Earning Professional Credentials
The NCIDQ Examination consists of two multiple-choice sections and a drawing practicum entirely focused on health, safety and welfare. While interior designers must possess knowledge in many areas, such as accounting, human resources and aesthetics, the NCIDQ Examination tests knowledge in only those areas that relate to health, safety and welfare.
The content of the examination is based on a blueprint developed after an assessment of the profession, conducted approximately every five years, called a practice analysis. NCIDQ conducted a practice analysis in 2008 by surveying practicing professionals to identify and ensure that the exam reflects changes in interior design practice.
Through the practice analysis, NCIDQ determined that seven content areas characterize the work of interior design:
|- Building Systems
- Construction Standards
- Contract Administration
- Design Application
- Professional Practice
- Project Coordination
Multiple-Choice Sections (Sections 1 and 2)
Sections 1 and 2 of the NCIDQ Exam each consist of 125 scored questions and 25 unscored, experimental questions. Unscored questions are not identified on the examination; candidates should give their best effort on all test questions. NCIDQ prepares new versions of the examination regularly and uses statistical equating procedures to ensure that all versions are equal in difficulty.
Many questions on both of these sections incorporate drawings, pictures, symbols and textual formats typical in the interior design profession, requiring candidates to recall, apply and analyze information.
Section 1 addresses the content areas of Codes, Building Systems, Construction Standards and Contract Administration. Candidates are given 3½ hours to complete Section 1.
Section 2 addresses the content areas of Design Application, Project Coordination and Professional Practice. Candidates are given 3½ hours to complete Section 2.
These sections are completed on scannable answer sheets where candidates fill in the circle of their answer. These sheets are electronically scanned and scored by computer on a standardized scale of 200 to 800, with the passing point anchored at 500.
Practicum (Section 3)
Section 3 requires candidates to produce several design solutions. Candidates are given a series of unique exercises covering Space Planning, Lighting Design, Egress, Life Safety, Restroom [Washroom] Design, Systems Integration and Millwork Design. All candidates for a given test date receive the same exercises. The exercises require candidates to interpret a program into schematics, produce plan drawings and develop appropriate specifications and schedules. Work products must address codes and the principles of universal design.
STEP (Self Testing for Pre-Professionals) is an ASID program given by professional instructors to guide individuals who are preparing to take the NCIDQ exam. The STEP workshop informs and prepares interior designers in how to take the exam, what to expect and how to study. STEP workshops are offered by the Arizona North chapter twice a year approximately two months prior to the exam.
Information on the STEP program can be obtained from the ASID web site www.asid.org Click on Continuing Education, then click on “About STEP”. You may also contact the chapter office for information on the next chapter sponsored STEP program.