How Hard is the SHRM Exam?

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SHRM stands for Society for Human Resource Management. Hence, the name gives it all away. The SHRM exam aims to provide official certificates to those who strive for more prominent and essential roles related to human resources. It is ideal for those who want to improve and transform the workspace.

SHRM is an organization that strives to connect further and enhance both the lives of employers and employees. The organization aims to promote human resource roles and positions. Hence, the entire focus rests on practices, providing adequate training, and improving the skills of individuals. Find out all about the SHRM exam in this article and whether it is not easy.

What Exactly is the SHRM Exam?What Exactly is the SHRM Exam?

The SHRM test is your path toward attaining the SHRM certification. This certificate is recognized worldwide and will open multiple professional positions for you. The exam revolves around knowledge and skills one reaches throughout his experience in the workforce.

In a gist, the SHRM exam will test your knowledge regarding whether you are ready for a more significant role revolving around human resources. The exam has not been designed for everyone, as it requires patience, knowledge, and extensive practice of their skills.

But how long is the SHRM exam? How many questions are there? Find out below:

  • SHRM Exam Length: 3 hours and 40 minutes
  • SHRM Exam Number of Questions: 134 questions
  • SHRM Exam Administration Method: computer-based exam

That said, the design of the exam revolves around the SHRM BASK. That consists of the applied skills and knowledge an HR personnel should obtain. For further information, check the SHRM BASK web page.

Now, it is essential to note that the exam includes numerous topics, and all the questions, 134, are split into one of two types of multiple-choice questions. First, the knowledge-based questions target the facts and general knowledge you have obtained. Second is the scenario-based inquiries that reflect your ability to make decisions and think analytically.

There are six main topics in the exam, 3 of which are under the behavioral competency category, and the other three are related to HR information. Below are the SHRM topics:

  • Organization: 18%
  • People: 18%
  • Leadership: 17%
  • Business: 5%
  • Interpersonal: 5%
  • Workplace: 14%

Now, two exams fall under the SHRM. These are the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP. Find out below what the difference between the two is.

 SHRM-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

The SHRM-CP stands for SHRM Certified Professional. It is less extensive and complex compared to the SHRM-SCP. So, what is the SHRM-CP? It targets individuals who have experience in an HR-related role in a workspace. However, individuals who are studying in college are also eligible for the certification. However, only those examining a field related to HR or management can sit for the exam.

This exam will assess how well you would operate in an HR-related role. It measures your competency regarding the workspace, operation, abilities, and knowledge. Mainly, you will be tested on how you interact with individuals, work around the office, and implement policies around the place.

The eligibility for the SHRM-CP depends on the following:

Level Less than Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s Degree Attained

Received a Graduate Degree

Education Pursued

HR-Related Program

Non-HR Related Program

HR-Related Degree

Non-HR Related Degree

HR-Related Degree

Non-HR Related Degree

Experience within HR Role

3 years

4 years

1 year

2 years

Currently in an HR position

1 year

 

But how hard is it to pass the SHRM-CP exam? “The exam was difficult, definitely no walk in the park at all.” This is a statement from Alison Brome, who took the exam during the COVID-19 period. Hence, the exam is not a piece of cake. However, one can pass with flying colors with adequate preparation.

SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP)

The SHRM-SCP is for those who want the Senior Certified Professional certification. This exam is designed for those who have more professional experience in the field and are looking for higher positions within the workspace.

Similar to the SHRM-CP, the SCP one will also test your level of knowledge and competence. However, instead of targeting your understanding of the operational aspect of the work, SCP tests your knowledge of strategic abilities. Hence, those individuals should be capable of composing procedures for the workspace and attaining more credibility and responsibility at work.

The eligibility for the SHRM-SCP depends on the following:

Level Less than Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s Degree Attained

Received a Graduate Degree

Education Pursued

HR-Related Program

Non-HR Related Program

HR-Related Degree

Non-HR Related Degree

HR-Related Degree

Non-HR Related Degree

Experience within HR Role

6 years

7 years

4 years

5 years

3 years

4 years

What is on the SHRM Exam?

What is on the SHRM Exam?

First, the SHRM Competency Model has evolved to involve additional requirements to become an HR personnel. Some of them include the following:

  • Business Acumen
  • Consultation
  • Leadership & Navigation
  • Communication
  • Critical Evaluation
  • Ethical Practice
  • Global & Cultural Effectiveness
  • Relationship Management

As for the topic area, according to the official SHRM webpage, there are six main topics covered:

  1. Organization
  2. People
  3. Leadership
  4. Business
  5. Interpersonal
  6. Workplace

So, many wonder, “how many questions are on SHRM exam?” The SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP tests have 134 questions each, but only 110 weigh into the final grade. Hence, the raw score is out of 110 and spans between 0-110. However, your final score reflected on the report is scaled from 120 to 200.

Is the SHRM Exam Hard to Pass?

Is the SHRM Exam Hard to Pass?

This section is all a reflection based on an article from SHRM. It analyses how much time and preparation you should set for your examination.

How hard is the SHRM exam? Well, examining the SHRM pass rate is a necessity. According to the analysis from the SHRM website, the pass rate for the past two years for the SHRM-CP exam was around 65%. As for the SHRM-SCP, it was about 48%.

Hence, both exams have low pass rates. That means the exam is a complex one and requires an ample amount of preparation. Otherwise, as noticed above, there are a large number of people that fail.

So how much time should you prepare to pass the SHRM successfully? According to the study, 41-200 hours of preparation for the exam. The ideal time for you depends on the knowledge you already have and how well you believe you can perform. However, you should spend less than 200 hours preparing. The study also showed that those individuals had a higher chance of performing poorly.

That said, almost every statement online of students reflecting on their exam performance states that the exam was more complicated than expected. Regardless of how extensive your educational background is, it still requires an ample amount of preparation. Hence, later in this article, you will find out how to prepare for the exam and pass it with flying colors.

What’s the Passing Score for SHRM Exam?

What’s the Passing Score for SHRM Exam?

As mentioned earlier, the grade reflected on your report illustrates your scaled score, not the raw one. Hence, it will not reflect the total amount of questions you have answered correctly. But what is the SHRM-CP passing score or the SHRM-SCP one?

Well, according to the organization SHRM, the passing score is 200. Since the scaled score will range between 120-200, it is often fascinating to consider that the passing score is 200. So, what exactly does that mean? Do you have to answer all the questions on the exam correctly to receive a scaled grade of 200?

Well, no. The institution does not mention any score above 200, as it immediately indicates that the person has passed the SHRM exam. Hence, receiving a 200 means that you have illustrated all the skills and competencies required to attain the certification.

So, you might be wondering why the institute won’t report whether an individual passed or failed an exam. A failed SHRM-CP exam is technically anything lower than 200. However, the number is not the only item on your report card. Upon failing, a test-taker will receive a detailed graph that shows how well the person performed in each topic or domain. This will allow you to target your weak points and determine your vital areas.

Similar to the other standardized exams, such as the ACT, GRE, or SAT, the exams vary in difficulty. It determines whether you are ready to work in a faster-paced environment with additional responsibility.

Hence, a statistical approach is ideal for determining the actual score from the raw score. That means that the difficulty level is part of your final grade. This gives you an added advantage as it considers the difficulty and alters the scale.

5 Tips for Passing the SHRM Test

5 Tips for Passing the SHRM Test

Below is a list of the five ultimate tips to use for your SHRM preparation.

1. Know How Much Time to Spend Studying

Reflecting on the study mentioned above, you should dedicate 41-200 hours to preparing. Hence, find out how much time you have before the exam date you need. For example, if you aim to complete 40 hours of preparation with 2 hours daily, you require 20 days to complete it.

Remember that the hours you put aside for studying are only some of the keys to success. Instead, it would help if you found an efficient way of learning. Break down the material and target your weak points initially.

2. Go Through at Least 3 Practice Questions

Undoubtedly, the exam is not a walk in the park. That means the more you practice for exams, the better your chances of succeeding. One SHRM SCP practice test is on the official webpage. You can find other extra ones for both SHRM exams. Even six tests are on Udemy, which require you to invest some money.

3. Consider Investing in the Guide

Like any other exam, the SHRM test has a guidebook that can drive you to succeed in the exam. However, it does require an investment, as you will have to pay for the book. One option is accessing it through SHRM Learning System. However, you can also check online resources or local bookstores to find them.

But why use the guidebook, and what is it? It is called “Ace Your SHRM Certification Exam.” You can find the book in the official store provided by SHRM. While it cannot be used as the sole means of studying, it is a fantastic resource. You can access tips, tricks, and practice questions.

4. Utilize the Practice Exam Results

One method of determining whether you should spend more than 40 hours measures how well you perform on the practice exams. For example, if you consistently score 200 on the scale, you are good to go! However, if you need to improve in that regard, you should plan how to salvage your performance.

Moreover, solving past exams and questions allows you to target your weak points. The more questions you attempt to complete, the more areas you will be able to target. Hence, find out where you lack knowledge and focus on it.

5. Join a Bigger Community

First of all, the number of stories of others online is innumerable. They will provide you with their own experience and tips on how to utilize your resources. A famous one is offered on LinkedIn. However, that said, you are encouraged to join the online community through SHRM Connect. This resource allows you to engage with like-minded people and learn from others’ mistakes and steps.

Wrapping Things Up: How Hard is the SHRM Exam?

The bottom line is that this article is for any student worried about their performance on the SHRM exam. Remember, the exam is not a piece of cake. Instead, it requires an ample amount of preparation, as reflected above. That is noticeable mainly when one reflects upon the passing rate and the stories of other test-takers before you.

However, you should still go into the exam as a nervous wreck. Instead, utilize the steps mentioned above and keep referring to them. Dedicating 40-200 hours, depending on your knowledge base and skills, is a must. As proven in a study mentioned above, that has a much higher chance of increasing your success rate and overall confidence.

Check out our other interesting articles below:

> How Hard is the NCTRC Exam?

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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