What is a Passing Score on the CPHQ Exam?

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If you are an aspiring healthcare professional, chances are you are aware of the CPHQ, Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality exam. If you have landed here, chances are also very high that you are looking for information on how to pass the CPHQ exam. If that is the case, you have come to the right place.

We will provide you with more than the basics. We will give you accurate score information, information regarding difficulty, and even what is needed if you are thinking of retaking the exam. We want to provide you with the necessary support to do your best on the exam.

In addition to providing knowledge support, we will also be giving you tips to help you get through the exam. All of this information and more is at your fingertips; all you have to do is keep reading.

Is the CPHQ Exam Really Hard?Is the CPHQ Exam Really Hard?

Though we cannot tell you if this examination is hard for you since everyone is at different levels, we can provide you with pass rate statistics and reviews from other test-takers. If you have been studying and working diligently within the healthcare field, passing the exam should not be very difficult.

For U.S candidates, the CPHQ exam pass rate for individuals taking the CPHQ exam is exceptionally high. However, there is a significant dip in scores for international students. While U.S pass rates remained, on average, within the 70 to 80 percent range, the global pass rate was much lower.   For the last few years, ranging from 2012 to 2019, the pass rates varied, with the lowest being 31% in 2013 and the highest being 60% in 2017.

However, the pass rate often directly correlates with the difficulty of the exam. Several things could contribute to this difference; however, our goal is not to solve that problem. Our goal in this article is to ensure that you are not one of the individuals who fail the exam.

Several factors may contribute to a student passing or failing the exam. These will be further explored in the section covering why some individuals may fail the exam and others do not. However, it is essential to remember that all candidates come from different backgrounds and educations and may have a different test-taking aptitude.

What Score Do You Need to Pass the CPHQ Exam?

What Score Do You Need to Pass the CPHQ Exam?

Now that you know the number of individuals who may fail the exam, it’s even more critical for you to understand the information needed to pass. To pass the CPHQ, you will need to answer correctly at least 95 of the 125 questions.

As a United States Candidate, receiving your results is a more straightforward process than your international friends.

Individuals in the U.S will receive their unofficial scores immediately after taking the exam. However, international test-takers will have much longer to wait. Instead of receiving results at the conclusion of the exam, if you are an international tester, you will receive them within 8-12 weeks. This is because scores cannot be released until after the testing window has closed. Only then will you receive an email alerting you of your score availability.

If you are one of the fortunate ones to achieve the CPHQ’s passing score or higher, you are in the clear. However, before you can begin to use the CPHQ with your name, you will need to receive your certificate. Unlike U.S test-takers, receiving your certificate will not be immediate, unlike your score. You will also receive a digital badge which will allow you to showcase this honor.

It will generally take two weeks from your test date to receive a virtual and printable version of your certificate. The email sent will include information on how to claim your badge and your certificate.

If you are an international student, there may be an 8–12-week window until you receive your certificate, depending on when you take the exam. This is because scores will only be released after the closed testing window. Three to four weeks after that testing window closes, emails will be received with instructions for certificates and score releases.

How Many Times Can You Take the CPHQ Exam?

How Many Times Can You Take the CPHQ Exam?

If you fail the examination, never fear; you will have the option to retake it. If you are a domestic student, 90 days after the exam date, you have the opportunity to reapply for the exam. However, you may only take the exam three times within a given year, 365 days.

If you have taken the exam the max number of times within a year, you will need to wait another entire year before retaking the exam from the date of your last attempt. Any candidates attempting to take the exam again will need to submit a new fee and application.

It’s important to remember that failures are not shared with anyone and are confidential.

3 Common Reasons Why People Fail the CPHQ Exam

3 Common Reasons Why People Fail the CPHQ Exam

There are several reasons that individuals may not pass the CPHQ exam. This may be due to lack of experience, limited testing ability, or several other circumstances. However, use the list below to help you understand common mistakes and common reasons why individuals fail.

Concepts are different in practice than they are in the text – For some individuals, it may be hard to differentiate things they do regularly at work from the textbook practice. This can make some of the questions harder than you think.

Your test-taking skills are lacking – Taking the exam is more than just knowing the material. Being comfortable with the format is just as important and can directly influence how well you do on the exam.

You think you know all the material – It Is easy to make assumptions about the exam because of the topic. However, it’s vital to ensure that you actually give yourself the needed time to study and digest the material. Do not allow your ego to help you fail.

How to Study for the CPHQ Exam: 7 Tips

How to Study for the CPHQ Exam: 7 Tips

Suppose you are looking for helpful things to do while studying and general information on how to pass the CPHQ exam. The tips below are a good starting place.

Create Flashcards

Flashcards are an excellent option when looking for quick ways to study. CPHQ study questions can be written on one side of the flashcard with the answers on the other to make recalling information easier. Use these cards with a friend to make studying easier.

Create a Study Calendar

If you are worried about how you will find the time to study, creating a calendar is a great idea. Start by building a calendar that you can use to study for each exam area that incorporates everything that will be on the test. This ensures that you know what you are studying and where you left off last when you sit down to study.

Focus on Improvement Areas

It would help if you had an idea of what subjects or domains you struggle with the most. If not, take a practice test before you begin studying. This makes sure that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if patient safety is not your strongest area, center in on questions and flash cards which focus on patient safety.  However, do not be afraid to drill down further.  You may not need a full patient care review, but find a balance that works best for you.


 Where you take the exam plays a large part in the logistics related to the exam. Some countries where the exam is not available; include Ukraine, Cuba, Syria, and North Korea. In the United States, exam students are able to take the exam at one of several testing centers across the country. If a testing center is not an option, you can even take the proctored exam online.

Know the Exam Format

Knowing the exam format is essential to doing well on the exam. This includes not only knowing the question count but knowing the items to study for the exam. There are several topics covered on the exam. These topics include Leadership, Health Data, Patient Safety, and Performance Improvement. All of these topics are essential parts of the exam process.

It’s important to know the different subtopics that fall into each overarching category. For example, when studying patient safety, you must remember also to study planning & assessment and implanting and evaluation.

Within each of these different scenarios, there are varying levels. These are referred to as “cognitive levels .”These three levels are referred to as analysis, recall, and application. Each different level requires a different thing from the person taking the exam. Recall questions test a person’s ability to recall information. This includes facts and concepts. Analysis items test a person’s ability to problem-solve. These questions require students to make decisions based on their judgment. Last but not least, application questions require students to apply information to a specific scenario.


The NAHQ provides several options that students can utilize when preparing for the exam. There are several resources you can use to study for the exam. These resources will help you to pass the exam. The NPHQ has recommended their best study guides for the CPHQ exam though they don’t fully endorse any of the exams. Some recommended texts to study include the following:

  • HQ Solutions: Resource for the Healthcare Quality Professional 4th Edition
  • Journal of Healthcare Quality CEU activities.
  • The Healthcare Quality Book: Vision, Strategy, and Tools 3rd Edition

These are only a few of the options available to you, and you can check out them and several others in the CPHQ Domestic and International Handbooks.

Use the Practice Exam to Your Advantage

Before taking the real exam, all students are presented with the opportunity to take a computer-based practice exam. This will allow you to gain familiarity with the system, understand the navigation and put yourself at ease before beginning the timed exam. Once you feel that you are ready, you may then proceed to the actual timed and scored CPHQ test.

Wrapping Things Up: What is a Passing Score on the CPHQ Exam?

If you’re wondering if the CPHQ certification is worth it, the answer is yes. This is an excellent certification for healthcare professionals looking to grow in their field. However, though the certificate is nice to have, it is essential to remember that the difficulty of the exam may vary, and not everyone is the same.

Take some time out of your schedule to understand the amount of studying you need to do and plan out how you will do it. Creating a study calendar is a great way to plan your study sessions up until exam day. You can even use things like practice exams to help you gauge where your understanding is at the time.

Use the information and the tips provided above to get you ready to take the exam and pass it. Remember, all you need to score is a 73% or higher.

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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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