Ace Your SHRM-CP Exam with These Proven Study Tips

Aspiring HR professionals looking to earn their SHRM-CP certification have a daunting task ahead of them. The SHRM-CP exam is notoriously difficult, with a pass rate of only around 70%. However, with the right study tips and techniques, you can increase your chances of success and ace the SHRM-CP exam on your first attempt. In this article, we’ll provide you with 15 proven study tips to help you prepare for and pass the SHRM-CP exam.

Understanding the SHRM-CP Exam

Before you start studying, it’s important to understand the structure and content of the SHRM-CP exam. The exam consists of two sections – the knowledge-based section and the situational judgment section. The knowledge-based section tests your HR knowledge, while the situational judgment section tests your ability to apply that knowledge in real-world scenarios. The exam includes 160 multiple-choice questions, and you have four hours to complete it.

Create a Study Plan

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the SHRM-CP exam is to create a study plan. This will help you stay organized and focused, and ensure that you cover all the material you need to know for the exam. Start by setting a date for your exam, and work backward to create a study schedule that fits your timeline. Make sure to set aside enough time each day for studying, and include breaks and rest days in your schedule.

Use SHRM Learning System

The SHRM Learning System is a comprehensive study guide and tool for those preparing to take the SHRM-CP exam. It includes study materials, practice tests, flashcards, and more. The SHRM Learning System is designed to be used over a period of several months, so make sure to give yourself enough time to work through all the materials.

Study with a Group

Studying with a group can be a great way to stay motivated and engaged during your SHRM-CP exam preparation. Consider forming a study group with other HR professionals in your area or connecting with other test-takers online. You can share study tips and strategies, quiz each other on key concepts, and provide support and encouragement.

Focus on your Weak Areas

It’s important to focus your study efforts on your weakest areas. Use practice tests and quizzes to identify the areas where you need the most improvement, and dedicate extra time to those topics. This will help you strengthen your overall knowledge and increase your chances of passing the exam.

Practice Time Management

Time management is crucial when taking the SHRM-CP exam. You only have 240 Minutes to answer 134 questions, so you need to pace yourself carefully. Practice taking timed quizzes and tests to get a sense of how quickly you need to move through the questions.

Take Practice Tests

Practice tests are a great way to prepare for the SHRM-CP exam. They help you identify areas where you need improvement, and they give you a sense of what to expect on the actual exam. Take as many practice tests as you can find, and review your answers carefully to identify areas where you need to improve.

Read the SHRM BoCK

The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (BoCK) is the foundation of the SHRM-CP exam. It outlines the essential knowledge and skills that HR professionals need to succeed in their careers. Make sure to read and understand the SHRM BoCK thoroughly, and use it as a reference as you study for the exam.

Use Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to memorize key terms and definitions. Make flashcards for important HR concepts and review them regularly. This will help you remember important information on exam day.

Stay Healthy

Studying for the SHRM-CP exam can be stressful, but it’s important to take care of yourself during the process. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and take breaks when you need them. Staying healthy will help you stay focused and motivated.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial when preparing for the SHRM-CP exam. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. This will help you feel rested and alert on exam day.

Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a simple technique that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. Repeat this technique whenever you feel stressed or anxious.

Take Breaks

Taking breaks is important for staying focused and motivated during your SHRM-CP exam preparation. Take short breaks every hour or so to stretch, walk around, or do something relaxing. This will help you avoid burnout and stay energized.

Learn from Your Mistakes

It’s normal to make mistakes when preparing for the SHRM-CP exam. Use your mistakes as learning opportunities, and focus on improving your weak areas. Review your practice test answers carefully, and use them to identify areas where you need more study.

Believe in Yourself

Believing in yourself is key to success on the SHRM-CP exam. Stay positive and confident, and remind yourself of all the hard work you’ve put in to prepare. Visualize yourself passing the exam, and focus on your strengths and abilities.


Preparing for the SHRM-CP exam can be challenging, but with these proven study tips, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to stay organized, focus on your weak areas, and take care of yourself during the process. With hard work and dedication, you can ace the SHRM-CP exam on your first attempt.