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What to Expect When Taking the SHRM-CP Exam

    By Patrick Howell, Healthworks Medical, LLC
    Published December 11, 2020

    I recently took the SHRM-CP Exam and passed on the first attempt! Prior to taking the exam, I found very little information online that provided any insight about the testing experience. I’ve developed the below “insights” to hopefully help anyone that’s considering taking the exam to better understand what you can expect when taking the SHRM-CP. Hopefully you will find it helpful.

    Why Did I Take The SHRM-CP Exam?
    So I have almost 15 years of OJT (on-the-job) HR experience through various civilian and military job roles that I have held, but no formal HR certifications. I wanted to achieve the SHRM-CP credential in order to bring more “legitimacy” to my ongoing HR professional development.

    How Did You Prepare?
    I studied for approximately three months for the exam. Nothing too elaborate, maybe only 30-45 minutes a day. I think the best format to study for something like this is more of a personal choice on what works best for you. I’ve never been able to sit down and “cram” effectively.

    What Study Materials Did You Use?
    I utilized the official “SHRM Learning System.” The system comes with the official SHRM BoCK (Body of Competency & Knowledge) four-book set as well as access to their online learning platform. I found the online system to be the most helpful as it had several built in quizzes to provide checks on learning. It also has several practice exams with actual test questions from previous SHRM-CP exams which helped get me a little more comfortable with the exam format.

    What Was The Test Like?
    So SHRM outsources all of the testing to a company called “Prometric” that conducts the actual exam. You have to take the exam through one of their approved testing locations. They also have a unique option to take a “remote proctored” exam. With this format, they deliver the exam through specialized software that you download on your computer while the exam is monitored via webcam and microphone. This is the format that I chose to take since I took the exam while I was deployed overseas with the military. Overall, it went well outside of the weird time that I had to take the exam (10:30pm local) due to the international time difference of the availability of proctors. The exam is 100% multiple choice with a variety of scenario based and definition type questions. You are allocated four hours to take the test. One thing that I like about the test is that it notifies you instantly if you passed or failed upon completion. They do tell you that it could take up to three weeks to receive your official results via email that provides a more complete summary of your test performance.

    Take Home Message
    I truly feel that my background and HR experience WOULD NOT have provided me enough insight to pass the SHRM-CP without utilizing the SHRM Learning System. I would highly suggest that anyone considering taking this exam complete some sort of prep-course prior to attempting the exam. Passing the exam on the first attempt is definitely possible!