Young PR Professionals Reach New Heights: Tips on Taking the Certificate Examination

As a marketing major and graduate, my pursuit of the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations was an enriching and rewarding experience, which provided me with a deep foundation in methodical thinking and an understanding of strategic communications. This knowledge has enhanced my ability to interact and engage others through meaningful and efficient messaging.

More than ever, inundated with information at our fingertips, the need for strong and effective communication between companies and consumers, leaders and citizens, and associates and peers is more apparent than ever before. Public Relations is the art of choosing the most appropriate words to convey information through a plethora of distribution channels. A Public Relations professional may be tasked to condense verbiage to its simplest, shortest form possible (yes, we are aware of the character limitations within social media platforms); or, to provide detailed information to the public for handling a crisis. Every day, Public Relations professionals are challenged with the responsibility of providing an accurate, meaningful, and valuable message to an intended audience.

The Certificate in Principle of Public Relations provides new professionals entering the workforce with the necessary skills to understand and execute communication models, business literacy, social ethics, and law. As a young communications professional, I’ve  leveraged these skills to build my confidence with public speaking as well as to frame my position on how to deliver a message.

If you are interested in pursuing the Certificate, below are some helpful tips:

  • Practice evaluating case studies. Simple memorization of the terms will not help. You must know how and why a process applies to a situation.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to prepare – do not cram on the night before the exam! Last minute reading and cramming can create eye strain, making it harder to focus. On the day of the exam, eat a good breakfast and relax.
  • To avoid rush hour traffic, be sure to schedule the exam during off peak hours. In addition, test times may be limited, so be mindful to register in advance.
  • Take/use any scrap paper given to record during the exam. This is a great way to manually track the “unsure” answers you’d like to revisit if there is time left, rather than depending on the computer marking feature.
  • Most importantly: Lady Luck favors those who try! With enough focus and preparation, you can achieve anything! Good luck!

Thi Swander is a Marketing Operations Coordinator at New Penn Financial, LLC. She is currently pursuing an MBA at Montclair State University and is the first New Jersey City University student to earn the Certificate in Principles in Public Relations. Follow her on LinkedIn at

1 thought on “Young PR Professionals Reach New Heights: Tips on Taking the Certificate Examination

    • Author gravatar

      I enjoyed reading this, Thi! As a rising senior, I am interested in earning the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations. Your piece offered great tips on how to best prepare. Like you said, the need for strong and effective communication is now more than ever. In order to use best practices, we must prepare ourselves to the best of our ability to serve our clients and company.

      – Maret Montanari, Platform Magazine Writer/Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *