Welcome to the HR Certification Podcast: a podcast for HR leaders working towards their human resources certification with HRCI and SHRM. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.com and HR certification prep program, Ace The HR Exam, as she shares study tips, exam insights, and topical review for HR exams, including the aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, and SHRM-SCP. Now, here's Jessica with this episode of the HR Certification Podcast.
HR Certification Podcast Episode 1: How to Study for your HRCI and SHRM Exams
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:42.87] Hey there and welcome to the HR Certification Podcast. I’m your host, Jessica Miller-Merrell, and I am so excited to have you here. My mission, purpose, and passion is elevating the human resources industry, and in the HR Certification Podcast, I help HR leaders in their personal and professional development solely focused on HR certification for SHRM and HRCI exams. Now this podcast is powered by Workology. We have HR certification prep resources and courses. You can learn more about our courses and prep resources by visiting www.HRCertificationPodcast.com. So, before I dive into the podcast today, I want to hear from you. Please text the word “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. You can ask me questions, leave comments, and make suggestions for future HR certification prep topics. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you. In each episode of the HR Certification Podcast, I’m going to be covering information and resources to help you with your HR certification exams. This podcast is designed to be short. It’s to the point so you can get in your review and move on. The HP Certification Podcast is divided into different segments. In each episode, we’re going to address a common question or HR topical area to assist you in your review. We’ll also review an HR glossary term and walk you through an HR certification exam question. So, these are designed for SHRM and HRCI exams. So the HR Certification Podcast is for sure in HRCI, and that includes the aPHR, the PHR, the SPHR, the SHRM-CP, and the SHRM-SCP. In the transcript notes of each and every podcast, I will also share recommended resources and information to assist you in your review, which is also available at HRCertificationPodcast.com.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:03:04.53] So in this episode, we are talking about how to get started studying for your HR certification exam. Whether it’s with SHRM or HRCI, I encourage students to do what I call a self-assessment. This helps you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are in terms of the body of applied skills and knowledge or the body of applied knowledge. Are you a BASK or are you a BoCK? We cover it all here. I’m not going to go into specific details about each exam. I do have a resource over at Learn.Workology.com where you can go to learn more about the differences between the different exams, the cost, the fees, experiments, education requirements you can go over to Learn.Workology.com. Now within our Ace The HR Exam course, we do offer a self-assessment, which is essentially a way for you to determine what subject matter with HRCI or SHRM are your weak spots. And these are things that are weak but are also most likely to be on the exam. What I mean by this is that if you’re taking the SPHR, this covers a large percentage of business and strategy topics, so you need to be extremely proficient in this area. It covers a large percentage of the exam, so you need to be familiar with that versus being 100% comfortable and confident with the topic of safety or risk. There’s less questions on the SPHR in the areas of safety and risk and more questions on business and strategy. So, you should focus your study time on these two areas and things that are going to be most likely on the exam, which in this case is both. So I want you to be solid on the things that are more likely to be on the exam. Don’t be wasting time on things that either are not going to be on the exam or you’re really already familiar with. Our Ace The HR Exam course has its own assessment, so it’s a 60-question test that helps you determine where your strengths topics are and where your weaknesses are. For each of the following exams, the PHR, the SPHR, the SHRM-CP, or the SHRM-SCP. This is part of our self-paced course and our learning program called ACE the HR exam. I’m going to link to the course in the show notes, but you can also go to www.AceTheHRExam.com.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:05:37.83] In today’s episode, I also want to talk about learning styles, helping you understand as an adult learner how to prepare for these exams. You simply cannot just read the material and rewrite your notes like we did in the old days in our college classes. At least I did anyways. You need to understand beyond simple memorization and what I call regurgitation, you need to be able to teach someone else the topics, whip out a PowerPoint or sit down with somebody for 5 minutes and talk to them about what the EEOC charge process is. Here’s what I mean in terms of learning styles and finding a plan and strategy to fully understand the information beyond just memorization. These are, it’s really so important. You need to understand fully the things that are most likely on the exam, because after all, our goal is to simply pass the exam, our HR certification exam, whatever that is. This will include your aPHR, the PHR, the SPHR. Those are all with HRCI. And the SHRM-CP and the SHRM-SCP, which is with SHRM. So I’m going to walk you through some information about different learning styles and types.
