Watch this short video interview (or read the transcript) with one of our members Lauren, who passed both the multiple-choice and the Practicum sections of the NCIDQ Exam using Qpractice, who had some terrific results after earning her Certificate.
Some highlights of our short chat:
- 1:58 What she learned about what it takes to prepare for the Practicum
- 4:30 How the private study group and office hours helped her
- 5:30 The added “bonus” she received after she earned her NCIDQ Certificate
Lisa: Hi. I'm Lisa, the Founder of Qpractice, and I'm here with Lauren, one of our members. She went through our program, and she passed both the multiple-choice and the practicum (sections of the NCIDQ Exam). We're going to talk a little bit about her experience with Qpractice and what she learned, and how she benefited after she earned her NCIDQ certificate.
Lisa: Let's talk a little bit about how you started with us and how you first used Qpractice to pass the multiple-choice.
Lauren: I think I found Qpractice just by Googling trying to find more about the test. I don't have any really close friends in my field locally that have passed the test, so I was going in pretty blind. I found Qpractice, found the study program.
For me, a pretty busy gal, I need a little structure. They had a great schedule going on as far as what chapters to read when to read them, and what to do. I found you a little late. I think I was a couple of weeks behind. I really put the effort in to catch up and read all the chapters.
When I started with you guys, you didn't have the online practice test that you do now, but I was able to find some things online and take a million quizzes I could possibly find. If I got the answer wrong, I would re-read the chapters. I did purchase the Post-It notes that they have, the little index cards. I made my own. I'm more of a visual learner if I'm writing something out. It all depends on what works for you. I followed the study program and was able to pass both multiple-choice on my first try.
Lisa: Great, great. You did the practicum. You joined a little bit late. That wasn't quite enough time for you the first go-around to do the practicum. Then, the second time you went through the study plan with us and went through all the drawing practice. Tell me about that, and what you learned, and how that helped you.
Lauren: Yeah, the first time I did this when I took the test, I took all three together. I was, like I said, behind with the multiple-choice. I only had two weeks to do the practicum. I had no idea what I was getting into as far as the test structure was concerned; anything like that barely put any effort.
I thought I was putting effort into just looking at the test but just wasn't going to work. I don't remember exactly. I did pass a couple of sections the first time. I think it was lighting and restroom and things like that. Obviously, the big guys, space planning, egress, you can't pass if you don't pass space planning. I didn't have enough time to really understand what I was doing, although I thought I did.
The second time, I was just studying for the practicum, and I knew that I needed to put more effort into it. I knew I needed to buy more tests. Sometimes, the bills can add up, but you want to get through it, and you want to get it done. I purchased more exams, more practicums, older ones, and new ones. At this point, I probably wouldn't go anywhere past 2011 back. I mean, they're great for just practice, but you might get hung up on some things that don't make sense now.
Lauren: They changed some of the rules and codes and things like that, so it was a little confusing there. Having five tests to practice from was really beneficial. I have roommates here. Before, I didn't really have my own space. I worked in a common area. People are there. Sometimes, I'm not into studying. This time, I purchased a drafting table. I set it up in my room. I had all my Post-it notes, sticky notes, drafting board, all of it. I had my own space and organized everything, so I was on top of my game. As much as Saturdays and Sundays you want to be on your free time, I put effort into practice, practice, practice.
Lisa: Yeah, and you attended the office hours.
Lisa: Tell me how that helped you, the study group, and the office hours, as well as practicing on your own.
Lauren: The study group reinforces what's in the program anyway, but it's nice to take that time as if you were attending a class, be with other people and hear it again, ask questions, listen to other people's questions. It gives you the motivation to maybe do a couple of more hours that day and then go to a movie later or go out with your friends. It's kind of school time which worked for me. Again, you read it online; then, they verbalize it in the office hours. It's more time, and it's beneficial.
Lisa: Okay. Once you got your results and you found out you passed, then what happened for you?
Lauren: The second time that I took it, I knew that I passed. I was really confident. I knew it. I was looking for some other jobs. I didn't want to leave where I was now, but I was unhappy with my salary.
I was able to go into my current employer, and I had a little bit of leverage knowing that there were other people who wanted me. I was going to pass the test. Maybe I will call it a bluff, but I said I'm going to be a licensed interior designer, so he offered me a raise, half at that particular moment then half when I passed my test. I passed, so I sent him a screenshot of my results online. The rest is history.
The rest of my employers, I work for a family-run developer. Everyone's super excited. They're very supportive. The salary raise alone is enough to make me happy and keep me going.
It's exciting. I mean, things are happening. For a while, I felt like I was plateauing. It makes a difference knowing that you passed the test. It gives you more incentive to work harder.
Lisa: That's good, that's good. That more than pays for your books and your drawings and your drafting table, doesn't it?
Lauren: Right. It all comes out in the wash. It's definitely worth it. I still have everything. I don't know if I'm going to sell it. Maybe I will. I kind of want to hold on to everything.
Lisa: And you made new friends, too.
Lauren: Yes. The online community is very supportive. While people are in different states and have different time schedules and things like that, it's nice to have this online forum to talk to, like face to face. There are other forums that I dabbled into the first time. You don't know anybody, and people don't answer the questions. You have no idea who you're talking to. This is more personal. Obviously, Lisa and …are very great about getting back to you with any questions that you might have.
Also, it's kind of fun. I mean, I was sitting at work, and I would look at what people were asking in the study group. If I knew it, I'd respond, and if I didn't, I was like oh, I've got to brush up on that. It's great to have and an added bonus to keep in touch with everybody.
Lisa: Yeah, yeah. It's more fun that way because you know that you're not going through it alone. You're going through it with a whole community of other designers. It's a team helping each other through. That's what Qpractice is all about. It's designers helping designers pass the NCIDQ exam.
Lauren: Yeah. For the membership fee, I highly recommend signing up for it rather than . . . a one day class personally wouldn't have helped me. I need the continuing contact and ability to ask questions and things like that. I couldn't imagine just going into an eight-hour course and leaving feeling like I would be ready for the test. It takes much more time than that. It's always available if you want to do that, too. Qpractice definitely worked for me. I would recommend it to anybody else that I knew who was going to take this test.
Lisa: Great, great, that's good to hear. Thank you, Lauren. I really appreciate it.
Lauren: Thank you.
Lisa: Congratulations on your bonus and your increase with your job. I'm looking forward to hearing more about what great and wonderful things you do now.
Lauren: Yes. Thank you very much. Continuing luck with Qpractice. I know it's only going to grow from here.