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PHR Practice Test

If you are someone who has been in the human resources field for a while and is looking for a higher-level job, you may be asked to get a professional in human resources (PHR) certification. You can get this by taking a PHR exam.

Just like any test you have ever taken in your life, the PHR certification test may cause you some anxiety before taking it. The best way to prepare yourself for this exam is to utilize a PHR practice test to understand what the test will look like.

Summary: Use the free PHR practice tests below to prepare for your upcoming exam.

PHR Practice Test

The best kind of PHR practice test is one that has a wide range of questions and detailed answers. Finding one that has appropriate information can be difficult though. Luckily, our team has collected a list of free-to-use practice tools!

PHR/SPHR Certification Guide (Questions on Page 23)Sybex
PHR Practice 1 (Flashcard Format)Quizlet
PHR Practice 2 (Flashcard Format)Quizlet
PHR Practice 3 (Flashcard Format)Quizlet
PHR Practice 4 (Flashcard Format)Quizlet

PHR Sample Questions

Since getting online to study may not be something you are able to do right this instant, we have rounded up some PHR exam questions that you can look over.

These are great examples of what you can expect to see on the PHR exam.

  1. Which of the following is NOT an appropriate reason for an HR audit?
    1. To review record retention and documentation
    2. To terminate unsatisfactory employees
    3. To evaluate processes and policies
    4. To check that the organization is meeting legal requirements

(answer is B)

  1. Why should a company refrain from quoting a salary per year to a new employee in an offer letter?
    1. The employee may be eligible for a salary raise after a given period of time
    2. The employee will be paid by the hour as an exempt employee
    3. The new employee may interpret the offer letter as an implied contract
    4. The employee will be paid on a pay-period basis not yearly

(answer is C)

  1. When an employee is terminated, which of the following would likely be cause for dispute from the former employee?
    1. Activity within a union
    2. Closure of the workplace
    3. Diminished need for work/employees
    4. Restructuring of the business

(answer is A)

What is the PHR Certification?

A PHR certificate just further proves that you are a professional in the human resources field. By gaining certification with PHR, you prove to a current or future employer that you have both operational and technical knowledge of HR management, which includes U.S. HR laws and regulations.

If you are part of your organization’s HR personnel that has been in charge of program implementation and already have tactical and logistical orientation, getting your PHR certificate tells your management team that you may be ready to move into a leadership role.

What is on the PHR Exam?

When it comes to the PHR exam, the first thing you should know is that there are 150 mostly multiple-choice questions and 25 pretest questions that you are asked to answer in 3 hours. Meaning you have around one minute per question.

You also should know that your required experience to take the exam is dependent on your level of education. The table below breaks down your degree with years of experience.

DegreeYears of Experience
Master’s Degree1 year
Bachelor’s Degree2 years
High School Diploma4 years

The last thing you need to know about the PHR exam is that the PHR exam questions are broken into five main functional areas/topics. They are broken down as follows:

  • Employee and labor relations (39%)
  • Business management (20%)
  • Talent planning and acquisition (16%)
  • Total rewards (15%)
  • Learning and development (10%)

Employee and Labor Relations

The reason why this section makes up most of the PHR test questions is that it has everything to do with employees and the HR department’s interaction with them from the start of the hiring process to the end of their time with an organization.

This includes supporting them through the onboarding process, being an advocate and informant for the perks of the job while they are employed, and helping them have a successful exit process and benefits if they retire or decide to seek employment elsewhere.

On top of being there for your current employees, this also includes making the workplace inclusive and knowing how to support a diverse workplace through laws and regulations.

Business Management

Another important section of the exam is everything related to the best business practices. This includes getting in with higher-ups and stakeholders to advise them on decision-making to help limit risks (such as lawsuits).

The other aspect of this is knowing the best practices to keep your workplace organized and learning how to reinforce the business’s core values and expectations. This could be to current or future employees, to stakeholders, or even in progress reports.

Talent Planning and Acquisitions

This section breaks the hiring process down a lot more. Everything to do with legal hiring practices (such as Title VII), developing and implementing acquisitions techniques (such as referrals from current employees), and the lifecycle of bringing new hires on (from interviews to negotiation terms).

Total Rewards

As any HR person knows, most companies offer benefits to employees who have decided to work for them. A PHR test question in this section could be about explaining and promoting benefits to employees (including non-cash ones) and implementing new benefit programs.

One area that you may not consider part of benefits or rewards but is included in this section is managing compensation-related information and solving payroll issues for employees.

Learning and Development

The final section covered on the PHR test covers professional development. This ranges from researching your current growth and development of employees and implementing ways for positions to grow to contribute to conversations with management to provide relevant information.

How To Study for the PHR Exam

The best thing you can do to help yourself study for the PHR exam is to take practice tests online. You can usually find a free PHR practice test, so it is the least expensive form of studying with the most for you to gain.

You can become a more efficient studier by discovering what you need to study most and by seeing how each section breaks down. Practice tests also make you quicker test takers by exposing you to question formats that you will likely see on the exam.

Another way to study is to download study guides. This is another free option for those of you on a budget, but it typically doesn’t help as much as taking a practice test. However, a good study guide may provide you with information to make flashcards or have a practice test as a part of the guide.

Speaking of flashcards, you can make some to use to study for the PHR exam, or you can find some pre-made ones online that can review important PHR topics.

The final way that you can study is by joining a PHR prep course. Prep courses are usually run by professionals who know the most relevant information. They can review important practices and topics with you, provide study tools, and give you access to other methods of study.


Your PHR exam score will likely be returned 24 to 48 hours after taking the exam. It is scored on a scale of 100 to 700, and the minimum score to pass the PHR exam is 500.

There are 175 questions on the PHR exam. Around 150 mostly multiple-choice questions are scored, and there are 25 pretest questions that you are asked to answer in 3 hours (which provides about a minute per question).

You are tested on everything about being a professional in human resources including employee and labor relations, business management, talent planning and acquisitions, benefits and rewards, and learning and development.

Gianni Evangelisti
Gianni has been working in the test prep industry for 6+ years. Gianni has created test prep materials across multiple different exam categories.