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Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:50.76] So let’s talk about some different types of learning. Now, this material, while we’re talking about how to study for the exam, this is also material that will be on your exam. So it’s dual purpose. So there are four different learning types, visual, auditory reading and writing, and the fourth, which is kinesthetic. So visual is forms, graphs, charts, and photos. I love these. They’re a great way to visualize a concept or understanding a glossary term. I love to actually draw with markers on like a dry-erase board or a giant post-it note, or just draw a picture like I like to doodle so I can associate a picture with a term. It just sometimes helps your brain trigger long-term memory differently. All right, so try some different things.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:07:31.77] The second type of learning is auditory, and that is like my Ace HR Audio resource where we just have audio resources. Some people like podcasts, some people like audiobooks. That is me. It’s a good way to make use of when you’re driving, you’re commuting, you’re at the gym, you’re doing something mindless, like cleaning my kitchen, like wiping the counters, picking up all the things on the floor, running the vacuum cleaner. I can listen or go into bed. I can listen to the audio resources and it helps drive long-term memory. Now, something interesting about audio is it offers a 20% retention rate that is more than visual and it’s more than reading and writing. So we have been learning in college, in high school, and all the things we like to write our notes. Well, what if I told you that there was something that has better knowledge retention? Which is podcasting or audio. So, Lindsey, we have an Ace HR Audio resource. She says, Any good podcast suggestions? We have an Ace HR Audio learning resource. It is seven and a half hours of content that is just focused on the exam and go to Ace HR Audio to learn more. But Jimmy’s right. I do have a podcast and thank you Jimmy. He says it’s good, or great. Thank you.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:48.58] It is great. I have over 350, I think, podcast interviews, so we’re really focused on HR topics. If you need a topic, I’m sure that there is a podcast on that topic, so I would happily direct you in that direction. So, audio is good. Reading and writing is still amazing. But remember, our brain gets tired. We do the same thing over and over again. We’re drawn, we’re creatures of habit. So if you are somebody who likes to take notes and highlight things, that is cool. However, it might not be the best thing for you to rely on time over time. The fourth and most effective is kinesthetic, and this requires you a hands-on approach of teaching others. All right. Kinesthetic allows you to work through scenarios, and I love it because you can actually teach other people. So if you’re really struggling with the topic. You can listen to some videos or you can listen to me talk about it on the podcast, or you can do it in your job. But the most effective and most active type of learning is for you to teach other people. So if you’re struggling with the types of validity or the different types of charts, teach a group of people. Call your mom, call your sister, or call your accountability partner. You know what? Call me. You will learn, Make some slides, draw a picture. In order for me to learn about SHRM certification, I had to read. I had to learn. I had to be good enough to teach you the stuff.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:10:23.68] So if Jimmy asked me a question or Nancy asked me a question, I can respond. That is kinesthetic learning at its finest. All right. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box with some other types of learning. Now, another type of program I want you, in learning, I want you to think of is a process called chunking. That is where you group things together. And I don’t want you to just group things together in chapter three, I want you to say, okay, I want to look at the different types of Supreme Court cases that are focused on discrimination, and I’m going to review all those.
Break: [00:11:01.20] Let’s take a reset while we move into our next segment here at the HR Certification Podcast powered by Workology. I’m your host, Jessica Miller-Merrell. Workology offers HR certification prep courses and resources. You can learn more about our courses and prep resources by visiting HRCertificationPodcast.com or go to Learn.Workology.com. We offer a variety of prep resources, including physical products like flashcards. I have my flashcards here. Or we also offer study guides along with courses for all different types of learners. Most importantly, I’m making these accessible for you wherever and whenever you are. They are always on-demand, available and accessible to you 24/7. These are our digital courses. These are accessible on our very own Workology app for Android and iOS or over on our learning platform at Learn.Workology.com. Before we get back to our next segment, I want to hear from you. Text the word “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, leave comments and make suggestions for HR certification prep topics for future podcast episodes. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you.
HR Glossary Term(s) – McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory or Three Needs Theory
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:12:20.61] We are now moving into a special segment of the HR Certification podcast where we review an HR glossary term and we do a different one for each episode of the HR Certification Podcast. These are all human resources terms and definitions that cover the knowledge base for SHRM and HRCI exams. When it comes to becoming familiar with these terms that are part of SHRM or HRCI, it’s important for you to review them repeatedly, and I like to use different learning styles. We just talked about this. This is one of the reasons in our Ace The HR Exam course, we offer audio lessons, short videos, longer form videos. We encourage note-taking. We have digital flashcards, physical flashcards, and of course that longer-form lecture content. I encourage you to focus on a single topic or subject matter. That’s why we did the self assessment and I talked about that in the beginning in your review. This allows you to master that area, that single area, and then move on to other areas that have larger percentages of questions or content that’s more likely to be on the exam. This is the most important part, I believe, of structuring your review. And honestly, it’s the secret sauce to our program.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:36.63] Let’s get to the review of our HR glossary term for this episode. I will start by mentioning the term and do a short description. The term today is McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory, also known as Three Needs Theory, and it’s a motivational model that attempts to explain how the needs for achievement, power, and affiliation affect the actions of people from a managerial context. That’s McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory. This theory was developed in the 1960s and McClelland points out that regardless of our age, sex, race or culture, all of us possess one of these needs and are driven by it. McClelland put forth that all, the specific needs of an individual are acquired and shaped over time through the experiences he or she has had in their life. McClelland’s theory can help you to identify the dominant motivators of people.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:14:35.07] So let’s review the three different motivators. The first is power. People who are motivated by power want to lead a successful team and be recognized for that effort. That is their dominant motivator. The second motivator could be achievement. This is people who have a high need for achievement will do best when given projects when they can succeed through their own efforts. So if they have a high level of achievement, they want projects that allow them to succeed and they want to do it on their own. The last motivator is affiliation, and that is people with a high need of affiliation may not be good top managers but are generally happier, and can be highly successful in non-leadership roles.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:15:25.05] So real quick, I’m just going to review McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory, also known as Three Needs Theory, is a motivational model that attempts to explain how the needs for achievement, power, and affiliation affect the actions of people from a managerial context. So there you go. McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:15:48.90] There are a number of leadership and management theories that are going to be on your exam like this one. So it is important for you to be familiar. I cover more of these in our Ace The HR Exam course. We have a whole special section on management and leadership theories. I like to do quick videos, like five minute videos that kind of provide you some insights into each of the dominant theories or the materials that are covered in the SHRM and HRCI exams. It’s helpful for you just to learn the information quickly and then move on. It’s also helpful as a leader yourself, and chances are you’re going to be coaching leaders in HR. You also might be managing teams. So manager leadership theories are definitely something that you need to be familiar with when it comes to your exam.
