The NCIDQ Practicum Exam, or PRAC, is an entirely computer-based exam that does not require the knowledge of any special drafting software. PRAC tests your application of the interior design body of knowledge in building systems, building codes, contract documents, and health, safety, and welfare.
The Practicum Exam is given on a computer in a format similar to multiple choice-type tests with several advanced question types unique to PRAC, such as hot spots, drag and place, and fill-in-the-blank. Prometric testing centers deliver the Practicum Exam worldwide, but the Practicum Exam is not currently available for remote testing.
PRAC is organized into four sections: 3 case studies, of 31-32 questions each plus 18-21 standalone questions, for a total of 114 questions in 4 hours. The 4-hour testing session includes a brief prep time for an introduction to help you get familiar with the software.
The standalone questions were introduced in Spring 2023 and delivered at the end of the test after the cases.
Case studies are scenario-based application problems representing these three project types:
- Small commercial ≈ 2400 sq. ft.
- 1-story or multi-story building
- Ground level
- No Basement
- May include incidental spaces
- Large commercial ≈12,500 sq. ft.
- 4 to 5-story building or high rise
- Typically use two floors, one being on the ground level
- No Basement
- May include incidental spaces
- Multifamily Residential ≈ 2500 sq. ft.
- Multifamily High Rise
- The unit may be located on ground level or 2nd floor
- No Basement or Parking
- Will not include Incidental spaces
- Standalone questions
- 18 — 21 advanced-type questions not related to a specific case
- Hot spot
- Drag and drop
Each case study has a collection of resources that you’ll use to solve problems and answer questions, including:
- programming requirements
- image exhibits
- specs or schedules
The programming requirements document that defines each Case Study will include the following elements:
- Project Description
- Building Standards (Policies and technical criteria set by the building owner for Structural, Electrical, Energy Conservation, and Fire Protection Systems)
- Zoning Ordinance
- Basic Building Information
- Project Requirements
- Programming Requirements
The case studies are delivered in a specific order on the exam, which may change from one administration to another. You must complete each case study in the order given. You can flag questions to review within a case study, but once you complete that particular case study, you will not be able to return to it again.
The Practicum question types in each case study include hot spots, drag and place, and fill-in-the-blank. Each question is worth 1 point, even if it has multiple parts. You must get all parts correct because there is no partial credit.
You may see a multiple-choice question or two. But expect most questions to use the new item types. Multiple-choice is already used extensively for IDFX and IDPX.
The Practicum tests analysis and practical application skills instead of rote recall of facts. Because of the nature of the practical application, some questions will take more time to solve, especially those with calculations. You will need all four hours to answer these, and you may have only a few minutes to spare for review. Otherwise, you may run out of time — unless you’re prepared for both the content and have practiced your timing.
This is why Qpractice Case Studies mimic the Practicum Exam in content and delivery style, including the new 4-section organization.
We include drag and place, hotspot, and fill-in-the-blank question types.
Join Qpractice to get unlimited access to our quizzes and live workshops.
PRAC is designed to test similar knowledge as the multiple-choice exams but applied to an actual design scenario. It is scored by machine, but designers pretest the individual question items before each exam administration.
A total of 114 must be completed in 4 hours. 105 questions are scored, and 9 questions are ungraded pretest questions. The weight and distribution of the different task and knowledge statements reflect the most current CIDQ Practice Analysis Study.
Each individual question (called an item) is worth 1 point. There is no partial credit for questions made up of multiple parts — you must get all parts correct to score 1 point.
Preliminary PRAC scores are not available on exam day, but final scores will be available 6-8 weeks after the close of the testing administration.
The exam scoring breakdown according to the current Practicum Blueprint is as follows:
- I. 15% Programming, Planning, and Analysis
- II. 30% Code Requirements, Laws, Standards, and Regulations
- III. 25% Integration with Building Systems and Construction
- IV. 30% Contract Documents
Like on the IDFX and IDPX, scores are reported on a scale ranging from 200 (0 correct) to 800 (all correct), with the passing point anchored at 500. This is a scaled score so that each exam administration can be compared to other administrations of the same exam. This ensures fair comparisons between different administrations of the same exam, for example, PRAC Fall 2022 to PRAC Spring 2023.
To learn more about how the exam is scored, see How to really understand your NCIDQ Exam scoring.
- I. Programming 15%
- II. Codes 30%
- III. Building Systems 25%
- IV. Contract Documents 30%
- What is the code information being tested on the Practicum Exam?
The 2018 International Building Code (IBC) is more comprehensive than the previous NCIDQ Exam Codes.
The applicable Chapters/Sections from IBC will be provided in a searchable PDF document as part of the Case Study resources. Candidates need to be familiar with the current Chapters/Sections of IBC that are interior design related.
- What information will be used to determine Occupant loads?
CIDQ will use the Occupant Load Table provided in the 2018 IBC. The applicable 2018 IBC codes document will be provided to candidates as part of each Case Study.
- For calculations, how should decimal points be rounded?
For code-related calculations like Occupancy load or fixture counts, regardless of the decimal point designation—you always round up. For other calculations such as area, wattage per square foot, etc., you round up for .5 and above and down for less than .5.
To learn more, see the current Practicum Case Study Standards.