Tag Archives: testing

Certified Compensation Professional

Today I took (and totally crushed) the T4: Strategic Communication course.

The test was 84 minutes (plus 6 for orientation to the test) for 75 questions. As I suspected from the course material it was the “old” version that I expect will be updated in the next few years. I figured it out since it still has global items integrated with the material. This meant the test was very cut and dry with maybe 5 questions that you had to pick the best of three correct answers.

I am super proud to state that this was the final test to obtain the Certified Compensation Professional.


C8: Business Acumen

Yesterday I took the World At Work Business Acumen test. I was very surprised.

The test was 114* minutes for 78 multiple choice questions. There was a small amount of math (1 question.)

Why was I surprised? That boils down to two answers. The first is that there were about 10-15 questions that were about concepts that were not in the testing material (self study book or the supplemental case study.) The second was that about half the test was a level of questioning akin to the SPHR rather than the previous 8 tests I had taken through this certification track.

When I state the questions were SPHR level, the questions were not straight forward what is X? In stead you had to use your knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary to extrapolate and think about the situation presented and each of the answers for the best answer (as sometimes two or three were correct, just one was better than the others.)  Considering the majority of the previous 8 tests were much more straight forward and representative of the material rather than its applications this was… challenging.

I was also surprised that not a single one of the “Test your knowledge” or end of module questions were utilized, as had been on the previous 8 tests. That and there was no survey afterwards to give feedback about the test itself.

The one math question fits into the category of “was not in the preparation material.” I took a guess at how to calculate the answer. For having numerous equations and financial concepts, to ask about one NOT in the material felt underhanded.

I feel that the materials provided did not accurately prepare one for the test.

While I did pass it, I don’t feel much satisfaction from doing so.

Considering much of the material for the course was a repeat from a number of the other courses, having this new test added to the required track for certification just feels like a money grab rather than actual preparing and ensuring one is knowledgeable on the topic and can act in a means to benefit their organization or advance their career.

I recognize the course (and thus also the test) is new. There are many bugs to work out.

*6 minutes for the “tutorial” if one has not taken a test before. If you don’t use the full six minutes then you lose that time, it is not added to your time for the “real” test.

SHRM certification

Congratulations on achieving your SHRM-CP.

Today I took advantage of the SHRM-CP tutorial to get the certification for free. I have to say that I actually like and see the validity of the competency based nature of this certification and how it will lend credence to Human Resources as a whole and a business partner.

I have largely staid out of the fray between the HRCI vs SHRM certification war. I’ve chosen to wait it out to see the offerings for comparison and see what the results are to organizations, professionals, and the profession as a whole over time. Without data it is hard to give an educated guess, and everyone has an opinion. 😉 I like my opinions to have weight.

It is early yet, since the certification was just offered for the first time three months ago, but it will be interesting to see when and which roles will require or prefer this certification. It will be interesting to see if it will be placed in relation to the HRCI certifications.

The part I enjoyed the most was the competency check lists. I answered as truthfully as possible, so that it could be a useful tool to me. I was pleasantly surprised that both my professional (paid) and volunteer experience places me predominantly in the Exec category.

Beaushene SHRM-CP competency chart

Beaushene SHRM-CP chart







The process took less than an hour, and was free. Can’t beat that! I really liked the situations and questions offered. Again, in the vein of being honest, I chose the best choice 7 of 9 times, the second best choice once, and one of the “what the heck, totally the wrong choice” once.

For one that does not currently have an HRCI or IPMA-HR to take the test is $300, which is $100 cheaper than the HRCI PHR. Being so new, it may not be eligible for tuition or expense reimbursement from organizations yet. To be fair, it has been five years since I took the PHR, so I cannot legitimately compare the SHRM-CP scenario quesitons to those of the PHR.

If an organization does reimburse you, why not go for both? Until the dust clears – which may be five to ten years from now, it is best to hedge ones bets. 😉 But if one is paying out of pocket, I would go for the HRCI certification simply due to its history and being well known.

Good luck which ever you decide. May the odds be in your favor!

Regulatory Environments in Compensation Management


Photo Credit HR Benefits Alert

On December 7th I sat for the World at Work C1: Regulatory Environments in Compensation Management test. There was a lot going on – I tried the eLearning option, it was a new testing venue for me, and the information itself.

For the T1: Total Rewards Management course I bought the cheapest package only to stretch my annual education reimbursement allowance. I was a nervous wreck not knowing how World at Work testing went, how their materials would prepare one, etc. In the end, I kicked the tests butt passing with a 93%. Despite how it appears with having passed the PHR, FPC, CPP, and now the T1 and C1 I am not a good test taker. I took the SAT three times and never cracked 1100 (out of 1600.) I took the GRE and got another perfectly mediocre score. So the fact I’m doing well on these tests is something I am proud of, though other than putting in the time to repeat the information enough times I’m not sure how I’m doing it.

