When you are reviewing the NCIDQ study material, do you disagree with the information provided? Or think to yourself:
That's not how we do it at my job – (or my industry/my state).
Did you skip or gloss over topics that you already knew or do every day to save study time? Did you think,
I know this already – why waste time on something I can do in my sleep?
If this is you, stop right now!
Remember, the NCIDQ Exam is based on a common or generic body of knowledge typical to the practice of interior design.
It's not based on your local or state jurisdictions or how you or your company do things.
The NCIDQ Exam tests your competency to practice in a way that protects the general public.
To pass all three sections of the NCIDQ Exam, you can't afford to make these common mistakes.
Instead, try this –
Learn to think about the questions the way that NCIDQ does.
- Review all the study materials
- Pay particular attention to topics you miss in practice tests
- Note the difference between what you know (or how you usually do it) and how it's explained in the verified references
This will be especially true for the IDPX and PRAC Exams. For example, when you take the PRAC, you will have access to a set of resources, including building codes that apply to all 3 case studies. You will probably be familiar with many of the codes from your daily practice, but some codes or scenarios may differ.
You will need to practice looking up, referencing, and using these in advance.
1. Don’t just assume you'll pass.
Many experienced professionals make the mistake of underestimating the exams and think they don’t need to study. As a result, the majority of these people fail.
You may even be an architect or the owner of a successful firm — a designer with a lot of work experience – but you still need to understand the codes the exam uses and have a firm grasp on what the item writers are looking for.
While you can (and should) leverage your work experience when you’re studying, don’t assume you already know the answers. You will learn valuable things from others in your study group if you can keep your ego in check and let go of your preconceived assumptions about the exam.
Instead of saying, “I already know this,” when you’re studying, try asking, “What can I learn from this?”
You’ll absorb more and get better results.
2. Don’t let a negative mindset drag you down.
Your mindset going into the exam can be your biggest asset or your biggest hurdle – and you get to decide which one.
If you go into the exam thinking, “I'm not a good test taker. I'm not going to do well,” that's exactly what you'll get. This is because you've trained your brain to continue repeating that outcome.
Everyone – and I mean everyone – has challenges.
Those challenges vary from person to person, but everyone who takes the NCIDQ exams has issues in their work, personal life, health, or schedule. But those people who have the right mindset about their circumstances are the ones who are most likely to succeed.
As you're starting to study for the exam, I recommend making a list (yes, on paper) of all the possible reasons you can't pass the exam.
Then examine your list. Look at each one and say, “Is that a fact or circumstance, or is it just a thought or belief?”
“I only have a few hours a week to study,”
is a circumstance, while
“I’m not going to pass the exam because I’m a bad test taker”
is your thought or belief.
You may not be able to change your circumstances right now, but you can change your thoughts about those circumstances.
Instead of saying, “I'm not going to pass,” you could shift to “I'm going to take this exam, and I'm going to pass it.”
You can refuse to let negative thoughts about your circumstances keep you from achieving your goal.
Passing this exam is important to you, and if you study and prepare well, you do have what it takes to pass – no matter what kind of test taker you are, no matter what mistakes you've made in the past, or how many obstacles may appear to be in your way right now.
The difference between passing and failing
Do you recognize yourself in one or two of these common mistakes?
If that's the case, it's okay! You're in good company.
But you can catch yourself and avoid the errors that will derail your success.
Just be sure to review all the study material, keep things simple, use the information provided, and don’t overthink the material or solution.
Don’t make unnecessary errors that could mean the difference between passing and failing.