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Human Resource Management DSST
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Free Human Resource Management DSST Study Guide

Name of Exam: Human Resource Management DSST

Number of Questions: Around 100 (varies)

Time Limit: 120 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 46

Cost: $80 + Sitting Fee (Usually no more than $20) at your testing site. Military can take DSSTs for free with Tuition Assistance. Check with your Educational Officer!

Difficulty 1-5 : 3
(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)

Exam Description:

The exam tests your knowledge on the basics of Human Resource Management. The material corresponds to what a business degree student would normally learn in a one-semester HRM college course. Specific topics such as Labor Relations, Training, Staffing, Performance Appraisals, and Employment Law are all covered.

Personal Thoughts:

The Human Resource Management DSST isn't a particularly hard exam if you've ever worked in a corporate environment. The new hire orientation that most employees must go through covers much of the material on this exam, and serves as a good introduction.

If you've ever been in any type of management position, then you'll also be familiar with quite a few of the topics already. What trips most people up is the Employment Law section, as well as the section on Organized Labor (Unions). If you've never had dealings with either subject, then that's what you'll need to devote some extra time to. Don't neglect the actual HRM overview section either. I've included some free resources below that provides a brief look at how HR has evolved over the years.

My test center proctor recommended taking the two management exams first, which are the Principles of Management CLEP and the Principles of Supervision DSST, and I agree. First of all, they're easier than the HRM exam, and provides a nice boost to your confidence level. Secondly, they cove some of the same material as the Human Resource Management DSST, and as such will help you prepare.

Exam breakdown:

Make sure you check out the Official Fact Sheet for this exam.

The Human Resource Management DSST is broken down as follows:

15% Employment Law
15% Compensation Issues
15% Staffing
11% Training and Development
10% Performance Appraisals
06% Human Resource Planning
06% Labor Relations
05% Health and Safety
05% Employee Rights / Discipline
04% Overview of the HRM Field
04% Current Issues and Trends
04% International HRM

Areas of Study

I'm still experimenting with the most effective way of doing this for each exam, so here's something new.

I'm going to list some specific topics that you'll need to study. These are from my own experience with the exam as well as what others have contributed. I'd also suggest downloading a copy of Snazzlefrag's study guide. After that, I'll list some resources that covers the main areas listed above.

Alright, here we go. Though there are different versions of the Human Resource Management DSST, you'll most likely see the following on your exam:

  • 4/5 rule
  • Job Fairs
  • Wagner Act
  • Job Evaluation
  • Job Speculation
  • Benchmarking
  • Trait Method
  • At-Will Employment
  • Benefits
  • Landrum Griffin Act
  • Arbitrators
  • evaluation methods
  • Civil Rights Act
  • Two-Factor Theory of Motivation
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Act
  • Contingent Workforce
  • Delphi technique
  • Job Analysis
  • OSHA
  • Job Description
  • Peter Principle
  • KSAO
  • Statistical Approach
  • Training methods
  • Railway Act
  • Mediators
  • McClelland's Needs Theory
  • NLRB
  • Consumer Price Index
  • Unions
  • Critical Incident Method

This is not a comprehensive list of topics! I highly recommend (as always) signing up for InstantCert and running through their entire flashcard series as well as seeing the Specific Feedback section for this exam. They've had years to accumulate their information, and it shows.

Employment Law
(15% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Employment Law Listing - It's funny where you find some of the best study material. This is a great listing of the different Employment Laws, Policies, and Acts.

Some of this won't apply to what you'll see on the Human Resource Management DSST as it was written for a charter school, but much of it does. I'd read all of pages 1 through 13. Even the portion that deals with appraisals, disputes, and terminations will give you valuable HR knowledge that you may be tested on.

OSHA and Workplace Safety - Go through this page and hit the highlights of the 1970 OSH Act.

Union Law - I'd read the entire article, but this portion deals with just the Union Laws such as NLRA and the Taft-Hartley Labor Act.

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act - Goes into more detail on WARN

Compensation Issues
(15% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Compensation - Just outstanding. Know this entire page.

How Stuff Works - Benefit overview - An interesting read on the subject. Meant for owners looking for solutions, but has a lot of information stuffed into a very concise article. I'd read the entire article.

Compensation and Benefits - A decent overview, but not spectacular. It's not a bad resource, so give the entire thing at least one read-through. Take what you need for the Human Resource Management DSST and dump the rest.

Fair Labor Standards Act - A decent powerpoint overview of how the FLSA works, and who is required to follow it.

(15% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Personnel Selection - Go through each of the hyperlinks. A great resource.

Staffing Management - Just read the entire page. It's full of topics that you'll see under this section of the Human Resource Management DSST.

Interview Questions - An exhaustive list of what you can and can't ask.

Federal Laws preventing job discrimination - Pretty self-explanatory.

