Starting the #NCIDQ Studying Process
from Caroline’s NCIDQ Diaries – Part 1
Once I was eligible to apply and approved for the exam, studying was a totally different monster to tackle.
I’m in an area where you can count NCIDQ-certified designers on one hand. My closest ASID or IIDA chapters are 2 hours away in either direction and there weren’t any STEP classes. So, I was pretty much on my own when it came to figuring out how to study for the exam.
Thankfully, I found Qpractice and support from a couple of friends also taking the exam in other states – you need those friends on those days when you break down, overwhelmed, and are yelling “I can’t do this!!!”
It definitely took me a long time though to wrap my head around what I needed to study and how I needed to study. Some days you sit there staring at the mountain of information not knowing where to start and having mini panic attacks.
My original goal was to take all 3 sections in the spring. But it took some time to get in the groove with the Practicum studying and start to process that information. By the time I was feeling OK about that in early March, I hadn’t kept up with my multiple choice reading so I ended up rescheduling those sections for the fall.Settling Into a Study Schedule
I probably spent 15-25 hours per week studying. I really dug into it in late January, and was studying right up until a few days before the exam.
I’m lucky in that I can set my own schedule being self-employed, and could start to plan my study hours around the times I’m most productive. If you are working full-time outside of studying and don’t have many hours per week to spend, I’d definitely start studying much sooner.
I ended up taking 5 practice exams, and I don’t think I would have passed without all that practice. You’ll also have several days where you won’t have the brainpower to focus on drawing practice. To make the most use of the time though, but not mentally exhaust myself further, I’d do some “lighter” tasks like the following:Prep drawing supplies
– put little circle stickers next to you most frequently used templates like the turning radius, door swings, etcWatch Qpractice Office Hours replays
– there were several office hours Saturdays I was not in that studying mindset, so I’d watch part of the discussion but then end up re-watching the whole thing another day during the week. Qpractice also has short 15 minute videos of strategies and drawing reviewsMake flashcards for Life Safety
(door hardware info) and quiz yourself – Qpractice has a nifty hardware chart to help you understand your choicesMake a list of the things you’re forgetting on each drawingQuiz yourself on NCIDQ codes
and restroom schedulePrint off 7 copies of the NCIDQ codes
– one for each drawing – and highlight the relevant codes to that drawing to use as you’re doing practice examsReview Qpractice LinkedIn discussions
and print or bookmark relevant discussions that you need help withGrade your practice drawingsWatch the drawing review solutions videos
/print the drawing solutions in the Qpractice modules matching practice exams you have and use those for some extra feedback as you’re grading yourselfPrep your practice tests
, prepare them with vellum if needed, and clean your workspace for your practice exam day
Read more on Qpractice at http://www.qpractice.com/carolines-ncidq-diaries-part-1/