Monday, June 28, 2010

Becoming an ACE

I'm frequently asked about the best way to prepare to become ACE certified in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat or other Adobe products.

An Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) "is a person who has demonstrated a professional level in proficiency with one or more Adobe software products." The steps to become an ACE are listed here. The primary task is to complete a "product proficiency exam" on the product for which you're seeking certification.

These exams aren't easy. They involve setting up a testing appointment at your closest Adobe-affiliated testing center, going to the testing location, and completing a 1-2 hour test. The tests are multiple-choice, presented on a computer screen. The toughest part is that you will not have the software in front of you to refer to while you're taking the test. So you have to know your stuff.

The key to preparation is to study the exam preparation guides. These guides detail exactly what topic areas of the program will be covered on the test, as well as what percentages of the test questions will pertain to each topic. In addition, each guide contains several sample questions.

For example, the InDesign CS4 guide says that there will be 4 questions (6% of the total test questions) on "working with tables". It goes on to say that you need to know how to modify tables, edit and format a table, create, apply, import, modify, and organize cell and table styles, and update the information in a table when the original data has changed. The exam guide gives similar detail for the other seven topic areas that will be covered.

So the key to passing the test is to study the exam guide, and learn and practice the topic areas that you don't know well.

Other helpful resources:

* Mike Rankin has written The InDesignSecrets Guide to the InDesign CS4 ACE Exam, helpful in preparing for that exam.

* exam aids has created simulated ACE tests for many Adobe products to help users prepare for the ACE exams.

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