Tips For Passing The SPHRi Exam

As an Human Resources (HR) professional, the surest way of advancing in your career, increasing your income potential and your credibility in your field is by getting a professional certification, and the Senior Professional in Human Resources – International (SPHRi) certification is one the most recognized in the HR industry. 

Having this certification proves that you have adequate knowledge and experience in HR functions and gains you more recognition in the HR Industry globally. 

However, before you get SPHRi-certified, you will need to pass a certification exam. 

This certification exam is usually challenging especially if you are writing it for the first time.

To pass it, you will need to have a good understanding of how it is structured and prepare properly for it. 

So, in this article, I will be giving you an in-depth explanation of how the exam is structured and give you tips, and strategies that will help you have a higher chance of passing the exam even if you are writing it for the first time.

So, without any further waste of time, here are the tips and strategies you should follow to have a higher chance of passing the exam:


I. Know The Exam Format 

The SPHRi certification exam is set from the four functional areas in the HR Industry to assess how knowledgeable and skilled you are in these areas.

The exam consists of 105 multiple-choice questions that are scored, and 25 pretest questions that are not scored. Its passing score is 500 out of the available 700 marks.

It lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes of administration time, making it 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

To efficiently prepare for the different sections of the SPHRi certification exam, you need to have a good understanding of the four functional areas in the exam content outline. 

Every functional area of the exam requires a different level of understanding and preparation, so you need to create a good study plan that allows you to allocate your time to study each of these areas properly.

Let’s now discuss the four functional areas used to set the SPHRi certification exam.


II. Understand The Content Outline Of The Exam

Here are the major areas and topics covered in the exam:


• Functional Area 1: Business Leadership

To pass the questions from this section, you need to have a good knowledge of financial management, organization design, and strategic planning, amongst others. 

You need to understand how a business operates, how to handle global HR issues, and how to plan the strategy for a business and fit HR functions into this strategy.


• Functional Area 2: Talent Development and Management

To pass questions from this area, you need to understand how to properly recruit employees, manage them, and retain them. You also need a good understanding of topics such as performance management, and talent management, amongst others.


• Functional Area 3: HR Service Delivery

To ace the questions from this part, you need to have an adequate understanding of HR service delivery and how to properly use HR tools and technologies to boost the service delivery of an organization. 

You should also have knowledge of HR metrics, and HR Industry trends.


• Functional Area 4: Measurement and Analysis

To get the questions from this functional area right, you need to have a good knowledge of data analysis, HR metrics, and how to use the information obtained from them to help an organization make more informed business decisions. 

For proper preparation, click here to get the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) Full Content Outline for the SPHRi certification examination.


III. Develop A Study Plan 


To effectively prepare for the SPHRi exam, you will need to study different materials and possibly take an SPHRi course, and the only way you can manage your time and cover all these is to create a study plan.

After you have reviewed the exam content outline, make sure you note the areas in which you have good knowledge and those in which you don’t have good knowledge. 

Then, you can create a study plan to improve on the areas which have little to no knowledge about. 

To make your study goals achievable and reduce choking yourself with too much studying at a particular time, make sure you break your studying time into shorter intervals. 

You can also break them down into days, and weeks, depending on which one works best for you. This will also help you stay motivated and focused while studying. 

In addition, ensure you have breaks in between your studying periods so that you can relax, exercise, or attend to other activities.


IV. Get Support 

Getting support while studying is another great way of preparing for an SPHRi certification exam. With the right level of support, you can stay motivated during the studying process.

You can reach out to your colleague or other HR experts who have taken the certification exam before, and get some tips and insights about the exam from them.

For accountability and staying motivated, you can also join a study group or find a study partner who is also preparing for the exam and learn with them. You can also get feedback and answers to certain questions from your partner.

An alternative way of getting support is by undergoing a classroom SPHRi training program. 

In this program, you will have instructors who will teach you all you need to know to ace the SPHRi exam and also improve in areas where you are weak in.

These instructors are also experienced in the exam so they can answer all the questions you have and provide you with the right guidance you need during your studying process.

If you are in Nigeria, or Ghana, we have quality classroom training programs with experienced instructors who will provide you with the guidance and knowledge you need to properly prepare for and ace your SPHRi exam. 

If you are in these areas, click HERE to enroll for our training program.


V. Practice, Practice, Practice 

After you have studied the necessary materials after a particular period or undergone an SPHRi training program, the next step is practice. 

One of the best ways to prepare for an SPHRi exam after studying is to take a practice exam.

Taking an SPHRi practice exam helps you to become familiar with the structure and questions of the exam before the exam day. 

It also helps you learn how to manage your time while taking the exam, and check how prepared you are for the exam.

This exam can help know the areas you are good at and the areas you need to work more on. Also, it will help you build up your confidence and reduce the anxiety that you would have felt if you went into the real exam directly. 

While experimenting with a practice exam, ensure you practice with different types of questions to help you have proper knowledge about the questions from all the functional areas.   

The tip to getting the most out of a practice exam is to approach it with all seriousness as you would the real exam. 

Don’t take it as just a  practice exam.

Now, let me look at some exam day tips.


VI. Tips For The Exam Day 

Here are some tips that will be useful to you on the exam day:


• Arrive Early To The Testing Center 

If you have chosen to write your SPHRi exam in a Pearson VUE testing center then ensure you arrive at the venue earlier than the stipulated time, and if you have chosen to write the exam remotely, ensure you login before the specified start time. 

This will help calm your mind before the exam begins and prevent you from going through the stress and anxiety that comes with starting late.


• Manage The Time Properly 

You will need to answer 130 questions in over 3 hours so ensure you use the time wisely to enable you to finish before the time elapses. 

Make sure that when you encounter a question that is difficult for you, skip it and move to the next one. 

Ensure you answer the questions which you know the questions to first before coming back to the ones that are difficult for you.  

Also, ensure you don’t spend time second-guessing a question you have already answered.


• Read The Questions Carefully 

The SPHRi certification exam consists of different types of questions from diverse areas so the questions can be tricky at times, so ensure you read the questions properly and understand them before answering.

While doing this, ensure you are calm and focused while also making sure you do away with any atom of anxiety within you.


VII. Maintaining Your SPHRi Certification 

According to HRCI, after passing your SPHRi certification exam, you will need to renew your certification every 3 years, if you want it to remain valid.  

After 3 years, you will need to participate in HR-related activities such as carrying out original HR-related research, publishing HR-related articles, working in a volunteering role as an HR expert, and bringing about a new program at your workplace.

These activities also involve undergoing qualified HR online courses and attending HR seminars, conferences, and webinars.

Carrying out these professional development activities gives you recertification credits that you can use to meet the recertification requirements of the HRCI and keep your SPHRi certification valid.

Failure to meet the provided recertification requirements will make you lose your certification and you will need to sit for the SPHRi certification exam to regain it. 

The aim of all these recertification processes is for you to stay up-to-date and show your commitment to continue being competent, advancing in your HR career, and providing high-quality HR services to any organization that you work for.



As the popular saying goes “Proper preparation prevents poor performance”. 

Make sure you prepare well for the SPHRi certification by knowing the exam format, understanding the content outline of the exam, developing a study plan and sticking to it, seeking support, and taking practice exams before the exam day. 

The SPHRi certification exam is usually challenging but by following the tips we have provided in this article, you will stand a higher chance of acing it and getting your certification, even if you are writing the exam for the first time. 

You can do it, I believe you can. 

Now, go all out and show the exam what you are made of.



1. What Is The SPHRi Exam? 

The Senior Professional in Human Resources International (SPHRi) exam is an exam you need to pass as an HR professional to get the SPHRi certification from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), an organization that is recognized around the world for certifying HR professionals.

The SPHRi certification serves as a validation that you possess all the knowledge and skills required to manage HR functions at an international level.


2. How Difficult Is The SPHRi Exam? 

The SPHRi exam is usually a challenging certification exam that tests your knowledge and skills about different areas of the HR industry, however, with proper preparation and studies, you will have a great chance of passing the exam and earning the SPHRi certification.


3. What Is The Passing Score For The SPHRi Exam? 

The passing score of the SPHRi Exam is 500 marks out of the available 700 marks.


4. What Is The Success Rate Of The SPHRi Exam? 

The success rate of the SPHRi certification exam as of 31st December 2022 is 72%.


5. How Long Does It Take To Prepare For The SPHRi Exam? 

Adequate preparation for the SPHRi certification exam doesn’t have a specific timeframe. 

The duration of the preparation depends on factors such as:

  • How well you have studied and understood the SPHRi exam content outline
  • The amount of time you dedicate to studying the necessary resources per day or undergoing a training course 
  • The number of resources you are studying and how lengthy they are.

6. What Are The Best Study Materials For The SPHRi Exam? 

In as much as these are not recommended for any one who wants to pass at ease because you cannot trust a trainer you cannot verify his experience in helping people pass exams, Yes, there are. Here are some of them:

7. How Can I Find An SPHRi Study Group? 

There are two ways of finding an SPHRi study group, either in a professional HR organization around you or online.

Several professional HR organizations offer study groups for people preparing for the SPHRi exam, so you check the ones around you if they are offering it. 

Meanwhile, there are several study groups on social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, which you can join and collaborate with other candidates to prepare properly for this certification exam. 

However, if you don’t find a study group that fits your studying style and schedule then you can create one yourself and get other colleagues and individuals who are also preparing for the exam to join you.


8. What Is The Exam Retake Policy For The SPHRi Exam?

HRCI’s retake policy for the SPHRi certification exam states that:

  • If you fail the exam, you will have to wait for a 90-day cooling-off period from the date of the unsuccessful exam before you can schedule a retake exam appointment.
  • If you fail the exam and wish to retake the exam, you must submit a new application and exam fee, and this applies each time you take the exam.

9. How Do I Maintain My SPHRi Certification? 

To maintain your SPHRi certification, every 3 years you must participate in professional development activities organized by the (HRCI), and earn a stipulated amount of recertification credits. 

These activities include completing online HR courses, researching and publishing articles, serving as a volunteer HR expert in an organization, and attending HR seminars, conferences, webinars, and workshops. 

Alternatively, you can retake the SPHRi certification exam after 3 years to make your certification valid for another 3 years.


10. What Career Opportunities Are Available For SPHRi-certified Professionals? 

The career opportunities for SPHRi-certified professionals include: 

  • HR Consultant
  • HR Manager 
  • Talent Acquisition Manager
  • HR Director
  • Training and Development Manager 
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager

11. Are There Any Prerequisites For Taking The SPHRi Exam?

Yes, there are prerequisites for taking the SPHRi exam. To write the exam, you need to meet one of these requirements: 

  • You must have a minimum of 4 years of professional-level experience in an HR role with either a Master’s degree or an international certificate that is equivalent to it. 


  • You must have a minimum of 5 years of professional-level experience in an HR position with a Bachelor’s degree or an international certificate that is equivalent to it.


  • You must have a minimum of 7 years of professional-level experience in an HR position with a high school diploma or an international certificate that is equivalent to it.
27th September 2023
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