Lisa: Hello everyone, this is Lisa, the Founder of Qpractice. And I'm here today with Jayne, one of our members, and just went through our course. She just took Practicum and passed. So that was the final exam for her to pass. She got her NCIDQ Certificate, and she's also had some exciting news at work where she was promoted. And I want to take a few minutes and talk with her about how she found Qpractice.
What were you looking for, what were you searching for, when you found us? How did you know about Qpractice? Or did you know about us before?
Jayne: So I didn't. Our local IIDA chapter had a study group, and they were only focusing on the Multiple Choice. And that wasn't really helping me. And one of the instructors there had taken Qpractice. Her name is Jill. And she had passed with you a couple of years ago, and she shared how great the course was. She taught us the Sticky Note Method. And so when I went to sign up for the exam, I asked Jill, you know, “What was that class?” And so she connected me with you. And it was the best decision I ever made.
Lisa: Well, that's great. That's great to hear that somebody who's a graduate is also sharing that information too. Okay, so you were taking another course, and you weren't getting what you needed out of it. So when you got started with us, what was the thing that you saw that was different? What was the change that you noticed, as far as your study habits or something that we did that was different or… Let me know how that made a change for you.
Jayne: It was the structure of the course and, you know, laying out the chapters, and what the important information was, and how to schedule your whole week. When we were in the other class, it was just, “Yeah, here's a handout, and study this, and we'll answer some questions next time.”
So you didn't really have…you had to create your own structure. And I know, as a responsible grownup, we should be able to do that, but it's hard when you're working. And I just really appreciated the study schedule and the actual rigor that, you know, kept me accountable every week for what I needed to do.
Lisa: Oh, that's good to hear, yeah, because that's one of the things I strive to…it's just kinda like to project manage the whole process all the way through so that you don't have to think…
Lisa: …about any of that. And, you know, and I'll break it out day by day or week by week, so none of that you have to worry about. But all you have to think about is the things that you have to review, you know, something you might have to learn…
Lisa: …or something that you should know, you know, maybe as you've worked in the field, but it's just like you have to review it or look at it a different way. So that's good to hear.
Lisa: So is there something that we did, like a specific feature that you liked best, for example, like practice tests, study group, office hours? Anything that you liked best? What made the most difference for you?
Jayne: Going through the Practicum exams and helping kinda calm the nerves of what to expect on test day and to just go through it with a bunch of people and hear them all either have the same issues or they got the same things right. And then to, you know, just hear you tell us all, “It's gonna be fine. Just breathe,” you know. But the Practicum practice was, by far, what helped me the most because, you know, you can just sleep on that ballast book, and you're still not gonna be prepared for the way questions are on test day for the Multiple Choice.
Lisa: Yeah, yeah, that's what I really feel…is that people…you know, if you're learning or even if you're just reinforcing what you already know, you get that by doing. It's not so much if you… A lot of people, you know, maybe they read, and they might save like 10% of it or something like that. You'll get some, but you won't necessarily hold on to all of it. But if you take a practice test or you draw a drawing or something, and you discuss it…
Lisa: …the act of doing, I think, is what really can help cement it in. So that's why we have that. It's all about pretesting so that you can make all your mistakes now, get them done…
Lisa: …get them out of the way, get that stress over with, and then, you know, learn to work through it. Because you're gonna, have it on test day, no matter what.
Jayne: Yeah, yeah.
Lisa: You know, it's like how to calm your mild freak-out, you know, so all right.
Jayne: Well, and this round on the Practicum, it didn't help that peace. The school didn't let us in on time, and we started an hour late. So you can see on my Fitbit where my heart rate just shot up. We're like, “We don't need that today. We don't need this.”
Lisa: Yeah, yeah, so I've heard so many stories over the years. And that's one of the things I also encourage people to share in the study groups, so they know, you know, these are things that can happen. You need to be prepared ahead of time, and then what you do, do afterward. You know, when you have a situation like that, and you start late, you know, you need to make sure that they make up that time. And, you know, if they don't or regardless, anyway, you know, NCIDQ needs to hear about that afterward…
Lisa: …so everybody is getting that level playing field. Okay, all right.
