CPHQ candidates now have a choice of options when getting ready for the CPHQ exam. In order to get the most valuable advice about the approach that best suits their situation, candidates should have some basic information on hand.

“How can I pass the CPHQ exam?”

“What resources should I buy to pass the CPHQ exam?”

“Can you give me advice on passing the CPHQ exam?”


I get a few questions like these every month. Sometimes they come in an email. Sometimes via the Contact page. Other times in a LinkedIn message. And other times by telephone or in person at conferences, seminars, or workshops.

Ask the Question in the Right Way

What Is the Absolute Best Way for Me to Pass the CPHQ Exam?

It’s a great question. In my role as a professional CPHQ coach, I think about this issue (a lot) to help my students achieve the best possible result as quickly and as comfortably as possible.

But this is no longer 2009. We have more options (though not many legitimate ones) for approaching CPHQ exam preparation. Gone are the days when you get online and search for a few books (or in many cases, one book) to buy to help you prepare for the CPHQ test. That’s so old school.

Anyone who gives you an answer directly, without asking you more about your circumstances, is doing you a disservice and/or trying to peddle their product without thinking whether it will help you and how.

Your strategy for taking the CPHQ exam should be based on you, not on what the marketers promise or what other people did in the past. How others prepared for their exam might or might not have been the best way for their skills, knowledge, and experience. Their methods might or might not have been the most efficient or most effective possible, regardless of the results. They might not have had the opportunity to explore more modern techniques for preparing for the CPHQ exam.

So if you’re asking someone (not just me) about the best way to become a CPHQ, stop for a second and consider the following questions:

  • What is your experience in healthcare quality? (Not only in terms of years, but also what you’ve done in that period and where.)
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses, relative to the CPHQ exam content outline? How objective is your assessment?
  • Have you attempted the CPHQ exam in the past? If so, what were your scores for the four major content categories?
  • What other credentials do you have, e.g. certifications, a master’s degree?
  • What is your preferred learning style?
  • How much resources and time can you invest in exam preparation?
  • What time frame have you given yourself?
  • When was the last time you sat a standardized professional exam? What were your results?
  • How familiar are you with the commonly-used terms and commonly-tested concepts on the CPHQ exam?

It will take some time, but asking yourself these questions and writing down the information somewhere before seeking advice will help you get the highest quality suggestions while avoiding either (A) a one-size-fits-all magic “solution” or (B) a wishy-washy answer that leaves you none the wiser.