Since the year was ending, I decided to splurge and test out one of the more expensive learning options World at Work offered – E-Learning. At first I thought it was really cool – I could listen to recordings while multitasking so that I could absorb the information almost like through osmosis in addition to reading, taking summarizing notes, and making/going through flashcards. There was the added benefit that the presenter did include some mnemonics and stories to flesh out the information on the slides (that were identical to the book.)

I passed the C1 course with a 93%.

I had to laugh that it was the exact same pass rate as the T1 course. In the end, I don’t think the recordings helped me any (though they may help others!)

As I did with the T1 course, here are some things about the C1 to prepare one for the test.

  • It is 114 minutes to take the test, not including the system tutorial. (I time it this time, I took 2 minutes to do the tutorial, but the full 6 minutes were taken from my overall countdown.)
  • The test is 110 questions.
  • The end of chapter test questions are on the test itself.
  • Everything is contained within the book.
  • There are some second and third tier reasoning questions; this test was more like the PHR where you had to know your stuff to pick the best question. (Unlike the T1 which was primary level reasoning that is basic regurgitation.) However, that level of reasoning is only about 20% of the test, the rest is primary.
  • Case law was helpful in studying, but did not show up on the test. There were no questions asking about Griggs V. Powers Duke or any other case.
  • There were no “gotcha” questions on minutia like I found on the T1 test (which was only 2-3 questions anyways.)

I was disappointed somewhat that the first testing venue was no longer an option since it was so close to home (5 minute drive!), though it did have it’s own issues (sound proofing.) This venue was odd as well, in it’s own right, though much more professional.

I purposely chose the C1 course during Year End and Annual Enrollment time because it appeared to be mostly information that reinforced basics from the PHR and that come up at work often with clients. Basically, I knew the course would be easier for me than others so I took it during a stressful time frame to balance the over all load on my brain and nerves. I still never managed to get holiday cards out, despite this balance. :

Two down, and seven more courses to go before I get the CCP and a 3% raise. 🙂  


Certifications are a large part of the Human Resources profession. We are urged to get certified and stay certified. There are two core reasons behind this – to know who meets a specific level of knowledge and to stay current with changes to the profession.

Certifications are slowly becoming a deciding factor with regards to hiring and promotions. Ben Eubanks of UpstartHR was the first I saw to post a great PayScale.com infographic about how a certification impacts your income.

I have the PHR and CPP, and both had a wealth of information, numerous resources to help one study, and a clearly defined structure to the test. You knew going into the test how many total questions there are, and what percentage of those questions will go towards specific areas of study. There are even statistics regarding pass rate, how many have those certifications, etc.

I’m currently studying for the CCP offered through World at Work, and it does not have readily available the same level of information about the test that the PHR and CPP have.

Having done well on the other exams, I took the risk of opting to self study for my first test. However, the self study book felt lacking; it is obviously the same book provided to those who take the classroom or blended learning option. It felt as if the book referred to items that were not sent with it or in the “for further study” section, items which may be provided in the eLearning and or classroom levels.

I am very interested to see if the other learning options provide more information about the test such as number of questions, content breakdown, and which areas or type of information to focus on that the next test I will go for (the C1, Regulatory Environments for Compensation Programs) I will test out the eLearning option.

Luckily, my study skills proved helpful, as I passed it with 93% correct. You only need 75% to pass (provided in the material). (70% to pass the PHR and 80% to pass the CPP, for comparison.)

For anyone else searching for information on the T1: Total Rewards Management test, here is some information for you:

  • There are 90 questions.  I don’t know if there are any sample questions that won’t count, but are used to study for future test versions. I don’t know if there are multiple versions of the test.
  • The provided material tells you that you have 2 hours to complete this. It doesn’t tell you that 6 minutes are to practice using the system, and that even if you don’t take the full 6 minutes (I used two) your actual test time is 114 minutes. But don’t worry about time. If you know your data, then you won’t need the full time. I answered all 90 questions in 40 minutes.
  • Don’t worry about international data, that is more nice to have information.
  • The “test your knowledge” and end of module questions are a fair sampling of the style and level of questions asked on the test. Some of those questions were used verbatim!
  • The questions are done in order of module, and are broken down to about as many questions as the size of the module. This means there are more compensation and benefit questions than there are on career development.
  • Do pay attention to examples of things, such as what are behavioral or emotional expressions of employee engagement or of employee advancement opportunities. (Yes, there are lots of those examples in the material; yes, study and know all of them!)
  • HRCI has confirmed that each course will give 16 education credits towards recertification of the PHR. I honestly haven’t checked about recertification credit for the CPP.
  • Unlike the PHR and CPP, there is no survey after the test. Pearson Vue did send an email afterwards to survey you on the testing facility.

Image from http://www.awlp.org/

I hope this information helps others who take the T1: Total Rewards Management.