Episode 259: Remote Proctoring with SHRM and HRCI

Earlier this year, both SHRM and HRCI announced that they will be temporarily closing testing centers to adhere to state and federal guidelines to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Both offer a remote proctoring option. For this HR Certification Exam podcast, I interviewed Pat Byrd, director of Certification Relations with SHRM, Amy Dufrane, CEO of HRCI and Liz Grater, Director of Certification with HRCI to get answers to everything you need to know about taking your SHRM or HRCI exam remotely. 

Episode 259: Remote Proctoring with SHRM and HRCI with Pat Byrd (@PatByrd), Amy Dufrane (@HRCI_CEO), and Liz Grater (@LizGrater)

Earlier this year, I wrote about Live Remote Proctored HR Exam Testing Resources and made some recommendations about how to prepare to take the exams using this option. Taking your SHRM or HRCI certification exam remotely is similar to taking the test in a test center, meaning that you’ll get the same test, the same time frame, and under the same security protocols – the difference is that you’re taking the test at home or other remote location. 

I asked about how the process works and what we should think about before our test date. SHRM’s Pat Byrd said that the difference is “you’re in control of the equipment, internet connectivity and environmental conditions…what this means is that if you need support in any of those areas, you’re the one who will provide that support. Any assistance that you need during testing will be delivered to you virtually.”

HRCI’s Liz Grater said “on the testing day, a candidate can log in up to 30 minutes before a scheduled appointment time and the check in process usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes. But you can log in and get settled, get into your space up to 30 minutes before a scheduled appointment.” She added that the online check in process is similar to what happens in a test center, but you will also be asked to take four photos of your testing space. “This is just to make sure there are no books or cell phones or additional computers, study notes, things that a student could access during the exam. The photos get reviewed and if there’s any question, a greeter will come on to ask – for example – if that’s a book on your desk, can you move it out of arm’s reach, that sort of thing. Once those photos are approved they get released to the proctor to start your exam.”

SHRM and HRCI Exam Remote Exam Questions: Scratch paper, talking out loud, and headphones

One major difference between taking the test in person and remotely is that the remote option does not allow for scratch paper to use during the test. Instead, both SHRM and HRCI have platforms with a digital whiteboard built in that you can use as scratch paper. While SHRM allows one 15-minute break (and the clock is still running during the break), HRCI does not allow for breaks during testing. I recommend not drinking too much water before your test time!

Pat said for SHRM exams “some people have asked about talking out loud, or asking the questions out loud. Unfortunately, that is not permitted. So no talking to yourself out loud or whispering the questions, none of that is permitted.” Liz said that during the HRCI exams “if the proctor hears somebody speaking out loud, they will interrupt and say, excuse me, you might be reading the questions. Please don’t do that out loud, OK?” It’s not allowed in test centers either. 

Headphones are allowed for SHRM exams, but the microphone must be engaged. There are no headphones allowed for the HRCI exams. 

What happens if you’re taking the exam and you need support for the HRCI or SHRM Remote Proctored Exams? 

Pat said SHRM asks all test takers to run a systems check ahead of time to ensure your system is compatible with our test administrator’s system. If you run into any issues during the testing, a proctor is there to help you.

Liz said that HRCI’s review system will recognize something like an internet interruption and will try to reconnect with the candidate automatically. If a question freezes or the test is not advancing, you can access the proctor through a live chat feature or through your laptop microphone. 

When your SHRM-SCP, SHRM-CP, SPHR, PHR Exam Is Completed

SHRM: When the test is finished, you get preliminary results providing you with the pass or fail, and then you get your final results approximately four to six weeks after that period.

HRCI: You won’t get a preliminary score when you complete the exam in the same way that you do in a test center (in a test center for HRCI, you get a printed score report on your way out). After taking the remote test, you can log into your account about an hour after testing and see your exam result (and you’ll also get an email in 24-48 hours).

Thanks so much to Pat, Amy and Liz for taking the time to answer our questions! For more information or to schedule your remote proctoring exam, visit SHRM or HRCI online.

Connect with Pat Byrd, Amy Dufrane and Liz Grater.



– Pat Byrd on LinkedIn

– Amy Dufrane on LinkedIn

– Liz Grater on LinkedIn

– Live Remote Proctored HR Exam Testing Resources

– SHRM Online Testing FAQs 

– HRCI Online Testing FAQs

– Ep 233 – Test Taking Strategies for HRCI and SHRM Exams

– Episode Transcript


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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