The SPHR exam by HRCI covers the functional areas of leadership and strategy, talent planning and acquisition, learning and development, employee relations and development, and total rewards for leaders are working in senior and more experienced HR position. With HRCI, the scope of the exam is shared in what they call a Body of Skills and Knowledge for the SPHR. Access the SPHR BoK here. To gain more insights on what is covered on the exam, you can view our free Insider Secrets webinar series.
Workology offers a free HRCI certification prep webinar that discusses many of the exam foundations in more detail. Click the link to sign up below.
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
Early Bird Exam Fee
Exam Fee (SHRM-CP & SHRM-SCP)
Student Exam Fee
SHRM Member Price
Full exam fee
Full exam fee
Details about aPHR, PHR, and SPHR Fees and Application Process for HRCI
Application Fee (aPHR®, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, PHRi™ SPHR®, SPHRi™, and GPHR®) (non-refundable)
PHR®, PHRca®, PHRi™
SPHR®, SPHRi™, and GPHR®
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 on the first attempt.
Cancellation or exam change fee
(pre-paid and non-refundable)
With the PHR, you can first assess your strengths and weaknesses by taking a self-assessment. This will help you understand what areas should be your primary focus. 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 o the areas where you might be weakest.
Having a plan (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 Workology’s study prep break your studying down into manageable bites with multiple deadlines, setting up 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.
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 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 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.
Consistency is key to retaining the information you learn. Following a regular study schedule and having a roadmap to follow, can help you retain the information you studied in the first week as well as you do that last. A learning roadmap, which is part of Workology’s certification prep programs, gives you a solid foundation and each block of new information builds on what you previously learned, with real-world examples and solutions to situational questions. We offer this in every part of our SHRM certification prep programs.
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. An online community of people who are also studying for their SHRM 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.
There are seven types of learning styles, and you may fall under more than one. It’s important to know how you learn best in order to absorb information in the most efficient way. For example, visual learners have had great results with flashcards and aural learners study more effectively by listening to audio courses.
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
With HRCI exams, including the aPHR, PHR, and SPHR, all test questions are multiple choice and offer a single correct answer with four different options. The exams are weighted, meaning that each question is scored differently. The SPHR exam consists of 115 scored questions in addition to 25 pre-test questions that are not included in your final result. For HRCI certification exams, a score of at least 500 is required to pass, and the possible score range is between 100 to 700.
HR Knowledge Questions
DOWNLOAD 25 QUESTION HR PRACTICE TEST
Access 25 FREE Sample Test Questions for your aPHR exam with HRCI
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PS – I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions about our program below.