Training and Development
(11% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Terms and definitions - Some are common sense, but I'd know them all.

Training Trends - Just be familiar with the different types and know the acronyms.

Formal/Informal - Systematic Training - Read the entire page. Know the difference between the types of training methodologies.

Learning Loops - Quick and Easy, just know the differences. I had one or two questions on this.

New Employee Orientation - Just outlines the benefits and how it should be accomplished. Do a quick read through and you should be fine.

Performance Appraisals
(10% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Motivational theories - You could argue that this belongs under compensation, but I'd argue that I already have enough links under that category. ;) Be able to remember all of the theories listed here.

Performance Appraisals - Follow the hyperlinks for the different methods.

Performance Appraisals Part Deux - It's a quick read, but informative.

Human Resource Planning
(6% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Job Analysis - Just know this one. Try and keep the different definitions straight (Job Definition, Job Analysis, etc)

Job Design - I'm not 100 percent happy with this definition, but it will serve.

Labor Relations
(6% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Labor Unions in the US - Read up on the legal acts and laws that have been passed. Know what government agencies are responsible for union issues.

Collective Bargaining - You don't have to be an expert in it, but understand what it is and how it's used.

Health and Safety
(5% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

History of Workplace Safety in the US - Start at the top and keep on reading. Wikipedia is great for this type of subject.

Whistle blower - Falls more under the Employment Law topic, but goes hand in hand with the OSH Act for reporting unsafe working conditions. Understand what the term "Whistle blower" means.

OSH Act, OSHA and NIOSH - I'd read the entire wikipedia entry. - Another Health and Safety Resource

Employee Rights / Discipline
(5% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Workplace Retaliation - This section isn't a huge portion of the Human Resource Management DSST, and is mostly common sense. Know the legal justifications.

Discrimination - Read up on the Affirmative Action, Harassment at Work, Equal Pay, etc.

At-Will Employment - Know what it is, as well as it's implication on Terminations

Overview of the HRM Field
(4% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

History of HR - A pretty good article about the evolution of HR.

Current Issues and Trends
(4% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Human Resource Information System - What it is, what it does, and why.

Workplace Diversity - You'll probably be asked about this at elast once on the Human Resource Management DSST. I'd therefore read this entire article.

International HRM
(4% of the Human Resource Management DSST)

Outsourcing - Pros and Cons

The Challenges of International Growth and HR - An extremely interesting read on HP's globalization and how they dealt with international HR issues.

Recommended bargain-priced study resources

Always check your library first! You may be able to find some of these for free. You don't have to buy the officially recommended resources all the time. If you're the type of person that prefers to study from a textbook source however, then please see below.

DSST Personnel/Human Resource Management (DANTES series) (Dantes Series : No. 48) - I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy of this particular resource, but others have said it worked great for them. Anybody that does use this, please let me know via the User Submission Area or the Contact Us form. I'd like to get some validation for leaving it up here.

Managing Human Resources - The DSST recommended textbook, that will take your breath away on price. I looked for an earlier version of this with no luck, and even the used copies are going for quite a bit of money. Personally.. If you're going to lay down this type of money... please, just subscribe to InstantCert and use the flashcards and Specific Exam thread. Plenty of people have passed by using just those.

Human Resources Kit for Dummies - For someone who has no management and no HR experience. Do not get this if you are at all familiar with HR, because it probably won't do you any good. Most libraries will have this, so swing by and pick up a copy if you just can't resist. All that being said, if you are a complete beginner or have no workplace experience, then I'd pick this up just to get familiar with the terminology.

InstantCert Academy Human Resource Management Specific Exam Feedback - Covers both the Human Resource Management DSST and the HRM ECE. There's so much overlap between the two that all of the information is valuable. Be sure to check out the InstantCert Flashcards for the Human Resource Management DSST as well.

If you don't know what InstantCert is, then click here for the scoop as well as a discount code: **InstantCert Academy**

You'll find an InstantCert link for every exam here if that gives you an idea of the amount of information they have available. It's an outstanding resource.

Closing Thoughts

Most of the time I feel pretty good about people's chances of passing an exam by primarily using the free material study material. The Human Resource Management DSST though is one I'd ask you to be cautious of. For starters, HR tends to use it's own brand of terminology. Secondly, there are way too many scenario based questions on the exam for me to include all of the possible subjects here. There are over 300 flashcards on IC alone, which should give you an idea of how many possible questions and scenarios you can get hit with.

I'd seriously consider seeing if one of the recommended DSST textbooks are at your local library, or picking them up from Amazon. If there was a better, cheaper alternative to IC for this exam I'd be all for it, but I can't think of one. It's what I used as my primary resource to pass this one. If anyone knows of any other resources, please let me know via the User Submission Area. I'm all about giving people choices.

Best of luck!

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