PHR Test Score Information

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Receiving Your Score for the PHR Certification Exam

As soon as you complete a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification exam at a Pearson VUE testing center, you will get to see your scores. Don't make any decisions about what do to with those scores, however, until the official report is sent out. You should receive that within 24-48 hours of completing the exam, and you'll get an email notification that it's ready.

For most PHR certification exams, possible scores range from 100-700, with 500 being the minimum passing score.

Understanding Your Score

While there may be some variance depending on the type of PHR exam you take, most PHR exams contain 150 scored questions, as well as 25 pre-test questions that are not scored. These questions are actually being field-tested for future exams, so while they are secretly mixed in among the other questions, they won't actually impact your score. Of the 175 total questions you'll answer, most are likely to be traditional four-option multiple-choice questions, but there could be some other formats among these questions as well.

So, how does the test calculate your score? It's not as simple as saying that each question is worth the same number of points, so you must answer X number of questions correctly. The exam is scored using a modified Angoff method, which means that the questions (and entire exam) are adjusted for difficulty. The same number of correct/incorrect answers may earn a different score on different exams if the questions on those exams are of varied difficulties.

This means that the score is scaled, but it's not based on a curve, so your score is not compared to other candidates in your exam group. It's based on your raw score, adjusted to account for the difficulty of the questions in your exam.

Retaking a PHR Exam

If a candidate's score is 499 or below, the official report will indicate that the candidate has failed to pass the exam. In that case, the candidate will want to schedule an exam retake. What this looks like may differ slightly based on the candidate's situation:

  • If the candidate failed the exam but purchased the optional Second Chance Insurance ($250): Candidate can schedule a new exam of the same type for no additional cost. The new exam must be scheduled 90-120 days from the date of the original exam.
  • If the candidate failed the exam but did not purchase Second Chance Insurance ahead of time: Candidate can schedule a new exam 90-120 days from the date of the original exam but must reapply and pay all application and exam fees again.
  • If the candidate canceled the exam, was a no show, withdrew, refused the NDA, or failed and wants to change the exam type: Candidate can reapply immediately but must pay all application and exam fees. The new exam must be within 120 days of the original exam.

In addition to the scoring information, the official report will also include a breakdown of the exam by topic areas. This breakdown will show the candidate how they performed on each subject. This is meant to help the candidate focus their studying for their next exam.

Studying for the PHR Exam

Worried about the PHR exam? The best way to get that passing score of 500 is to study, and we've got some resources to help with that. A great place to start is the PHR Information Guide, which has access to articles, lessons, and practice tests to help with PHR exam preparation. You might also check out the PHR Certification Exam Study Guide- Professional in Human Resources, with 20 chapters of lessons, quizzes, and practice exams on the information you'll need to know to pass the exam.

How to Pass the PHR Certification Exam

If you're a human resources professional seeking the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification, or if you are looking to maintain your PHR certification, you can find resources to help you pass the exam below.

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