Welcome to CPHQ Tutor

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

January 18, 2014

Summary: 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?”

Etc.

I get a few questions like these every month. Sometimes they come in an e-mail. 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 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.

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Aparna Sundar June 18, 2014 at 2:32 am

If any healthcare quality professional is looking at what their study material options are in terms of passing the CPHQ exam, I would say that Dr Teh’s website (yes, ALL his articles MUST be read thoroughly including all quizzes) and 1 standardised healthcare quality book would be more than sufficient :) My passing the exam on the first attempt with the above mentioned resources is enough evidence!

Reply

Craj July 1, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Hi,

Could you post the link to the website? (Dr Teh’s)

Thanks

Reply

Andy Teh July 10, 2016 at 6:04 am
Andy Teh July 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm

In case you are unaware, Dr Aparna Sundar achieved a score of 107/125 (or about 86%) for her CPHQ exam, with only about 2 months of exam preparation. A terrific result!

Reply

heather January 7, 2017 at 5:07 am

Can I ask what type of experience she had prior to preparing and taking the exam?

Reply

Andy Teh January 7, 2017 at 11:20 am

@heather—Prior to taking the CPHQ exam, Dr Sundar, as she stated during our interview, had undergone her internship and had no formal training in quality management. Dr Sundar was a physician executive. She assumed a support role in the medical administration department of the hospital, where she was working, for less than 2 years before becoming a CPHQ. Dr Sundar passed the CPHQ exam on her first attempt. The information provided here is merely extracted from our interview with Dr Sundar; I haven’t shared any additional information. Although I knew/know a lot more about Dr Sundar’s circumstances (we still keep in touch—she never forgets my birthday!), I hope you understand I will never disclose personal or other information about her or any of our clients, both individuals and organizations (of any size). Privacy and confidentiality are paramount in our work as healthcare consultants.

Reply

Dinesh John July 20, 2014 at 2:11 am

I second that. I read one book and did the questions on CPHQ tutor and achieved a passing score of 113 on the first attempt.

Reply

rami May 11, 2016 at 8:09 pm

hello,
I am rami from KSA, I saw your comment and I would like to know whats the book your were read.
thanx

Reply

Andy Teh May 13, 2016 at 1:26 pm

@rami—We have read more books on healthcare quality than we can count, and certainly more than 90% of CPHQ candidates. More importantly, we have distilled the pertinent information and presented it in a simple and concise manner.

Reply

Brandy Robertson October 29, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I have gained knowledge since I joined the webiste. I do have a question. I do very well learning from lecutures. Does any know of any dvd lecutres that are available that are reputable to help with studying for the exam

Reply

Andy Teh October 31, 2014 at 12:23 am

@Brandy Robertson—The IHI Open School videos, such as those on the Science of Improvement, offer good value.

Reply

Anonymous November 8, 2014 at 11:37 pm

which book should i read and i need only one book ,,, which you r recommend for me to read to start studying

Reply

Andy Teh November 24, 2014 at 1:06 am

@Anonymous—As a reference text, either The Healthcare Quality Handbook or the NAHQ’s Q Solutions should be adequate. However, the modern approach to CPHQ exam preparation does NOT involve “studying” a book (only)! I suggest using a variety of resources to prepare for the CPHQ exam. In fact, most of my private students rarely open a book because (A) they genuinely don’t have the time, and (B) they don’t need to.

Reply

Sara June 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Can you pkease send me pic of the answers for the study question of janet brown book , the healthcare quality handbook , i need only the answres , have photocopy of the book but doesnt include answers , be cool and send them to my email please

Reply

Andy Teh June 23, 2015 at 4:44 am

@Sara—Phoptocopying Janet Brown’s The Healthcare Quality Handbook without the author’s explicit permission is an infringement of copyright and theft of intellectual property. We neither participate in nor condone such activities. As a CPHQ, I feel the responsibility to uphold the values and principles of the healthcare quality profession. Though we have the material you want, we will NOT promote behavior unbecoming of the profession.

Not paying for Janet’s, or anybody else’s, work is stealing, and stealing is definitely not cool.

“Life is made up of choices. There are two ways of doing things, the right way and the wrong way. Every responsible individual stands almost daily at the crossroads and must choose which way he will travel. He can take the road that leads to the heights where the good and great of the earth assemble, or he can take the road that leads to the depths where the victims of remorse and despondency go. Life calls for almost constant decisions and the decisions which we make reflect with accuracy our thinking and our tastes.”
—Delbert L. Stapley

P.S. We are not associated with Janet Brown or her company, JB Quality Solutions, though we regard and respect Janet as a colleague in the healthcare quality profession. Except in specific circumstances and for specific topics, we do not recommend the use of Janet Brown’s The Healthcare Quality Handbook for CPHQ exam preparation. Also, we do NOT recommend against the use of The Healthcare Quality Handbook for the same purpose.

Reply

Shaz October 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm

hello,
I visited your very impressive website… I suppose your teaching would be equally impressive and effective but unfortunately the course fees you have mentioned is way too much for me.. :(

The way to go scheme will end up same too i guess!!

I hope you dont have some discounted programs available for nonaffording

Reply

Andy Teh October 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

@Shaz—We recognized more than 5 years ago that the fee for our private CPHQ coaching program was going to be beyond the budget of most candidates. Therefore, we created CPHQ Tutor, which offers excellent value! Discounts on the CPHQ Tutor subscription fee are available to members of selected state healthcare associations for healthcare quality and employees of organizations with which my healthcare quality consulting firm has worked with.

Reply

Kenneth Welcome October 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Take my examination on December 19th. Hoping to pass with flying colors been studying for 2.5 weeks so far.m

Reply

kathleen schwarzkopf March 3, 2018 at 6:52 pm

how did you do?

Reply

Tonya November 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Hello everyone, I am a Registered Nurse. I have been doing quality for about 3.5 years. I was sorta placed in the position without any training. I went a BCBS CPHQ prep work shop in August, I have been studying off & on for about a month now. I plan on taking the exam in late December or early January. I welcome all comments & any advice for those who have taken the exam whether you passed or not. Thanks

Reply

kathleen schwarzkopf November 20, 2015 at 6:00 pm

how often are new quizzes added, or is it best to keep retaking the posted quizzes?

Reply

Andy Teh November 23, 2015 at 8:08 am

@kathleen schwarzkopf—New quizzes are published every 3 or 4 days. We don’t recommend you keep attempting the same ones because this is unlikely to add value to your exam preparation. You might wish to review ones you’ve previously tried at longer intervals, say every 4 weeks.

Reply

Bayani May 13, 2016 at 7:14 pm

CPHQ certification/exam is just one, right? No specific categories like ASQ.

Reply

Andy Teh May 14, 2016 at 2:44 am

@Bayani—The American Society for Quality (ASQ) offers a range of certifications. None are specific to health care. The Healthcare Quality Certification Commission (HQCC) offers only the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) certification. The later is specific to health care.

Reply

sunday May 20, 2016 at 4:59 pm

do you have a book or study guide from you.

Reply

Andy Teh May 20, 2016 at 5:20 pm

@sunday—We have written a number of books and “study guides”, which are meant for use by students enrolled in our private coaching program, in conjunction with other tools and our live instruction. They are not available to the general public.

Reply

Roxanne June 28, 2016 at 8:19 am

Hi Andy,

I am an occupational therapist who is very interested and looking to get into healthcare quality but have very little actual exposure to the field. I have asked for opportunities to get involved in QI projects at the hospital, but its been a little slow because of my pt. care responsibilities. Do you think studying and passing the CPHQ would increase opportunities for me to venture into health care quality?

Reply

Andy Teh June 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

@Roxanne—Being CPHQ certified may help because it demonstrates your commitment to quality and a level of skills and knowledge in the field. With the CPHQ credential, it will likely be easier to access opportunities to participate in improvement teams.

Reply

ubai August 4, 2016 at 6:21 am

hii ,,, Anybody know the site of CPHQ practical question paper website,,,or anybody have link ,,,kindly post here ,,it will be great help whoever going for CPHQ exam…

Reply

Andy Teh August 6, 2016 at 3:38 am
mohd.nazim January 30, 2017 at 1:40 am

Dear i am mohd nazim hospital pharmacist has more than 5 years experience and also i am out-patient pharmacy quality coordinator..i am planing to attend cphq exam,i would like to ask you,cphq certification would be better for my hospital pharmacist carrer?
and also what egilibilty criteria are required for attebd cphq exam..
thanks
nazim saudi arabia

Reply

Andy Teh January 31, 2017 at 9:25 am

@mohd.nazim—Will CPHQ certification advance your career as a hospital pharmacist? Possibly. Like all certifications, the CPHQ credential will help to get you noticed; it will lend you credibility, especially in the field of quality and patient safety. But there are other considerations, such as your ability to deliver results—the extent to which you add value to your organization, and more specifically, add value to the aspirations of the “real” decision makers within your organization, will ultimately decide whether you maximize the potential of your CPHQ certification. Not all CPHQs achieve the same level of success. Our clients (hospitals and other organizations) have found this out for themselves! :)

With respect to the eligibility requirements for the CPHQ examination, I refer you to the CPHQ 2017 Candidate Examination Handbook (Page 8) and our article “Am I Eligible to Take the CPHQ Examination?

Reply

AC September 10, 2017 at 12:34 am

for CPHQ exam… is it required to attend a lecture course prior to examination? is it part of the requirement? or I can take the exam even if I didn’t attend the lecture course? thanks!

Reply

Andy Teh September 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

@AC—You don’t need to attend any course to be eligible to take the CPHQ exam.

Reply

sumaira September 14, 2017 at 6:38 am

i will be appearing in CPHQ as international Candidate December 2017 . I want to take benefit from your site . kindly suggest how to do .

Reply

Andy Teh September 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm

@sumaira—CPHQ Tutor is a membership site. You may subscribe to any one of the plans found on the Subscription Options page.

Reply

A October 1, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Good day! I am planning to take the CPHQ this december.. and I am looking for a good reference for the exam. Does my subscrition to the CPHQ tutor will provide enough resources for the exam? and can you send me the details or the inclusion of your package before I purchase Brown’s handbook.

Thank you!

Reply

Andy Teh October 2, 2017 at 3:41 pm

@A—CPHQ Tutor is not designed to be the sole resource for those preparing for the CPHQ exam. Some people have used CPHQ Tutor exclusively (i.e. CPHQ Tutor only, no books, no workshops/seminars, nothing else) to pass the CPHQ exam. However, this is not something I’d recommend most people do! Most candidates should try and identify gaps in their knowledge and skills relative to the CPHQ exam content outline and work on closing those gaps first. The CPHQ exam is a professional exam—most questions on the exam are “Application” and “Analysis” questions (74%), not “Recall” (26%). Therefore, attempting to “study” from a reference text would be extremely inefficient, in my opinion. CPHQ Tutor aims to highlight issues emphasized on the exam and to assist test takers develop a systematic way of approaching the questions. By doing so, the vast majority of members/subscribers would have achieved a higher score on the actual CPHQ exam than if they had not subscribed—over the years, we have accumulated a large body of evidence to back this claim. Our content is published on a schedule, i.e. the longer you remain subscribed, the more content you will access. Because of the (automatic) scheduled release of content and its targeted nature (relative to the current CPHQ exam content outline; see above), we cannot tell you what topics are covered (or not covered) by your subscription here. Further, our content is dynamic, i.e. it is constantly being updated and modified according to information we receive from test takers and other sources.

Reply

Karen Kramme March 7, 2018 at 3:49 am

Do most people sign up for the exam and then pursue studying or studying first and then sign up for the exam?

Reply

Andy Teh March 7, 2018 at 2:28 pm

@Karen Kramme—I don’t know the percentages of candidates who apply for the exam first and then prepare later and of those who prepare first and apply later. I have come across both types. The more cautious/conservative candidates will decide to apply only when they believe they will be ready by the exam date, which they select when they apply. Therefore, they tend to do the following, or something similar:

  1. Determine their level of knowledge and skills relative to the CPHQ exam content outline
  2. Assess what they need to do to close the gaps
  3. Do whatever they feel is necessary
  4. Apply for the exam (and select a date by which they believe they will be ready)
  5. Continue to work on their identified areas of weakness until the time of their test.

In summary, these individuals prepare, apply, and prepare some more. This approach is probably the most common, and the one we recommend.

Of course, we have also encountered candidates who, at our first interaction, had already applied and therefore scheduled their exam. Some of them have done satisfactorily within their chosen time frame, while others have rescheduled their exam appointment (candidates are allowed to reschedule their CPHQ exam appointment once at no additional charge) presumably because they felt they needed more time to better prepare. For a small proportion of candidates, rescheduling of their exam is not an option due to their circumstances.

Reply

Aya Seif EL - Nasr March 11, 2018 at 6:52 pm

What was the highest CPHQ score achieved?

Reply

Andy Teh March 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm

@Aya Seif EL ā€“ Nasr—I don’t know the highest score on the CPHQ exam. The highest score ever achieved among CPHQ Tutor subscribers was 121/125.

Reply

kathleen schwarzkopf March 16, 2018 at 9:57 pm

I am counting down to the final 3 weeks before the exam, work full time but planning to take some days off each week to focus totally on the exam. I have signed up for March and April with this website content. I have worked in Quality for 3 yrs supporting Surgery, Anesthesia, Endoscopy, Sterile Processing, and HBCs for regulatory (The Joint Commission). My background is Radiation Oncology (Radiation Therapist for 37 yrs). I have my MHA as well. I struggle with statistics , not my strong suit. I worked as Radiation Oncology manager for 8 yrs so the leadership side of things come easy for me, as well as process improvement.
One study book I purchased had a mock test but contained many Lab and Pharmacy questions. Will the questions be that specific? Thanks so much, this content is awesome.

Reply

Andy Teh March 17, 2018 at 6:26 pm

@kathleen schwarzkopf—Most questions on the actual CPHQ exam will certainly not be related to laboratory or pharmacy processes. I’m glad the CPHQ Tutor content is adding value to your exam preparation. I wish you all the best for your test!

Reply

Marites Corpuz March 30, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Is there an easy way of recalling or that can help me better understand the different types of charts i.e run charts, pareto and so forth and what they use for. Iā€™m quite confused on those. Thanks a lot! and appreciate your help. Also, your practice questions are very helpful on my CPHQ certification exam. More power to you.

Reply

Andy Teh April 2, 2018 at 5:35 pm

@Marites Corpuz—I’m glad the practice questions are helpful in your exam preparation. Any decent textbook on quality should contain descriptions of the various charts used in quality improvement. Familiarity with the charts often comes from practice and experience.

Reply

kathleen schwarzkopf April 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Per NAHQ the CPHQ exam is revised for 2018, is the content on CPHQ tutor adjusted to address exam content changes? More precise question, is what I am studying on CPHQ Tutor still valid for 2018 exam? Thanks so much – taking the exam 4/27.

Reply

Andy Teh April 7, 2018 at 8:26 pm

@kathleen schwarzkopf—Yes, the CPHQ Tutor content has been updated to meet the latest CPHQ exam content outline and will continue to be updated as more information – mainly from persons who have taken the exam – comes to hand. The new (2018) exam content outline is not all that different from the previous one; only 21% of the items are new. CPHQ Tutor does not aim to be all-inclusive; the content focuses on key selected topics. Based on feedback from 2018 test takers, we believe the content remains relevant.

Reply

kathleen schwarzkopf April 8, 2018 at 7:06 pm

thanks :)

Reply

jackie mikle May 20, 2018 at 2:27 pm

i need to pass this CPHQ exam

Reply

Andy Teh May 24, 2018 at 8:53 am

@jackie mikle—Candidates expressing their need to pass the CPHQ exam, for whatever reason, is something we are familiar with. I’m glad CPHQ Tutor is able to help!

Reply

AD Strong June 13, 2018 at 2:08 am

You said that you don’t suggest CPHQ Tutor be the only reference material used to study, but what are some other options to complete the study regiment and successfully pass the exam?

Reply

Andy Teh June 20, 2018 at 4:42 pm

@AD Strong—CPHQ Tutor has been used as the only resource for some successful candidates. However, most candidates would benefit from a variety of resources. The type and amount of resources required to pass the CPHQ exam depends on the individual candidate. We firmly believe in a customized approach to CPHQ exam preparation; we prefer not to dispense generic advice—please read our article above. The resources, including reference materials, you select should address the gaps in knowledge and skills you’ve identified. Without any knowledge of your experience, education and training, etc., it’s impossible for us to suggest any meaningful reference material(s).

Reply

narjas alsalman February 18, 2019 at 8:29 am

hello, Iam narjis, graduated nurse with no experience , Iam interred in taking the the certification in CPHQ, but I have like 5% idea about it, and no experience in the quality management field. So, how do i start ? is it possible for me to take the exam and pass in short period of time?

Reply

Andy Teh March 4, 2019 at 10:56 am

@narjas alsalman—The CPHQ exam does not test at an entry level. Given your lack of experience in healthcare, let alone healthcare quality in a US setting, I would not recommend you take the exam at this time. Some individuals have passed the exam with little or no relevant work experience, but this is an exception rather than the norm.

Reply

neon June 3, 2019 at 9:28 pm

Hello please what will you recommend for a candidate that has upcoming exam (CPHQ) in 3 weeks

Reply

Andy Teh June 4, 2019 at 4:19 am

@neon—As stated in the article (above), I simply don’t know enough abut you and your circumstances to give you advice on how to best prepare for the CPHQ exam.

Reply

Abdul July 31, 2019 at 6:16 am

Hi, I am an international medical graduate with ECFMG-certificate but without residency training. I worked in the US system as a medical assistant. I am interested in the CPHQ, I found solving exam questions really intuitive for the most part. I never read anything about CPHQ outside of my USMLEs.

Reply

Andy Teh August 6, 2019 at 10:09 am

@Abdul—The CPHQ program is summarized in the CPHQ Candidate Exam Handbook. If you’re taking the exam within the US, you’ll want to have a look at the 2019 Domestic Candidate Examination Handbook. If you’re outside the US, you’ll want to read the 2019 International Candidate Examination Handbook. If you have more specific questions about the CPHQ exam (or the CPHQ program), you can simply post them below. I’d be pleased to answer them.

Reply

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment