HRCI exams include a variety of item types with various difficulty levels. Candidates must respond to all parts of an item correctly to receive credit for the item. No partial credit is awarded. To ensure items and exam forms are fair, all items are pretested (but not scored) in a live testing environment to make sure they meet HRCI's quality standards. The passing score a candidate must achieve takes into consideration the various difficulty levels on the exam form.
There are 2 main categories of item types, traditional multiple choice and alternative item types:
Exam items may be phrased in the form of a question, as a statement or as an open-ended sentence.
In all cases you should select the best correct response. In this case, best means that a panel of HR subject matter experts would agree to this judgment. Some answer choices are distractors, which are written to look correct, but are not the best answer. This is done to assess your ability to make the right decision based on an actual workplace situation.
All questions are classified based on one of the following cognitive levels:
Only our practice-based exams - the PHR, SPHR, GPHR PHRca, PHRi, and SPHRi - include application and synthesis-level exam items.
The performance data of every exam item, as well as every exam form, is carefully evaluated based on several statistical measures which are industry standard. Items that do not meet HRCI's rigorous standards are revised and pre-tested again or are discounted for that exam. This continuous review of items ensures that every exam is valid and reliable.