Through tantrums, painters and taxi fares, I managed to study and pass the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations.
Earning my APR has always been on my career bucket list since I began practicing public relations nine years ago. Fast forward to 2013. A teething one-year-old, a needy new house and traveling for work all demanded my attention. In other words, my life was anything but calm and conducive to studying.
So like any respectable person with a type A personality, I kicked the process into overdrive. I promised my husband I would pass the Examination within six months. There was no time to spare.
Set the Course
I set target dates for getting my application approved, being Advanced from the Readiness Review and setting a date for the Examination. I mapped out when I would study.
My study guide became my steady lunch date and local study sessions became my mommy nights out. I gave up my usual best-sellers and gossip magazines for the “Effective Public Relations” book on plane rides and out-of-town work trips. I joined the online study course or flipped through flash cards daily.
Frankly, I was obsessed with passing the Examination on the first try. There was no time in my life to study twice.
Tips and Insights
I’d always heard the saying, “Work smarter, not harder.” I put this into practice.
I’m fortunate to have a great group of public relations mentors whose praise went a long way in boosting my confidence.
I tweaked past award entries for the Readiness Review. A local Chapter mentor said to study the processes. I spent time looking at case studies and dissecting what step to take first, what step to take second and so on in a situation.
I learned if the question is not about ethics, it is probably RPIE or how public relations relates to management. I created acronyms for areas such as ethics and communication theories. And, thank goodness for Google. I scoured the Internet for case studies. Google was also particularly good for putting some of the laws and acts into layman’s terms.
After weeks of studying, I decided to take the Examination the first Saturday in June.
Twas the night before the Examination …
My husband agreed to put my daughter to bed while I went over my notes one last time. The plan backfired when my daughter climbed out of her crib. Milestones, right? Getting a good night’s rest before the Examination wasn’t in the stars for me, but I highly recommend doing so. Get a hotel room if needed. Caffeine and a very large dose of faith (along with studying!) was my life saver.
The Examination was long and challenging, but I learned a lot from the questions alone. Even the ones where I wasn’t sure I knew the right answer(s). I admit that after the Examination, I did go back and look at my books and study guide to find the answers to some of those questions. Some I got right and others I didn’t.
Take it from me. There is never a “right” time or even a “better” time to take the Examination. Set out a course of study, use all of your resources and stick to it. The most important advice I can give you is to believe in yourself. Studying and your experiences will help you make the right decision. You’ll pass the Examination.
Best of luck! Email me at lhobeck[AT]visitsarasota.org.
Lynn Hobeck Bates, APR is the cultural and international tourism sales manager at Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau.