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How to Study for the New NCIDQ Prac 2.0 Exam

Julianne Rodriguez
How to study for the prac 2.0.jpg

While the fall 2017 exam will be the first time that the Prac 2.0 will be administered, and I, of course, have not taken it, here is how I would prepare for it. To start, while it has moved to a digital format, it is still designed to test the same body of knowledge as the past Practicum exam. For example, instead of hand-drafting a space plan, candidates will be asked to evaluate a plan as it relates to the given program. So it's important to know how to synthesize the information given in the case studies to determine the solution. 

If I were taking the Prac 2.0 exam this fall, here's how I would study for it:

  • Study the NCIDQ Building Code Requirements: while you will be given these code requirements during the exam, it is important that you study them prior to taking the test. They contain information necessary to answering several questions correctly. It's important to know these inside and out, so you are not wasting precious exam time searching for the code referenced.
  • Review the NCIDQ Prac 2.0 Exam Blueprint
  • Study from the recommended study material. Don't forget to use promo CCN15 for 15% off!
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  • Take the NCIDQ Prac 2.0 Quiz to experience the test platform in a 13 question practice quiz.
  • Do a timed mock exam using the NCIDQ Prac 2 Practice Exam book. It's so important to simulate an exam experience prior to your exam, so put away your laptop and phone, set a timer for four hours and take the practice exam. Time management when taking the exam is critical, as you will have about a minute and a half to complete each question. If you didn't complete the full exam during the time allotted, that's absolutely ok! It's better to run out of time during a mock exam, than when you are taking the actual Prac 2.0 exam. Each time you take the exam, you will get better and faster.  
  • Grade your mock exam, and study the questions that you answered incorrectly. When I was studying for the NCIDQ exams, I learned so much more by grading my practice exams and reviewing the answers to the questions that I answered incorrectly. It showed me which areas I needed to study more, and which areas I was proficient in.
  • Repeat! Practice makes perfect - the more you study and take practice exams, the better prepared for the exam you will be. 
     

As I mentioned, I have not yet taken this exam, so this is just how I would personally study for it, and how the CIDQ recommends to prepare for the test. How are you preparing for the Prac 2.0? I'd love hear from you!

New 2017 NCIDQ Exam Updates

NCIDQ STUDY MATERIALSJulianne Rodriguez
2017 NCIDQ Updates.jpg

The CIDQ has updated all portions of the NCIDQ exam, and the most notable and significant update has occurred with the Practicum. The new Practicum exam, referred to as Prac 2.0, is now a computer-based exam administered at Prometric sites. Similar to the ARE exams, it is administered on a testing platform, not a design platform, so according to the CIDQ, you do not need prior experience with the software before taking the exam. 

To provide more information and context about the new updates, the CIDQ has released several videos on their site that discuss the new Prac 2.0 exam, and demo the new testing platform.

Prac 2.0 Exam

  • Exam Format: The exam is comprised of 120 questions. Each question will be worth 1 point, and partial credit will not be given.
  • Exam Duration: Candidates will be given 4 hours to complete the exam
  • Exam Dates: The fall 2017 exam will be administered October 1-31, and the Spring 2018 will be administered April 1-30, 2018.
  • Exam Cost: $450 exam fee + up to $225 in application fees. Cost breakdowns can be found here.
  • Passing Score: Scoring this exam will be scaled, and determined after the first exam administration. Read more about that here.
 
 

Prac 2.0 Case Studies

As stated in the video above, each Prac 2.0 exam will consist of three different case studies:

  • Large Commercial
  • Small Commercial
  • Residential

The Case studies will include: a project scenario, universal codes, a plan and other resources that might be needed to answer a question correctly.

Prac 2.0 utilizes four different types of questions:

  • Hot spot
  • Fill in the blank
  • Multiple Choice
  • Drag & Place

Knowledge areas of the exam can be broken down, as follows. Refer to the Prac 2.0 Exam Blueprint for further details of each knowledge area.

Prac 2.0 Practice Quiz & Study Material

The CIDQ has released a Prac 2.0 Practice Quiz which gives users thirteen (13) practice questions using the same test platform and methodology the full scale Prac 2.0 utilizes. The PRAC 2.0 Quiz is available for $12.00 and is a one-time, single-use exam to practice computer test methods used in Prac 2.0. They currently only have one version of the practice quiz available, so if you purchase it more than once, it will be the same quiz. However, I would highly recommend purchasing this quiz to familiarize yourself with the new platform, study the format of the questions, and simulate an exam day.

While the exam has moved to a digital format, it is still designed to test the same body of knowledge as the past Practicum exam. For example, instead of hand-drafting a space plan, candidates will be asked to evaluate a plan as it relates to the given program.

The following study material are still relevant to use, and have been recommended by the CIDQ, PPI, and myself. You can receive 15% off your purchase by clicking the links below and using code CCN15!

 

NCIDQ® PRAC 2 Practice Exam Problems, 2nd Edition

New Edition: Updated to the Current NCIDQ® Exam Specs

NCIDQ® PRAC 2 Practice Exam Problems contains 150 exam-like, multiple-choice questions that will help you pass the Interior Design PRAC 2.0 exam.

NCIDQ® PRAC 2 Practice Exam Problems features include:

  • detailed explanations and problem solutions to reinforce theory and application of fundamental concepts
  • 150 questions divided into 3 case studies that are consistent with the level of difficulty, format, and exam’s content areas to simulate PRAC 2.0 exam experience

Interior Design Reference Manual, 6th Edition

The Interior Design Reference Manual (IDRM6) offers complete review for all three divisions of the NCIDQ® Certification exam. This book works in conjunction with division specific practice exams to help you pass every division the first time.

The Interior Design Reference Manual features include:

  • complete coverage of content areas for every division of the NCIDQ® Exam
  • over 200 figures in SI and U.S. measurements to illustrate design details
  • study guidelines, exam tips, and tables to support exam preparation
  • a downloadable study schedule to organize study priorities

 

Are you taking the Prac 2.0 exam? If so, I would love to hear from you! 

2017 NCIDQ Study Materials

NCIDQ 101, NCIDQ STUDY MATERIALSJulianne Rodriguez

Get excited! In partnership with PPI, I am so excited to offer Creative Confidante readers an exclusive discount for select NCIDQ PPI study material. Use code CCN15 to receive 15% off all products, except for product bundles or review courses. We all know how expensive the exams can be, and this will help make your NCIDQ journey a bit more affordable! 

Now, onto the updated study material list. There have been major changes to the 2017 NCIDQ Exam, specifically the Practicum 2.0, so it's important to make sure that you are using all of the newest study materials. Here are the materials that have been recommended by the CIDQ, the folks at PPI, and myself.

To make things easy, click the links below to start shopping, and studying! 

 

Interior Design Reference Manual, 6th Edition

The Interior Design Reference Manual (IDRM6) offers complete review for all three divisions of the NCIDQ® Certification exam. This book works in conjunction with division specific practice exams to help you pass every division the first time. I read this book cover to cover several times in preparation for all three exams.

The Interior Design Reference Manual features include:

  • complete coverage of content areas for every division of the NCIDQ® Exam
  • over 200 figures in SI and U.S. measurements to illustrate design details
  • study guidelines, exam tips, and tables to support exam preparation
  • a downloadable study schedule to organize study priorities
 

Interior Construction & Detailing for Designers & Architects, 6th Edition

Interior Construction & Detailing for Designers & Architects, Sixth Edition is a comprehensive guide for students, interior designers, and architects involved in commercial and residential construction. I would recommend this for the IDPX & Prac 2.0.

Clear and complete explanations of how to select suitable materials and components and determine appropriate construction techniques make this book an essential, time-saving reference.

Successful design requires the best resources, and the Interior Construction & Detailing offers comprehensive coverage of key codes and topics for designers and architects.

 

NCIDQ® IDFX Sample Questions and Practice Exam, 2nd Edition

New Edition: Updated to the Current NCIDQ® Exam Specs

NCIDQ® IDFX Sample Questions and Practice Exam, Second Edition contains 225 exam-like, multiple-choice problems to help you prepare for the Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX).

NCIDQ® IDFX Sample Questions and Practice Exam features include:

  • detailed explanations and solutions to reinforce theory and application of fundamental concepts
  • 125 practice questions to reinforce the connection between relevant theory to exam-like problems
  • 100-question practice exam that is consistent with the level of difficulty, format, and content areas
 

NCIDQ® IDFX Flash Cards

NCIDQ® IDFX Flash Cards are the perfect complement to your study routine. More than 200 flash cards, categorized by exam and content area, aid you in recalling key concepts and definitions for the NCIDQ® IDFX exam. I kept a set of flashcards on me at all times, and they were perfect for studying on the go.

NCIDQ® IDFX Flash Cards (IDFXFL) Include

  • coverage of NCIDQ® exam content areas with cards that match up to NCIDQ® IDFX exam topics
  • unique content specific to the NCIDQ® IDFX exam
  • both question/answer formatting and answer/question formatting to help increase problem solving speed
  • three binder rings to divide your cards and customize your self-study learning experience
 

NCIDQ® IDPX Sample Questions and Practice Exam, 2nd Edition

New Edition: Updated to the Current NCIDQ® Exam Specs

NCIDQ® IDPX Sample Questions and Practice Exam contains 275 exam-like, multiple-choice questions that will help you pass the Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX).

NCIDQ® IDPX Sample Questions and Practice Exam features include:

  • detailed explanations and problem solutions to reinforce theory and application of fundamental concepts
  • 125 practice questions to reinforce the connection between relevant theory to exam-like problems
  • 150-question practice exam that is consistent with the level of difficulty, format, and exam’s content areas
 

NCIDQ® IDPX Flash Cards

NCIDQ® IDPX Flash Cards are the perfect complement to your study routine. More than 200 flash cards, categorized by exam and content area, aid you in recalling key concepts and definitions for the NCIDQ® IDPX exam. Easily taken on-the-go, the cards come with six binder rings for easy organization.

NCIDQ® IDPX Flash Cards (IDPXFL) Include

  • coverage of NCIDQ® exam content areas with cards that match up to NCIDQ® IDPX exam topics
  • unique content specific to the NCIDQ® IDPX exam
  • both question/answer formatting and answer/question formatting to help increase problem solving speed
  • three binder rings to divide your cards and customize your self-study learning experience
 

NCIDQ® PRAC 2 Practice Exam Problems, 2nd Edition

New Edition: Updated to the current 2017 NCIDQ® Exam Specs

NCIDQ® PRAC 2 Practice Exam Problems contains 150 exam-like, multiple-choice questions that will help you pass the Interior Design PRAC 2.0 exam.

NCIDQ® PRAC 2 Practice Exam Problems features include:

  • detailed explanations and problem solutions to reinforce theory and application of fundamental concepts
  • 150 questions divided into 3 case studies that are consistent with the level of difficulty, format, and exam’s content areas to simulate PRAC 2.0 exam experience
 

The Codes Guidebook for Interiors, 7th Edition

The Codes Guidebook for Interiors is an excellent book to supplement the Interior Design Reference Manual, and gives an in depth look at all of the codes referenced in the NCIDQ. You can reference this for the IDFX, IDPX, and also use it after the exams, for work.

The Codes Guidebook for Interiors features include:

  • Easy-to-navigate format geared toward the code process as a whole
  • A step-by-step guide through the codes relevant at each stage in the design process
  • The newest changes to the ADA Standards and ICC/ASI accessibility requirements
  • A companion site that offers interactive checklists, flashcards, PowerPoint lecture slides, and an Instructor's Manual

NCIDQ 101: The Study Materials You Need to Pass the NCIDQ

NCIDQ 101, NCIDQ STUDY MATERIALSJulianne Rodriguez

 

Now that you've successfully applied for the NCIDQ & scheduled your exam, it's time to get all of the books & tools you will need to study. 

In this second post of my NCIDQ 101 series, I will be sharing everything I used to prepare for all three exams of the NCIDQ. It's my belief that if you are going to invest so much of your time and effort into this exam, you might as well get everything you need to pass.

 

NCIDQ 101: Everything You Need to Know About the NCIDQ

NCIDQ 101Julianne Rodriguez
NCIDQ 101: Everything You Need to Know About the NCIDQ

Even though it's officially summer, school is back in session! In this post, I will be giving you a crash course in NCIDQ 101: What it is, why its important, and how to get started. I will also go over important dates and deadlines, eligibility requirements; as well as how I can help you prepare for the exam. This is a long post, but it is my hope that it will serve as your one stop shop for the NCIDQ.

While it can feel intimidating and overwhelming to start the exam process, it doesn't have to. I am here to help. So, keep reading and let's get started.

You've got nothing to lose but excuses.

What is the NCIDQ?

The NCIDQ stands for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, and is an exam developed and administered by the CIDQ: Council of Interior Design Qualification, which was founded in 1974. It is currently the only nationally recognized professional competency exam in the United States and Canada. Currently, 27 states in the US require the NCIDQ certificate in licensing and regulating the Interior Design profession. You can learn more about that here.

The exam tests the minimum entry-level competence in Interior Design and focuses on those specific aspects of interior design that affect the public’s access, health, life safety, and wellbeing. Translation: you are going to be a #bossbabe (or #bossman) in Life Safety & ADA codes, sustainability guidelines, FF&E selections/specifications, CD's, and Contract Administration by the end of this.

Why is the NCIDQ important?

Currently, legislation for the regulation of Interior Design varies by state. The NCIDQ Certification serves at the highest standard of competency for Interior Designers. It's what sets you apart from uncertified Interior Designers and Decorators.

By becoming a NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer, you are proving that you have the skills to design and execute interior environments that protect the safety, healthcare and well-being of its inhabitants. While all Interior Designers can (and need to) design environments that accomplish the goals above, having the NCIDQ appellation sets you apart from other designers in the design field. 

Now for the fun stuff: becoming a NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer will give you the potential to increase your salary and earn more money. Most design firms will even offer bonuses for each certification you earn. What's more motivating than a little extra cash money in your pocket? Additionally, most firms require professional certification in order to be promoted to an Associate, Senior Designer, etc. 

What I'm telling you, is that your hard work will pay off in more ways than you can imagine. Think of the NCIDQ as giving yourself the raise you deserve.

What is on the NCIDQ Exam?

The NCIDQ is comprised of two multiple-choice exams, the IDFX and IDPX, and a hand-drafted Practicum Exam. Each of the exams focus on the following seven content areas, as developed by the CIDQ:

  • Building Systems
  • Codes
  • Construction Standards
  • Contract Administration
  • Design Application
  • Professional Practice
  • Project Coordination

Stay tuned for more in-depth posts about each of the three exams!

Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)

This is the first exam of the NCIDQ, and available to candidates who have completed their education, but may or may not have fulfilled their work experience requirements.

  • Eligibility: Most commonly, an Interior Design degree from a CIDA or Non-CIDA Accredited school. Candidates with an Associates Degree in Interior Design, as well as our friends who have Architecture Degrees are also eligible. Click here for all of the details.
  • Exam Format: Comprised of 125 multiple choice questions: 100 are scored, and 25 are unscored, experimental questions (these questions could potentially end up on the exam next year). If you read a question that is totally out in left-field, its most likely an experimental question, and won't be scored. Don't panic.
  • Content Areas: Building Systems, Construction Standards, Design Application. More details can be found here.
  • Exam duration: 3 hours
  • Passing Score: The scores are weighted, and scored on a scale of 200-800. You need at least 500 to pass.
  • Cost: $295 exam fee + up to $220 in application fees. Cost breakdowns can be found here.
  • Exam Dates: This exam is only offered twice a year: April 14-23 and October 13-22.

Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX)

This is the second exam of the NCIDQ, and is available to candidates who have completed both their education and work experience requirements. 

  • Eligibility: The aforementioned education requirements (found here), and the following work experience requirements: 
    • Interior Design degree from an Accredited/Non-Accredited School: 3,520 hours (approx. 3 years of work experience)
      • 1,760 of those hours can come from qualified work experience (internships) if your supervisor meets the following requirements listed here
    • Associates Degree (60 Hours) in Interior Design: 5,280 hours in qualified Interior Design experience
    • Associates Degree (40 Hours) in Interior Design: 7,040 hours in qualified Interior Design experience
    • NAAB or CACB Degree (Architecture Degree): 5,280 hours in qualified Interior Design experience
  • Exam Format: Comprised of 175 multiple choice questions: 150 are scored, and 25 are unscored, experimental questions. 
  • Content Areas: Building Systems, Codes, Construction Standards, Professional Practice and Project Coordination. More details can be found here.
  • Exam duration: 4 hours
  • Passing Score: The scores are weighted, and scored on a scale of 200-800. You need at least 500 to pass.
  • Cost: $345 exam fee (you only need to pay the $220 application fee once). Cost breakdowns can be found here.
  • Exam Dates: This exam is only offered twice a year: April 14-23 and October 13-22.

The Practicum Exam

This is the final exam of the NCIDQ, and is available to candidates who have completed both their education and work experience requirements. 

  • Eligibility: The aforementioned education requirements (found here), and work experience requirements (found here & here).
  • Exam Format: You will need to produce hand-drafted (yep, that's right) solutions to the following 7 exercises:
    • Space Planning
    • Lighting Design
    • Egress
    • Life Safety
    • ADA Restroom
    • Systems Integration
    • Millwork 
  • Content Areas: Interpret a program into schematics, produce plan drawings and develop appropriate specifications and schedules. All solutions must be code compliant. More details here.
  • Exam duration: 8 hours
  • Passing Score: Each of the 7 exams will receive a score ranging from 0 (Completely Blank Solution) to 5 (Pass). You must get at least a 4 (Borderline Pass) or 5 (Pass) on nearly all of the 7 Practicum Problems. You could potentially fail one of the problems, and still pass, but let's shoot for success, shall we? ;)
  • Cost: $450 exam fee (you only need to pay the $220 application fee once). Cost breakdowns can be found here.
  • Exam Dates: September 24, 2016.

How do I apply?

First, register for an account with myNCIDQ. To do so, click here. Once you do that, you will need to use this link to create a new password to login (yes, it's a bit backwards). If you get really stuck, give our fine friends at NCIDQ headquarters a call: 202-721-0220 or send them an email: inquries@ncidqexam.org. Depending on which exam you are applying to, follow the steps below:

Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX)

  1. Complete the online application form within your myNCIDQ profile.
  2. Submit the following documents through your myNCIDQ profile:
    • Candidate Consent & Application Form
    • Call up your school's Registrar and ask for an official copy of your transcript. Then, upload your official transcript
  3. Celebrate! You officially committed to the IDFX exam and are in it to win it.

Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) & Practicum

  1. Complete the online application form within your myNCIDQ profile.
  2. Submit the following documents through your myNCIDQ profile:
    • Candidate Consent & Application Form
    • Call up your school's Registrar and ask for an official copy of your transcript. Then, upload your official transcript
  3. Work Experience Verification Form
  4. Direct Supervision Work Experience Verification Form
  5. (3) Letters of Reference

note: application acceptance by NCIDQ could take up to six weeks

How do I schedule my exam?

After notification from the NCIDQ that your application has been accepted and approved, you are eligible to register for the exam. This is a two step process: first you must apply for the exam, then you must register/schedule your exam. Don't forget to do this second step!

  • Register for the IDPX and IDFX here
  • Register for the Practicum through myNCIDQ

How long do I have to take the NCIDQ?

If you started taking the exam in 2010 or later, you have a five-year window to take all three sections of the exam or retake any sections that you have not passed. If you do not complete and pass all three sections within the five year window, you will have to start over and take all three. It sounds intense, but who wants to be taking these exams for more than five years? Not me! Let's work together to help you pass these exams on your first try.

When do I need to apply?

Now! Actually, you really do. The application deadline for the Fall 2016 exam is July 15, 2016. Click here for more details.

Don't panic - simply follow the steps I listed above, call your Registrar's office to get your transcript, and get moving. They are changing the format of the exam in the Fall of 2017 (aka all of my tips & tricks, and your friend's advice may no longer be valid) so let's pass the exam before they change it!

We did it! 

Whew! If you are reading this, you made it through my post which covers what I thought to be one of the most confusing parts of the entire NCIDQ: how to get started and apply.  Congrats! 

Your homework for this week is to apply for the NCIDQ exam you are eligible to take, and get familiar with the NCIDQ website. There is a ton of useful information on their site, so make sure you know where it lives. As always, if you need help or have questions, let's chat! I am happy to help. You can reach me at creativeconfidante@gmail.com.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I cover all of the books & supplies you will need to pass the NCIDQ. Have a great week, Everyone! 

 

ps.

Want to take your studying a step further? Let's work together to help you pass the NCIDQ. I am available for one-on-one or group tutoring sessions. If you're in the Bay Area, let's meet up! Out of town? Not a problem - we can do online tutoring sessions.

For Those Seeking Success

NCIDQJulianne Rodriguez

Welcome, Friends!

I have been thinking about starting this blog for quite some time, and I am so excited the day has come. I just received the amazing news that I passed the NCIDQ (praise!) and I could not be more excited that the past two years of hard work and studying have finally paid off! These tests are no joke, but let me tell you - it is possible to pass these exams, and you can do it! 

The NCIDQ is such an important accreditation & accomplishment for an Interior Designer's career, and I was so surprised at the lack of study material available. I honestly felt like half of the battle was determining what to study, and how to study it. I would love this blog to be a resource to share all of my tips & tricks that I used during my NCIDQ exam journey, so that you, too, can pass these tests!  It's a hard test, but there is strength in numbers, people! 

As a brief overview, the NCIDQ stands for the National Certification for Interior Designers, and is created by the CIDQ, the Council for Interior Design Qualification. It is comprised of three separate tests: the IDFX, IDPX, and the Practicum (Stay tuned for another post where I will get into all of the details of each exam).  According to the CIDQ, the NCIDQ tests the "minimum competency in the full body of interior design knowledge". Let me just take a second point out that clearly the CIDQ and I have VERY different definitions of "minimum" ;) Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I will say that if you plan and prepare properly, you will have no issue passing the tests. It will definitely take hard work and time, but it is so worth it.

All of the knowledge I have gained thus far has helped my career immensely, and I am so looking forward to sharing what I have learned with everyone. I will be going over the basics: how to apply for the exam, how to create a successful & sustainable study plan, as well as getting into the details of each of the Practicum Exams, ADA/Building Codes, and much more. If you're in the Bay Area, and would like one-on-one tutoring, let's chat!  Not in the Bay Area? Let's set up an online tutoring session! I can meet with you on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and give you step-by-step instructions to solving each of the Practicum problems, as well as go over any questions you may have.

So, if you're seeking success, and want to pass the NCIDQ once and for all, stay tuned as I share my journey. I promise it is possible.