Hello – My name is Traci Harris and I recently passed the PHR Exam! I graduated from Michigan State University with an undergrad in Communications (because I wanted to graduate in 4 years and didn’t know what I wanted to do), so I began a Master’s Degree online though Capella University, shortly after. I am with Eagle Adjusting Services, LLC today and am currently the HR director. I felt that I needed an HR degree and a certification to help advance my career and so far, it has worked! I wanted to be looked at as a professional in the Human Resources field. I wanted to get certified in order to be respected in an HR management role, as well as to better my career. I participated in the IndySHRM study group and found it very beneficial. The class met once a week for 12 weeks and it provided materials such as books and flashcards, as well as online resources.

The first day of class was orientation, this provided a clear picture of how the course was set up, what the test was like, when we were supposed to sign up, and how we were going to get through the material. I took the advice of Jen Lange, PHR, SHRM-CP (IndySHRM’s Director of Certification) and scheduled the exam two weeks after the course ended so that the material would be fresh in my head. I also spoke with some of the other students and found that one of them was interested in being my study partner outside of class. We agreed to meet once a week and increased it to twice a week three weeks prior to taking our exams. I began every week by reading the material for Wednesday’s study group session and taking a practice test over the particular section. I studied for one hour a day, two hours on the weekend days, and increased this time as the exam approached.

While studying, I found a variety of techniques useful. I took long walks with my dog going over the HRCP flashcards we were provided with the study group registration, I took the flashcards to the gym, I played the audio version of the HRCP online booklets whenever I was driving and I took a ton of practice exams. I took the online exams that came with the HRCP material provided, I purchased another book and took those exams, I took the practice exams that the class proctors provided us with and I also purchased extra exams thought HRCI’s website (which is the only source for previously used (and discontinued) PHR/SPHR exam questions.)

The week before the PHR exam I drove to the Prometric testing facility so I knew where it was. On the day of the test, I ate a good breakfast, reviewed some material, thought positively and showed up to the testing facility a half hour early. The test is intimidating; no matter how hard you study there will be material on the test that you have not ever seen before. They key is to take deep breaths and weed out the answers that you know are wrong. Flag the questions that you want to go back to, don’t spend too much time on each question. Finishing the test is better than running out of time. Take a break in the middle of the exam. Over half way through, I couldn’t remember the definition to a word I knew I studied. I took a break and paced the hallway, eventually it came to me and I went back in and finished the test.

Passing the PHR exam was one of my greatest accomplishments. It is a wonderful feeling to be HRCI certified! I look forward to continuing to grow professionally, obtaining recertification credits, and becoming more involved with the IndySHRM HR community.

Traci Harris

Traci Harris, PHR is the HR Director for Eagle Adjusting Services, LLC.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Michigan State University and has a Master’s Degree from Capella University.  She began her HR career as a recruiter for a staffing company and didn’t like the “sales” aspect of the position, so she left the field of HR and went into restaurant management for a while.  She realized that her heart was in HR, and after going back to school she received a position as an HR Assistant and the rest is history!