How did you do on the Practicum?
This year, CIDQ released the scoring breakdown by points earned per drawing for the first time. The scoring method has not changed, but many were confused by seeing the points.
Understanding NCIDQ Practicum Scoring
What do they mean? Here’s a comment in our public study group from a designer who was not a Qpractice Practicum member:
Super mystified that I somehow got exactly half the points I needed to pass on both sections that I failed… No idea where to go from here, no idea why I failed those sections. Knowing the points for this only has me more confused.
And from a member:
Passed the Practicum! Does anyone know though how many points each section of the practicum was worth?? Because it says “Points Earned” but it doesn’t say out of how many points. Just curious how I did on each section 🙂
Your score report will tell you whether you passed or failed each drawing. The new points show the degree to which you passed or failed and cumulatively affect your total score.
Did you just skate by, or did you ace it? Or did you bomb completely, or almost make it? This information can now be really useful if you do have to take the exam again.
At Qpractice in our Practicum Blueprint Live we’ve talked quite a bit about the relative weights of each section. While sharing the points with you is new, the weight of each drawing has not changed. The percent of total score is important when you’re practicing and planning your strategy for the order that you approach drawings in the afternoon.
How does scoring work?
Two graders score each drawing as either passing or failing, according to the program requirements and codes.
4 Borderline pass
2 Borderline fail
0 No work
Their scores are multiplied by the weight of each drawing. Drawing weights are given per the NCIDQ Exercise Descriptions, and more information is listed in the Practicum Exam Guide, especially common mistakes. The common mistakes are what we see over and over again and why having the entire video library of other designer’s mistakes AND examples of how we suggest you prevent and correct these can be extremely helpful.
Practicum Drawing Weights
23% Space Planning
11% Lighting Design
18% Life Safety
9% Restroom [Washroom]
12% Systems Integration
Space Planning example
So let’s take the example for Space Planning, the highest weight drawing of the exam. It’s worth more than twice as much as others like lighting, restroom, and millwork. This is one you really need to pass.
So if one grader gives you a full pass, and another grader gives you a borderline pass for this drawing, your score would be
Grader 1: 5 points
Grader 2: 4 points
Multiply each by 23, then add together:
Grader 1 subtotal: 5 x 23=115
Grader 2 subtotal: 4 x 23=92
Space Planning subtotal: 207
What if one grader thinks I passed, and the other thinks I failed?
Until the Practicum is graded by computer in 2017, If the first and second grader disagree, which is probably most likely to happen on a borderline drawing, CIDQ will use a third grader’s score:
Grader 1: 4 (borderline pass)
Grader 2: 2 (borderline fail)
Grader 3: 2 (borderline fail)
The borderline pass score is not used, so then the score for space planning is 92:
Grader 1 subtotal: 2 x 23=46
Grader 2 subtotal: 2 x 23=46
Space Planning total: 92
You can see how this plays out for 3 different examples on the spreadsheet below. To see all the possible passing and failing combinations for each drawing, look at the last Pass/Fail tab.
What you need for the NCIDQ Practicum passing score
Following all of that above, your next question is probably about how many points you need. If you add up the column of minimum points you’ll see a total of 800. But in sample 1, we have a passing score of 756. So how is that possible?
So how many points do I need to pass?
Similar to scoring with IDFX and IDPX, your final NCIDQ Practicum score is based on whether you meet or exceed the passing point. The passing point is proprietary, but you can see from our examples that it will be between 704 and 756. The passing point for PRAC this past spring was 711.
But that still doesn’t tell you what you missed or why, just whether you passed by a little, a lot, or if you were unfortunately way off. So this is where Qpractice comes in. Remember the end goal isn’t points but to demonstrate that you can understand and interpret program requirements while meeting building codes.
First, don’t focus on points.
The program requirements don’t include them anyway, and your goal is to meet all of the requirements and building codes. It’s really all about following directions and understanding what those directions mean, getting it done within the allocated time, and neatly so that the graders can read your legible solution.
The key is learning the why behind requirements and codes so that you can learn to apply them in any situation as appropriate.
With over 70 examples in our drawing library, you can see plenty of actual member examples that work, those that don’t and why, plus how to improve them. Having lots of context helps because the exam problems will vary from what you do on the job, and on the exam you won’t be working collaboratively as part of a team.
But having a team is a great tool to help you learn, and aside from lots of examples, our members really benefit from working together.