Gianni Evangelisti Authored By: Gianni Evangelisti
SHRM Practice Test

Looking to get a job in the Human Resources field and aren’t sure how to get yourself in the door for HR management? Taking the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Personnel exam is a great first step. To help you prepare, we recommend taking a SHRM practice test.

Throughout this article, we will explain what you can expect to see on the SHRM CP exam, discuss why a SHRM CP practice test is so important, and give you SHRM CP practice questions to study to make you feel prepared for this exam.

Summary: Use the free SHRM practice questions below to help you prepare for your upcoming SHRM CP exam.

Just like any other practice test, free SHRM practice questions help you know what to expect on the SHRM exam and allow you to discover what you need to study most. 

Our experts have gathered some PDF versions of SHRM practice tests for you to use.

Resource Provider
SHRM Exam 1 McGraw Hill
SHRM Exam 2 ProcessExam

Other online SHRM CP resources can help you as well, including the ones that our experts have gathered into the list below.

Resource Provider
SHRM CP Questions 1 Quizlet
SHRM CP Questions 2 Quizlet
SHRM CP Questions 3 Quizlet
SHRM CP Questions 4 Quizlet

The SHRM exam is for people who are in or want to be in the Human Resource field and move on to management. You do not have to already hold an HR job to be able to take it. However, having experience in the HR field will only help you on the SHRM exam.

This exam is a good way to move up in HR and begin earning more. HR management is a higher-level job that will likely increase your income. Plus, it proves to your bosses that you are committed to the company and improving their HR efforts.

There are two main types of SHRM test questions. You will see multiple-choice questions that are either knowledge-based questions or situation-based questions. Therefore having experience in HR can help you pass the SHRM certification test.

Knowledge-Based Questions

The first thing you need to know about the knowledge-based section is that there are two categories that the topics fit into. In the first category, you will see questions about HR-specific knowledge items (KIs). There are 14 HR-related knowledge items:

  • Administrative Responsibilities
  • Career Planning
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Compliance
  • Employee Engagement
  • Health and Safety
  • Human Resource Planning
  • Industrial Relations
  • Information Sharing
  • Learning and Development
  • Performance Management
  • Personal Well-Being
  • Policy Formulation
  • Recruitment
  • Rewards and Recognitions

So, in the first category of the knowledge-based questions, you will see any manner of questions related to these topics. 

The second category is fundamental knowledge items (FKIs), and there are 8 behavioral competencies this section will cover:

  • Business Acumen
  • Communication
  • Consultation
  • Critical Evaluation
  • Ethical Practice
  • Global and Cultural Effectiveness
  • Leadership and Navigation
  • Relationship Management

If you aren’t sure about any of these topics listed above, you should hold off on taking the SHRM exam as these are the main subject areas covered in a large portion of the questions.

Situation-Based Questions

The second type of question that you will see on the exam is situational-judgment items (SJIs). These questions may seem more difficult than the knowledge-based ones since they are based on your judgment and decision-making rather than memoizable information.

How this section works is that you are given a work-related situation (for example, two co-workers have a disagreement outside of work that starts to impact their relationship inside of the workplace), and you have to decide how to best handle the situation from answers provided for you.

Another quirk of this section that may make it more difficult than the knowledge-based section is that you will only receive credit for choosing the best possible way to resolve the situation. There may be more than one “correct” answer, but you are required to choose the best.

Field-Test Questions

On every SHRM exam, there are 24 field-related questions that will not count against the score of the test taker. These questions only exist to allow the test makers to know how effective the questions are and if some need to be cycled out in the next exam period.

However, these questions are mixed in with the other two sections, so you will not know which questions are field-test questions while taking the exam. It is important that you answer each question to the best of your abilities to do well on this exam.

There are 134 questions on the SHRM-CP exam including the 24 field-test questions. So, you will only be scored on around 110 of the questions. Approximately 50% of the exam will be knowledge-based questions and about 50% are situational-based questions. 

This means around 55 of the questions you encounter on the exam will be knowledge-based questions while 55 of them will be situational-based.

You are given four hours to complete all 134 questions, so you have almost one and a half minutes to answer every question on the exam. That gives you plenty of time to think about your answer and read scenarios before choosing the correct one.

Just like any test the SHRM test can be difficult. Since 50% of the exam isn’t based on knowledge that you can study for, some might argue that it is quite difficult. However, with proper preparation, you should be able to pass with ease.

As stated above, the SHRM-CP test can be difficult because of the situation-based questions. With a pass rate between 67-70% (source), you may think that you don’t need to study. We recommend it, as many of the test-takers who pass have studied at least a little before the exam.

The best way to practice for the SHRM exam is to take a SHRM practice test. It exposes you to the questions on the exam to make you a faster test taker and allows you to see various SHRM test questions you will need to know.

You can also find online study guides that will show you what the most relevant information that you need to study. You may find flashcards online that also help you review topics that you may not have studied in a while. We have listed a few of our favorite flashcards above.

To practice for the SHRM exam, the best thing you can do is to find information. Whether that is in study guides, prep courses, practice tests, or flashcards, find a way to study and prepare for this exam.

How long should you study for the SHRM-CP exam?

You need to feel comfortable with the fine details of the sections listed above in this article. Some people may be able to do that with only a few hours of studying while others may need many months of studying to reach that point. People who scored high on the SHRM spent 80 to 120 hours studying.

Is getting SHRM certified worth it?

Yes, getting SHRM certified is worth it. While proving your dedication to the company you work for, getting SHRM certified also typically comes with a pay increase since you are now more certified and have proven you have superior knowledge.

What if I fail my SHRM exam?

It isn’t the end of the world if you do not pass the SHRM exam the first time you take it. The SHRM handbook does not designate a limit to the number of times the SHRM exam can be taken, so study harder and take it again. Perhaps failing once will help you understand what you need to study most.

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