Angela Wong
Visual & Media Arts Educator

What is going on with the Certiport exams?

I posted this under a discussion regarding the Photoshop CC 2015 exam but it really makes more sense for it to be it's own discusson:

I needed to just ask - what is going on with these exams?? I'll clarify - I'm in my 3rd year of prepping students for the ACA in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I currently have a very small program as it's new and we have already had a long standing program of certifying students in Dreamweaver. I'm the new guy on the block in my school. I'm CS6 certified in Photoshop and CC 2015 certified in both Illustrator and InDesign. I scored a 963/1000 when I did the Illustrator CC 2015 exam back in September. It seems they have updated the exam however and I just had 3 students take it both on Console 8, then I switched to the MAC launcher (that's what I took it on and had no troubles). This past month, the students did not do so well, they passed, but with low passing scores. While sitting with them and observing, I noted a bunch of weird issues:

  • live corners, use live corners to convert the points of a star to a curve....there are no widgets????
  • One question to convert the anchor point to a smooth point, there is no way to do this in the actual exam with the knowledge I have
  • On another question they want you to move layers from a sublayer to their own layer. Simple enough, right? You cannot drag these layers within the layers panel. I don't know of a more roundabout way to move an item from a sublayer to their own layer.

Overall, as an instructor, my biggest frustration and anger with these Certiport exams is that they only allow ONE WAY for something to be done and it's always the most roundabout way possible - definitely not the way that is most efficient and typically most used by anyone working in the program. So instead of focusing on the material with my students (I really like Rob Schwartz's ACA books!) I have to play detective and guess which way the exam could possibly want them to answer the question. We have our students do practice tests using GMetrix as it's the most cost effective method for practice testing for my school, but the real exam is always much more difficult. Which is ok, but I am really frustrated with the only way to answer a question being the most roundabout least popular method.

Sorry, needed to vent. If anyone else has the same issues, happy to hear from you. If anyone else has ideas/solutions, even happier to hear from you! :)

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Adam Keys

Posted on 6/7/17 8:20:57 PM Permalink

​Hello Angela,

My name is Adam Keys. I am the ACA Product Manager at Certiport. Thank you for posting your comments and I am looking into each of the issues that you noticed during testing. We have not had a major Illustrator exam update since you took the exam in September, so I am exploring why the simulations would be behaving strangely. Did you see a major difference in functionality between Console 8 and the MAC launcher? Additionally, we are planning a content update/ maintenance in mid-July for this exam and I am incorporating your feedback into our planning.

I apologize for the frustration that you have experienced and I sincerely desire to continuously improve the testing experience. As such, whenever you (or anyone who reads this) find something which is not exactly how you would expect it in the software, please email me at with details about the question/simulation and what you would like to see improved.

Thank you!


Bill Carberry

Posted on 6/20/17 3:22:44 PM Permalink

Hi Adam,

Can you please sign me up for ACA exam prerelease program testing?

Feel free to contact me directly anytime at or call 770-880-5657.

I'm confident I can contribute valuable feedback and several suggestions to improve the exams.

Bill Carberry
Adobe Certified Associate and
Adobe Certified Instructor for
Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Acrobat
in good standing since 1999