PHR Test

Good Afternoon,

Im currently enrolled in a class to take my PHR test. Im using the Shrm learning system. Can anyone tell me anything else that would be useful to prepare for this exam?  Also I understand the importance of having this, but can someone give me real life example of how it helped you?



  • 13 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I took the test last June.  I think there might have been changes to how the test works.  All I can tell you is that the best approach to when I took it was to read and re-read those practice tests over and over again. 


    Oh and good luck (I've been in HR 8 years now and didn't even need to study much at all - I passed with a good score)

  • I took the SPHR and passed about 2 years ago.  It wasn't hard for me, but I have about 20 years experience.

    Having the letters after my name hasn't helped me directly, but indirectly I believe that people have been more "respectful" of my answers to their questions.  It's like I took the test, got some initials, and that somehow indicates to the world that I now have a brain.  :)

  • I received my PHR several years ago.  I had experience generalist experience and recruitment experience.  Up to that point I had a hard time breaking through to a management position.  Shortly after recieving the designation I applied an HR Director Position overseeing multiple corporations with a "PHR preferred" in the job description, and I was offered the position.  The designation just reinforced to the employer  (who was aware of SHRM & the designation) that I am competent in the HR field.

  • I took and passed the SPHR test in January.  It was a personal goal for me to do this.  However, having worked my way up into the HR field at my company, passing this test added some validation to me as an HR professional.  The other benefit was a reinforcement of the general base of knowledge that you cover while preparing for the test.  I took a semester long prep course to help me prepare.  In this class, we reviewed all the SHRM books.  The other benefit was being in the class with other HR professionals seeking the same goal.  I made some good contacts and networked.  Also, more and more positions are requiring this certification.  It also gives you a good feeling to know that you could pass the test.  One thing I might suggest to you is the thing that my HR mentor told me - go for the gusto.  Why take the PHR test when you could take the SPHR test?  If you plan on getting the SPHR certification, I would suggest that you go ahead and take that test.  This way, you won't have to go through all of this again to up your certification.  That is what I did - I just took the SPHR.

     Hope this is helpful.

  • I've taken (and passed) both. I took the PHR about 4 years ago and the SPHR last January (2006). The PHR was more technical and added to my generalist knowledge. The SPHR made me think more, although I thought both tests were relatively easy for someone who has been in the field over 5 years. The best advice I can give for studying is to do the practice tests. Don't worry about memorizing dates - just remember which laws govern which instances. I did the SHRM practice tests a couple of times. It helped ease me into the test situation. Good luck! Let us know how you did.
  • Hello,

    I am new to this board and website. I stumbled across this upon researching PHR exam information.

     I am the Coordinator of Human Resources for the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY where the US Open Tennis Championships are held every year. I am in transition of being promoted to Human Resources Manager.

    I have no formal college education or HR related coursework. I have developed my experience hands on through working in the industry for 6 years, in different capacities.

    I am interested in becoming a PHR or SPHR. Forgive me for my ignorance with this, but are there any prerequisites necessary before applying to take this exam? If so, what are they? And if not, how or where can I go about taking this exam?

     I am planning on studying solely with the help of a PHR/SPHR Study Guide. There seems to be numerous on Would anyone offer any recommendations before I make this purchase?

     I sincerely appreciate any of your help. Thanks so much in advance,


  • R.A.M. - I believe the only prerequisite is that you must have been in an exempt level position at any time in your HR career for 2 years in order to take the test.  Have you checked out the SHRM web site?  All of the info is there. 

    I would also like to know if anyone has recommendations on study materials.  I was going to purchase the SHRM learning system but would prefer not to spend that much if it's not necessary.  Thanks!




  • You should check with your local Human Resources Association.  I know that in Portland OR, we have a large chapter and they offer study classes leading up to every test.  You not only get the study materials, but the classes help focus on the material required for the test.  Having study partners really helps in bouncing questions around and getting feedback.  I have not taken the test yet, but am looking forward to it. 
  • I haven't taken the test yet, but I am scheduled to test in December.  Our local SHRM chapter has study groups leading up to every exam window.  I am currently involved in this one.  I would definitely recommend it.  Our weekly sessions are facilitated by certified HR professionals who have expertise in the module they facilitate.  Even if you are very experienced and don't feel that you need any additional guidance, the info on actually taking the exam is great and being involved in a group keeps you accountable and on track with your independent study.  My employer purchased the books for me, but they were available through the study group at a big discount---$425 for the set.  I definitely recommend the hard-copy books with the CD.  Keeping my fingures crossed and studying hard till December! :)
  • JEP, I am definitely interested, but after reading your post several times, I did not spot a title or place of reference. What is the name of the study group? I know my job would also cover costs. I do not have time to attend classes, but I would like to purchase a book or even a CD with pre-assessment exams. I am a little more blind in this than you think, so I would appreciate some more detailed direction. Thanks for any help you can provide...
  • I have been in HR for over 25 yrs and I just recieved my PHR this past December - I passed on the first attempt / I also took a the SHRM Learning Center.....The best adavice that I can offer is.....Read the assignments and test, test, test, test, test......all  the time......the disc that comes with the learning system is has over 500 questions, the books are just as good... view the webcasts that come with the disc....they follow the lectures...use both of them.....test until it is second nature....I also used a program called wasnt necessary but it was a good program

    Good Luck

    Robert Miller, PHR

  • I'm sorry I wasn't very specific.  If you aren't already involved with a local SHRM chapter, I highly recommend it.  You can find information for a local chapter on the SHRM website at  Our chapter, and most other chapters I know of, have monthly lunches with guest speakers on various HR topics, as well as conferences and other professional activities.  It's great to keep up on what's happening in HR and also a terrific networking tool to develop contacts and resources among other HR professionals in your area.  Our chapter offers study groups leading up to every exam window.  I wouldn't call it a class--definitely just a study group.  We meet once a week for 2 hours after work to review, quiz, and discuss the module for that week, plus a review session at the end.  The SHRM Learning System has a book (module) for every topic that has been identified as part of the Body of Knowledge for the exam.  There are 6 books and a great cd with practice tests, flashcards, case studies, and additional online resources.  You can buy the learning system from SHRM at .  I also just purchased Anne Bogardus's PHR/SPHR Study guide for about $37 on Amazon as an additional resource.  Some universities do offer full prep courses if you want to go that route.  I know that SHRM offers 3-day prep workshops as well.  If you need further information about the test, i.e. requirements, cost, registration, testing, check out the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) website at  Hope that helps! 
  • Check out  This is the web-site dedicated to the SPHR and PHR testing.  It has all the requirements, the chance to pre-test, the costs, etc.
Sign In or Register to comment.