Taking the NCIDQ Exam can be a stressful experience. But with these test day tips, some study, and practice, you'll be better prepared to ace your exams.
Have a no-fail mindset
You've been studying for these exams, taken several practice tests or case studies, and now you're ready.
We're going to walk you through exam day, so you know exactly what to expect, and there should be no surprises. But, of course, occasionally, something unexpected may happen, but no matter what, remember to stay positive.
Get a good night's sleep, be prepared, have confidence in yourself and everything you've learned, and you'll approach the exams with the right mindset that allows you to figure out even the toughest questions.
Thinking on empty doesn't cut it.
The last thing you want to focus on while test-taking is your empty stomach. Be sure to eat a nice breakfast (or lunch – depending on your appointment time) before the exam.
You might also want to bring a snack with you, especially if you're traveling a distance to the testing center.
While you can't take it into the testing room, you can store a small snack in your locker and take a short break if you must.
Be Prepared on NCIDQ Exam Day.
Make sure you have everything you need ahead of time. Leave anything you don't need at home, and double check that you have everything do need well before leaving for the test center.
Verify your appointment information against the confirmation you received after booking. If you lost this or want to double-check — log in to your MyNCIDQ account and click on the Details button next to your scheduled exam in the dashboard.
What to Bring
Before you arrive at Prometric on your NCIDQ Exam day, be sure you have:
- Your exam confirmation letter
- A current (unexpired) government-issued ID with your signature and photograph on it.
- The second piece of identification with your name and signature on it.
(I never changed my name on my driver's license until it expired – so I had to take my passport for ID when I took a test at Prometric ~Lisa)
- A sweater or jacket. If you choose to wear one, you must keep it on at all times during the test.
- Soft earplugs. Some testing centers will provide headsets or earmuffs, but if you're sensitive to noise, bring your own.
Prometric NCIDQ Exam Day Requirements
The check-in process
On your NCIDQ Exam day, arrive at least 30 minutes before your start time to allow time for the security check-in process. If you arrive late, you may have to forfeit your test fee and reservation.
The testing center staff will check your confirmation letter and ID and have you sign in. You'll be asked to provide two (2) forms of identification — one valid government-issued I.D with a photo (such as a driver's license or passport) and a second, with or without a photo (such as a credit card). The name you supplied for your Prometric reservation must match the name on your government-issued photo I.D.
If your name does not match your reservation, please contact CIDQ at least one business day before the exam so that staff can change your name in the system. The CIDQ office is closed on weekends. However, you can contact CIDQ Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. Eastern if you need assistance.
Testing Accommodations Pre Approved Personal Items
You'll need to turn up your hems, turn your pockets inside out in front of the testing staff, and then be scanned with a metal detector. If you weren't expecting this ahead of time, this might make you feel a bit rattled. But it's not quite as much hassle as airport security, and you can leave your shoes on.
All candidates will be required to remove their eyeglasses for close visual inspection by the test center administrators. These inspections will take a few seconds and will be done at check-in and again upon return from breaks before candidates enter the testing room to ensure they do not violate any security protocol.
Prometric will issue you a locker for your personal items. If you don't need it, don't take it with you – or leave it in the trunk of your car. You can't bring anything into the testing room except for your ID and locker key.
All jewelry outside of wedding and engagement rings is prohibited. Candidates should not wear other jewelry to the test center.
Hair accessories are subject to inspection. Therefore, candidates should be instructed to refrain from wearing ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands, and other hair accessories. In addition, you may be prohibited from wearing them into the testing room and asked to store them in their locker.
Leave your phone at home or in the car.
If a candidate is caught with a camera device before entering or while in the testing room, staff will confiscate the item. Additionally, the candidate will not be able to test, and the candidate's exam will be terminated.
If Prometric turns you away for any reason, no refund will be granted.
Refer to Prometric's instructions for full details. Although you may purchase a “test run” so you know how it works at your testing center, availability may be limited due to COVID.
The testing process
Next, you'll be assigned to an individual computer station for your test. You'll have time for a short tutorial before starting the exam, which does not count against your testing time.
The Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX) has 125 questions and takes three hours. The Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) has 175 questions and runs for four hours. So if you've studied, know your content, and have plenty of practice ahead of time, you might even finish early.
Though aren't any clocks in the room, so you'll have a countdown timer on screen alerting you to how much time you have left.
If you must leave the test room, you'll have to go through a check-in process again when you re-enter. You won't get any extra time on the exam, so try not to take a break unless it's necessary.
Above all, don't panic.
Panic causes your brain to shut down, preventing you from recalling all the information you've worked so hard to learn. Whenever you encounter a particularly challenging question, don't waste time — flag it and come back to it later. Another question may trigger your memory later.
If you start to feel uneasy, close your eyes and take in a few deep, calming breaths. Remind yourself that you've practiced this countless times.
If you need scratch paper and a pencil, your test administrator will supply it (maybe a small dry erase board or similar) *Qpractice tip — get this early on, before you need it, because even simple doodling can help you think better and calm your nerves. You'll also have an on-screen calculator for any questions requiring math or calculations.
Even if you decide you don't know the answer, there are still plenty of strategies you can use to help you guess strategically.
After the exam
After you finish, you'll take a brief on-screen survey about your testing experience. If you have concerns that anything interfered with your performance, you should email NCIDQ right after your exam. It's also good practice to follow with a letter by regular mail with tracking unless they respond telling you that they have received your report. Any testing issues, comments, complaints must be submitted to CIDQ within 10 days of a candidate’s exam appointment to be reviewed for consideration.
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After leaving the testing center, we recommend writing down any topics or questions you had trouble with. Jot these down right away while still fresh in your mind. Then, if you have to retake the exam, you'll know which areas tripped you up.
Just remember that the exam content is confidential, and this information is only for you. Please don't share this with others. It only undermines and devalues the credibility of the exam for all test takers.
There, you've finally done it!
Going through registering for and preparing for the NCIDQ Exam has already made you a better designer. It's truly something to be proud of.
Now, take some time to celebrate and reward yourself for all your hard work. You deserve it!