Let me start by saying … I’m a terrible test taker.
I was bad in high school. I was bad in college. I’m bad now. I’m so bad that I get nervous taking those “What kind of Muppet are you?” tests you see on Facebook. (I’m Kermit … no wait, Fozzie Bear. See what I mean?) So the idea of putting myself through the APR testing experience kept me up nights.
I’m a pretty good writer, so filling out the application was a snap. Readiness Review? No sweat — I love talking about the different projects that I’m involved in through my work with Nationwide’s sports sponsorship team. However, taking the three-hour, 130+ question APR Examination gave me pause. It’s not that I didn’t know the material. It’s just when you know that your APR hinges on something you are really bad at doing, you get a little nervous.
Fortunately, I work with some amazing people who had gone through the APR process before me. They gave me an idea of what to expect, how to prepare and provided me support and encouragement throughout the entire process. They told me the Examination isn’t about memorization (OK, it’s a little memorization), but rather applying the information I had learned to a public relations campaign; very similar to what I, and most PR professionals, do on a daily basis.
When I started looking at the Examination through that lens, it completely changed my perspective. I was still apprehensive, but I had a lot more confidence as I entered the testing facility. I went through the Examination three times, just to make sure I had thought every answer through. I will say that the 30 seconds between the time I clicked “Submit” and got the Examination results back were some of the longest 30 seconds I can remember. Still, I walked out of the room a new APR and with an appreciation for all the hard work that it took for me to get to that point.
I highly encourage everyone to go after their APR. You’ll come out a better public relations professional and learn something about yourself along the way … like tests aren’t THAT bad!
For more information about Accreditation in Public Relations, visit www.praccreditation.org.
Jarrett Dunbar is the public relations lead for the Sports Sponsorship team at Nationwide. He assumed that role in July 2014 and is responsible for public relations strategy and media relations requests relating to Nationwide’s sports sponsorship efforts, including the company’s partnership with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR; Peyton Manning, the NFL and the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award; and the PGA, including the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.