Preparation Course OR Self-Study?
One of the first big decisions (following the obviously pivotal decision to take the HR certification exam in the first place) is the question of whether to join a study group or to prepare alone. Personally, I prefer to move at my own pace, spending more time on the areas where I am weak (benefits & unions), and less time on the areas that I already know pretty well (employment law & organizational theory). Also, by studying alone I avoid the tangents inevitable in group study; someone always takes the discussion off topic.
Group-study has its advantages, too. For me, the biggest benefits would be the mutual support (you know, the therapeutic aspect) and the structured schedule.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. For many people, the decision comes down to time and/or money, but there are other things to consider. Here’s some of the benefits of each:
Benefits of group-study:
- The instructor’s experience in preparing others for the HRCI exams.
- The instructor’s knowledge or expertise that may exceed your own.
- Other group members may have helpful knowledge or experience.
- Group members can provide support and encouragement to each other.
- An externally-imposed study schedule might help keep you on track.
Benefits of self-study:
- Lower cost (unless it’s a free study group and materials are shared).
- Self-imposed study schedule to fit your time and situation.
- The ability to focus on weaker areas and those areas where you have less experience.
- No travel time required so you can study instead.