Professional in Human Resources (PHR)- Study Plan

Hello everyone!

Long time since I visited you all here.

PHRWhile basking in the glory of my successful completion of PHR certification, I have been receiving lot of queries on my study plan, materials used etc. So here I am to help you with the maximum details possible that can aid you in earning your certification.

For details on the PHR certification – exam pattern, fee, dates , eligibility and more please visit

It would be better if I provide a snapshot of my professional experience and HR knowledge before proceeding further:

I have 2 years of experience as HR Specialist in Work force Planning and staffing. I am from India and had no idea about the US labour laws, employment practices, work culture till I started my PHR preparation [I haven’t visited the International Airport so far 😉 ]. So the below study plan would be for someone who would need the maximum timeline for preparation. You may work out your schedule based on your background.

Initial Prep Material:

My test date was in June 2016. I kick started my preparation on New Year day- 2016. I joined the FB study group run by Victoria Purser The group is an awesome learning and networking platform and my pass would not have been possible without them.

I started off with the PHR certification guide by Anne Bogardus and Sandra Reed. I took baby steps so that the new terminologies and concepts would sink in. The maximum time I could dedicate in a week was 10 hours including the weekends.  On weekdays the maximum I could spend was an hour balancing my office work. Though I planned to complete the book once by Feb end, due to some personal work I could complete it only by March end. However I worked out my forthcoming study plan accordingly, so please do not get upset if you have to alter your study schedule or timelines. You can still make it with proper planning.

Practice Tests:

Once my first round of studying the Bogardus book was over (I hardly remembered anything though), I started taking up chapter wise practice tests along with studying the individual chapters for the second time. I used the  PHR- HRCI Practice Exams by McGraw Hill. This was available in my organization’s online learning portal and I could utilize it. Please do remember that any practice test apart from the ones by HRCI can be used only as a supplementary material for your study. I downloaded the free Pocket prep- PHR app as well from Google play store and the 10 questions per test helped me refresh my concepts regularly. Once the practice tests and second revision was over, I started taking up full length tests from various online sources. I had purchased the HRCI v1&v2 practice tests as well. I would like to emphasize that practice tests are the best way to analyze your performance and boost up your scores. I analyzed each and every test I had given to know my weak areas, the pattern of questions I was going wrong with and it helped me a lot on the D-day.

The below is the study calendar I had followed:

Jan ’16 to Mar ’16 : Bogardus book (started off with the easier sections first)

Apr’16 to Mid-May ’16 : Revision of Bogardus book along with chapter wise practice tests by McGrawhill. I had attended Victoria’s cram session as well on April 23 which helped me to understand the way to focus on the different BOKs. The prep handouts she provided after the session were also very helpful.

15-May-16 to 10-Jun-16 : Full length practice tests and analysis. I kept revisiting the case laws as well frequently.

Points to remember:

** PHR is indeed tough to crack, but it is not impossible

** Try answering questions posted by fellow preppers on the group as it gives you a lot of exposure to different ways of question writing.

** Analyze your practice test performance thoroughly to understand the way you need to work forward. This analysis helped me predict how my exam results would be and my BOK wise score was exactly the way I had expected it to be.

Most important:

** I never passed any of those HRCI practice tests, so please do not give up on your preparation at any stage. Just focus on the outcomes of your analysis and weak areas. Have faith in your preparation and knowledge gained so far.

Wishing you the very best in your preparation and earning the certification. Please remember:

‘ If I can do it, you definitely can- perseverance is the key ‘











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