Lisa: Anything else about test day that you remember that was like something that you learned, that you took away and were able to apply to that?
Jayne: I think, just making sure that you get there a little bit early, so you can kind of find a corner and calm yourself. Because when you get in there, there are so many people, and there's so much chatter, and they're all panicked. And if you can just get there and kind of get yourself in the space and get comfortable and just remind yourself of those last couple of things, “You know this, you've got this.”
And then get yourself set up and just don't listen to anybody else. Just put your earplugs in and just get in the zone. And try not to be affected by anybody else in the room because you'll draw on their stress if you're an empathetic person. So just try to tune them all out.
Lisa: Did you also feel that way about, taking the Multiple Choice in a room with other people at the computer, or was it different for you?
Jayne: No, in that room, it was fine. And then the day I went, there was a bunch of kids taking like a GMAT test or something, and I was the only one taking NCIDQ. And they give you the noise-canceling headphones, and that wasn't as bad. You know you hear the clicking in the background of the keyboard. But when you're in the same room and everybody's drawing, and you hear the sighs, and you hear all the erasing and the scratching and the…you know, just bring earplugs, because you're gonna want them.
Lisa: Yeah. Well, that is gonna be completely different now. So that, going forward…
Lisa: …everybody's gonna be just like you were at the Prometric Center taking your Multiple Choice. It's gonna be like that. It's just gonna be… You know, hopefully, you've gone through the practice and have a good idea of what to expect, because that's gonna be quite different in and of itself, so…
Lisa: Okay. So after you took the exam, you had to wait a number of weeks, and I know it was long and grueling.
Lisa: But then you got your results, and you passed.
Lisa: And then tell me what happened after that.
Jayne: Well, we had a big celebration at work. Three of us passed together, so the whole office was just so excited and so supportive of us. And then, about a week ago, one of the managing directors told me that I was being promoted. And, you know, part of it had to do with, you know, passing my NCIDQ, so that was really exciting. And it was nice to finally meet that goal because I did take Practicum twice. So…
Lisa: Yeah, yeah, that's one thing. Some people have to go through and take different sections of the exam more than once. And I see a lot of people get down about that, but it's not really something that you should look at that way. It's like a learning experience.
Lisa: When you go into it, you go into it. You know, as much as we prepare you, it's still completely new when you get there, so…
Lisa: …to take it again, that's fine. You'd wanna use that as a learning experience, which you did, and move forward from that. So that's great to hear about your job. Anything new and exciting that you'll be doing now as a result of this as far as like in your task, in your job, or projects that you'll be working on or…
Jayne: You know, that I'm not sure because I'm not officially in the office until July 1st. So they're keeping things kind of quiet until all the promotions get announced at once, and I'm sure, after that point, then I'll find out. So you know, hopefully… Really excited about the future, though.
Lisa: That's great, that's great. Okay, so given the whole process, you've gone through it, you've come out the other side victorious, you move ahead in your job. Anything else that you wanna share with other people who are just starting out in the exam process or, maybe, somebody who's kind of in the middle? Maybe they've gone through it like you did and haven't passed an exam, and they need to keep going.
Lisa: What can you offer as advice?
Jayne: So I would say to the junior designers, those who are just getting out of school, to get that IDFX out of the way. It helps to calm your stress to know what to expect and to just take the test. It's 125 questions, 150 questions? Just get it out of the way, and you'll have a support network of people around you. You'll probably know people who've gone through it. Just go ahead and take it, and get yourself ready for what's to come. The thing for me that was probably the toughest was trying to do all three at once. It was a lot. In retrospect, I probably would've broken it up, and ultimately, that's what happened, anyway. It's just a lot, and if you're stressed or you're too busy, then, you know, take it in the Multiple Choice in one chunk and then the Practicum in another.
But if you have what happened to me, you know, I missed by seven points, I think it was. And I know you tell us not to focus on that, but it was hard not to when I was so close. Don't get discouraged because that means that you know the stuff. You just have to do it again, and you have to focus. I have a friend right now who went through the class with us this last round, and the same exact thing happened to her. She passed the Multiple Choice and came so, so close on the Practicum and is very discouraged. And I said, “You know what? Stay in touch. I know what it feels like. I will cheer you on in any way you need.”
Lisa: Well, I never took all three together. I took Multiple Choice by itself, and then I took Practicum. So I can only imagine how much and how hard. I mean, I put it together for our members to make it, you know, so people get the most out of their time. Everything overlaps. Anything that, you know, goes together, we study it together. But it's just like…it's a lot of work. There's no way around it. It's a lot of work, so yeah. So what…
Jayne: Well, and as much as that study guide that you gave us is a terrific help. I'm the kind of person that needs to check off every single box. So I'd be like, “I have to do every single thing Lisa told us to do this week and, you know, read every single chapter and do every single drawing.” And all three tests at once, that was a lot.
Lisa: Yeah, it is. It's a lot, yeah, yeah. So looking at ways always to streamline that, but there's only so much you can do, you know. You can't really streamline, like, you know, several years' worth of knowledge that you really need to have to take it, pass it.
Lisa: In your job, tell me a little bit about what you do in your task on the job. And, you know, were the things that you were tested on…do you feel that you drew from your work experience, or do you feel like there were areas that you were missing that you will be, maybe, hoping to experience more going forward?
Jayne: Absolutely. So the team that I'm on…we have a major tech client that has a set of workplace guidelines globally, and my team develops and implements those for teams in every region. And so we review every single project that comes through the office for that client, in addition to creating the guidelines. So there was a lot of code-based things, especially ADA, lighting, and RCPs, that was very helpful for me. And, you know, whereas I started more on the design side on my team, by the end of this process, I'd landed more on the technical side of the team. So, you know, when it comes to systems integration, the systems furniture and making sure that it's aligned with all the mechanical and the lighting and all of that, all of the ADA, it was a huge help for me, and now I can help other people on the team. So it made my job easier, and it's what helped me gain more responsibility on the team.
Lisa: Yeah, that's great. That's a terrific experience to have because not everybody gets exposed to it, and that's something that I can see that when we're going through our studying and that type of thing. We'll have it, you know, this time. It won't necessarily be called Systems Integration, but we'll have components of that in IDPX and in the new PRAC 2.0. For many people, it's brand new. They haven't deal with that, and that's where we really work with you to try to fill in the gaps. If there's something that you don't have experience in with work, we'll try to fill in as much as we can. But I can always tell when I hear from people, and I see their scores, it's like, “Oh, you do that on the job.” You know, I can tell…
Lisa: …who does…
Lisa: …you know, CAD or Revit all day long because…
Lisa: “Ah, you do that on your job.” So yeah, that's good to hear. Okay. All right, so any final words for our members going forward, or new, prospective members?
It's worth it. I mean, absolutely every penny that you put towards it is worth it, and, you know, it just gives you that elevated status in your office, whether your state has licensure or not.
Washington State does not. But it's still a big deal. You know, you can't be President of IIDA without it. You can't move on in your career without it. You know, it just depends on where you are. For those of you who took it before, and you're taking it again, you know, take heart. It's gonna be fine. Lisa's gonna get you through it. And don't worry that the format's changing because Lisa's got your back.
Lisa: Thank you. Yeah, I do. I have your back. Alright, well, thanks so much, Jayne, for sharing this with us. And congratulations…
Lisa: …again, on your new role in your job.
Jayne: Thank you.
Lisa: And we'll be excited, actually, to hear more from you as you get going in your new job and you do new and fun and exciting things. Stop in the study group and say, “Hey,” and go, “Hey, look what I did today,” you know.
Jayne: I absolutely will.
Lisa: Yeah, okay. Well, great. Thank you.