Today was the big day – my exam for the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. I’d been getting ready for this exam for a couple of weeks now (in theory) but was absolutely terrified now that the actual day was upon me.
I walked in there COMPLETELY unprepared for the exam.
I’d set myself up with all the right study tools: A pair of “practice exams” from the people that actually write the real one, using retired test questions (so I could do a “before” and “after” practice exam, studying in between.) An online course with hundreds of pages of study guide material, online quizzes that give you the answer and rationale after you attempt each question, and four full-blown practice exams made up of chapter quiz questions. And a series of printed study guides that a colleague of Sal’s lent me, including a stack of spiral-bound notebooks and a couple of giant binders full of notes.
And then… I squandered the opportunity completely. I’d set a goal of going through one “module” of online study guides a night last week before heading to New York for the weekend, but I didn’t make it. In fact, I only got through one module completely before I left for the holiday weekend in NYC, along with one practice exam.
So then this past week, having returned from New York, I was going to frantically cram every night after work, finish all of the online modules early in the week, and then finish up the week with some practice exams and touch-up studying on areas that I didn’t score well on.
My last-ditch effort: I took Friday off of work, using a vacation day so I would have uninterrupted time to study. And then only managed to devote a couple of hours to it, thanks to distractions from work, distractions from my planning for the HRC Carolinas Gala next month, and actually thinking that I could study while Sal played the new Avatar video game right next to me.
As you can imagine, I fully expected to fail the exam today. It didn’t help that there were a TON of questions that covered material not mentioned in my study materials (at least, not in the online study materials I actually got through… I barely touched the printed materials I borrowed from Sal’s colleague) I found myself leaving about 20% of the questions blank on the first pass, coming back to answer them after I got through all 225 questions.
So when I finally finished answering all the blank questions, and then went through and re-read every single question to make sure I was satisfied with my answers, and I submitted my test for review, what did I see?
A survey, asking why I had decided to apply for certification as a Professional in Human Resources, and what study methods I had used. SON OF A BITCH! I finished the survey in a hurry, and nearly threw up in my mouth as the results were being tabulated.
When I finally saw the “Congratulations!” screen with a note that I had passed, and to expect my full test results (including actual score by topic and overall score) by mail in two-to-four weeks, I had to grip the table to avoid falling out of my chair. I was SO convinced that I’d failed.
It’s a freakin’ miracle, that’s all I’m saying.