HR Test Question Review for SHRM and HRCI Certification Exams
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:16:41.84] We are now moving into a special segment of the HR Certification Podcast, where we review an HR test question for each and every episode, a different one. These are all test questions that cover the knowledge base for SHRM and HRCI. I see a pattern here. Before I share the question, I want to give you a quick review of my HR test question framework. More information is available on this in our courses, but also on the Workology YouTube channel. So I’ll link to that video in the transcript of the podcast episode with our YouTube channel. So let’s walk through the five steps of the HR test question framework. Step one: Read each question slowly and concisely. Step two: Identify the HR competency. Step three: Eliminate the wrong answers. And step four: WWSD or WWHD. So that is What Would SHRM Do or What Would HRCI Do. WWSD or WWHD. Think about the test question from the point of view of a person from SHRM or HRCI writing that test question, it’ll help you frame how you would answer it. And then step five is above all else: Go with your gut. Answer every single question. So that’s our five test question framework. Let’s get on to our HR certification featured practice test question. Are you ready? I’m going to read this twice for you. In which of the following scenarios was the HR manager correct in handling FMLA medical certification? Is it A) The employer disagreed with a certification by the employee’s doctor, so it paid to have the employee seen by a second provider. Or B) The employee was given five days to provide medical certification. C) The employer had their own medical certification form. Or D) None of the above options are correct. I’m going to read this question a second time and give you the options here. Question is:.
In which of the following scenarios was the HR manager correct in handling FMLA medical certification? Is it…
A) The employer disagreed with a certification by the employee’s doctor, so it paid to have the employee seen by a second provider.
B) The employee was given five days to provide medical certification.
C) The employer had their own medical certification form.
D) None of the above options are correct.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:19:26.36] So drum roll. Are you ready? Here we go. The correct answer is B) The employee was given five days to provide medical certification. Now, it’s okay if you didn’t get this one right. If you’re unfamiliar with FMLA’s medical certification requirement for the Family Medical Leave Act, I suggest you go back and review. Other common tests questions focus on interim FMLA, and, of course, understanding the basic FMLA requirements as an organization. So you want to know how to qualify for FMLA and understand things like what companies qualify for FMLA by employee count, location, etc.. Again, if you got this one wrong, don’t worry. Just make a note to yourself that you need to review information on FMLA. I like to have a little post-it note. I have one over here by desk. I leave it there and then I will just add that topic into my daily review. I also have more test questions. If you feel like you need more practice. We have a 25-free test question bank and you can go to HRTestQuestion.com to access that.
Closing: [00:20:39.24] HR certification is such an important step in your career, whether you’re looking to increase your HR knowledge base, gain credibility in your office, increase your income potential, or prove yourself that you deserve to be here. Honestly, you deserve to be here. You do. So, together, let’s elevate the HR profession. Thank you for joining me on this episode of the HR Certification Podcast. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell. I help HR leaders ace their HR certification exams. Let me do the same for you. Workology offers a host of courses and resources to help you with your HR certification exams with HRCI and SHRM. Visit HRCertificationPodcast.com to learn more about how we help you with HR certification prep for the aPHR, the PHR, the SPHR, the SHRM-CP, and the SHRM-SCP exams. If you do have a suggestion for a future podcast topic or review, I’m down, let me know about it so I can add it to an upcoming episode of the HR Certification Podcast. Text “HR CERTIFICATION”. The words “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. That’s “HR CERTIFICATION” to 512-548-3005. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you have a fabulous day and best of luck on your HR certification and prep. You know where to find me. Until next time.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FOR YOUR HR CERTIFICATION FOR aPHR, PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP, AND SHRM-SCP