I took the PPD exam on March 21st at a Prometric Facility in Louisiana. I was calm and collected and ready, however another test taker was outside testing area, furious and arguing with Prometric management that her test froze, crashed, and ultimately delayed her ability to take test. They were on the phone with others alerting them of the problem. I check in and on my way in they say that the girl taking the exam was taking the EXACT same exam and that if I had any problems to raise my hand. I start the exam and five questions in. FROZEN "no connection" screen pop-ups and I raise my hand. The manager comes in and show her the pop-up and click around and it un-freezes. So I decide to continue on after she says that they are recording this delay, not know I had an option of leaving the exam. For the next two hours of the PPD exam I encountered NUMEROUS delays, FREEZES, "connection lost" pop-ups, and slow transitions to the next question. I AM TALKING ABOUT SLOW!!! LIKE 30 seconds minimum mostly around a question with a picture. Sometimes I would encounter a question with no multiple choice answers. I would have to wait to back up multiple times and go forward so that MAYBE POSSIBLY the choice answers will show up. ALL seconds, minutes taking my PRECIOUS exam time. I take a break and alert the Prometric team of what is going on - They assured me that they were recording all the times the test malfunctioned and that I had no need to WORRY, to finish my break and return to test. I returned to the test. This time with the same troubles - LAGGING, FREEZING, NO SHOWS, and CONNECTION ERRORS. I BARREL THROUGH. I don't give up. Surprising, the two comprehensive portions at the end of the exam I thought went rather smoothly (software-wise) until I realized I HAD NO TIME LEFT -
I WAS TOO BUSY WRESTLING WITH THE SOFTWARE THAT I COULD NOT FINISH. I barely made it to final question. DONE. FINIS. It's out of my hands. AND SO IS $235.
Prometric is apologetic and gives me a Customer care number to call. I decided to wait until I got my test results to call and complain. I FAILED. okay. I called Prometric. I told them what happened and the rep says that I need to call NCARB. So I did! Told them what happened AND THEY HUNG UP ON ME -
I called back and different rep wanted me to go over what I just told the other NCARB rep. Whhhaatttt? