FPRA 2013 Annual Conference: Breakout 5D, Preparing for the CPRC Exam, Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC
By Taylor Newsome
CPRC is a Florida-only credential provided through the Florida Public Relations Association. It is designed to recognize professional growth and achievement for senior-level members. It is a unique, second tier certification exclusively for FPRA members.
The CPRC examination is a subjective process of using your knowledge of public relations in responding to a series of questions related to various phases of the business. Your answers will reflect your experiences with your clients and/or businesses. There are not necessarily right and wrong answers within the CPRC exam. They will demonstrate your knowledge of the overall profession.
You do not need an agency background for the test. You need to base your answers on how you would tell an employer or client to handle a situation.
A breakout session led by FPRA Vice President of Accreditation and Certification Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC, outlined the CPRC process.
REQUIREMENTS: You must be APR certified and have 10 years of professional experience. The exam has both written and oral sections.
The written exam consists of essay questions. Answers should include strategic approaches and address key elements presented in each scenario. The oral exam is a 30-minute presentation on a particular project.
On the written exam, each question has a timeline that should be paid attention to. The number of minutes allocated reflect the number of points assigned to each question. Grammar and correct sentence structure are not necessary. The response could be in bullet points and does not necessarily have to be in narrative detail, but remember to base answers on the RPIE – research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Read the questions and make sure you know exactly what they are asking for. Demonstrate that you know the strategies and audiences, social media, and other appropriate media. While it is easy to keep adding onto the answer to the question, following the time is important. To pass the examination you need a 70% or higher.
Candidates are identified by a code, not by name, to protect privacy. Two CPRC examiners will grade the exam and a third member will be available if it is necessary to settle a scoring agreement.
The oral presentation is designed to evaluate knowledge, skills and abilities and gain support for your project. It looks at your ability to present a public relations plan and gain acceptance and support from decisions makers, such as senior management, boards of directors, clients and other stakeholders.
You should dress comfortably in business attire for the oral project. You can use flip chart, PowerPoint, etc. and other media during the presentation Presentations are graded on introduction, transition, body, conclusion, delivery, effectiveness and overall impression. The presentation is made to three CPRC FPRA panelists. The oral exam is worth 35 points.
How do you prepare?
- Form a study group with fellow FPRA members
- Review case study books
- Review winning Golden Image entries online on the FPRA site.
- Send in application and test fee to the state office
- Notify accreditation chair of your intent
- The local chapter accreditation and certification chair will arrange dates, times, locations convenient to you.
- The State Office strives for a two-week turnaround for notifying candidates of their results. The oral exam may be repeated after 30 days with no charge; the written exam may be repeated for $75 fee after 30 days. FPRA wants you take the extra 30 days to study the feedback you received regarding the sections of the test that you did not pass so you can better prepare for a re-take.
Contact the State Office at 941-365-2135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact VP of Accreditation Certification
Tip: Don’t forget to mention research in all answers.
Tip: Passing CPRC members say time management is key to managing the exam and your time to complete it.
Tip: Find a study buddy to keep both of you on track to study, schedule the test, etc.
Susan Ennis, APR, CPRC, president and founder of EnSpire Communication Consultants in Orlando, Fla., is Accredited in Public Relations and a Certified Public Relations Counselor. She has more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications and business development and is actively involved in the Florida Public Relations Association as this year’s Vice President of Accreditation and Certification.