable. For example, one might easily retain information through stories, and others can retain the information they are learning through practice, video, study group, or recording themselves. Find your own unique style and continue to learn with it. This will help retain the information you gain longer. 

4. Long questions 

Answering long questions can be tricky, yet, Calli advised that you should only focus on the exact question you are being asked to answer. Stop identifying what the question truly is, but pick out the exact question

5. Multiple questions  

If there is a block of text on an exam followed by multiple questions relating to each other, different parts of the same text will be useful for answering different questions. So, use the highlight function to mark what stands out to you, what is relevant to each question, one by one. Erase the highlight when you have answered the question, then highlight the new material that relates to the next questions. 

6. Answer in which you are expected to act 

HR function is expected to get things done and make things happen, as well as to be proactive. The exam will reflect this. Hence, look for the answer in which you are expected to act. 

7. Remove distraction  

If it is a multiple-choice question, do eliminate incorrect options as it will improve your focus on the remaining options. 

See also: HR Business Partner vs. Just HR: Which One Do You Want To Be?

8. Optimise the flag function 

Do not spend too long on a difficult question. If you are not sure about the answer, mark the question and come back to it later. As you warm up through the exam, you might pick up hints from other questions and answers. 

9. Use calculator (if any) 

Some organisations that hold exams have a built-in calculator in it, so you do not have to do math in your head. If there is no calculator, however, make sure you practice before taking exams. Or, you can keep in mind that four multiple-choice answers offered for a math question will often reflect how numbers in the question itself are used. For example, if the question involves numbers 4 and 3, the answer to choose from might be 7 (4 plus 3), 1 (4 minus 3), 12 (4 multiple 3), or 1.3 (4 divided by 3). 

10. Use scratch paper 

Writing down helps you see what you are doing. Scratch paper can also be useful for completing math calculations. This paper is usually provided by the testing centre. 

11. Look for differentiator words in the questions 

When there are differentiators like least, best, quickest, most important, and so on, use them to guide your analysis. This question will guide you to distinguish between pretty good and the best answer. 

12. Approach absolutes in the answer with caution 

Absolutes in HR are unlikely to be a correct answer on an exam. The words include all, always, only, never, and the like. 

13. Answer every question 

There is no penalty in an incorrect answer. So, it is always good to fill all the blanks and answer all multiple-choice questions. 

14. Stay alert with your time but don’t be anxious 

Keep your eye on the timer at the top or bottom of your screen. Don’t dwell on one question for too long as you might run out of time. You have four hours to answer 160 questions, an average of one-and-a-half minutes per question. Pace yourself. 

15. Lastly, don’t second-guess 

We often have doubt over our own answer and try to correct the first answer. Nonetheless, Calli stated that your first answer is usually correct, so do not change an answer once you have completed a question UNLESS you have a very good reason to do so.

Read also: 8 Best Human Resources Certification Institutes Across Asia