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CPHQ Candidates: Measuring Success and Performance

Success means different things to different people.

In terms of your career, you might think that you have achieved success if you have a senior position within the organization, a high-paying job, or perhaps made a positive impact to the lives of many people. In many cases, the gauge for success is either assumed or considered in a cursory way. Success should always be compared against a reference point, i.e. a goal.

How do you measure success on the CPHQ exam? What would you have to achieve to say that you were successful on your exam? Should all persons who have passed the exam be considered as having performed equally well?

Most people who plan on taking the CPHQ exam say that they simply hope to pass. However, in most cases, this is not their true goal. It is merely a short-term objective because their goal is really something bigger and more meaningful, e.g. a job promotion, being able to find employment in North America, or keeping a job they love but which is at risk if they are remain uncertified.

So, in summary, for most candidates, the short term objective/goal is to pass the CPHQ exam. Fair enough.

When people hire me to help them with their exam preparation, and more specifically, to help them pass the exam, my short term objective/goal should be aligned with the customer’s. In other words, I too should aim to help my students pass. And I do!

Nevertheless, my measurement of performance on the CPHQ exam has gradually evolved over the last few years of coaching.

In my CPHQ training and coaching programs, I meet a wide variety of individuals. I am almost always privy to their unique set of circumstances. Every individual preparing for the exam has his or her own story, challenges, and aspirations.

As I encounter increasingly more candidates, I expand my skills in communicating concepts in healthcare quality management, making abstract things more concrete and real. I also gain deeper insight into the seemingly overwhelming odds that some candidates face.

The perfect scenario in CPHQ exam preparation includes:

  • Ample and relevant experience in healthcare and, in particular, healthcare quality;
  • English as the first language;
  • Working knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of the US healthcare system; and
  • Supportive work and home environment.

For many candidates, reality is far from the ideal. They may have only recently graduated from nursing or medical school and therefore have limited work experience in healthcare or any other industry. For a number of my students, their language of operation is not English, which means that they tend to do two translations: English to their native language, process the information, and then translate the output back to English. Some have never set foot in America, let alone worked in a US hospital or managed care organization—they’re taking the exam so that they may be certified, and therefore (maybe) get the opportunity to work in such an institution. Many candidates have to juggle work and domestic responsibilities, in addition to preparing for the exam.

Furthermore, for a subset of my students, they had previously attempted the exam (but were unsuccessful) before engaging my services. We sometimes also have to work on the psychological effects of having failed the exam in the past before we can move forward.

In short, some CPHQ candidates have a far more challenging task getting themselves ready for the exam than others.

Hence, the refinement in the way I measure performance on the exam. These days, when I assess how well someone has done on the exam, I take the following things into account:

  • The overall score;
  • Score for each of the four major content categories; and
  • Their circumstances, especially the challenges (relevant to the exam) they faced.

Therefore, someone who has much going against them and yet scrapes through with a score of, say, 93 for the exam, has fared better than someone who achieved a similar or slightly higher score but without similar disadvantages. At least in my book, the first candidate performed better than the second even though the latter might have got a higher score. My evaluation of exam performance is thus based not only on absolute scores but also on the individual’s set of circumstances and expectations therefrom. My students’ performance on the exam is a gauge of my performance in getting them ready for it.

The overall pass rate for the CPHQ exam is around 67%, but that includes multiple attempts, especially among US-based candidates. My guesstimate of the pass rate among first-timers is about 60% for US-based candidates and around 25% for international candidates. Bearing these statistics in mind, for those who overcome overwhelming odds to pass the CPHQ exam, any score is a great achievement.

Need help preparing for the CPHQ exam? The Teh & Associates private CPHQ coaching program is designed to assist individuals succeed in the exam, especially those who have had, or expect to have, difficulty passing the CPHQ exam. Contact [email protected] for details.

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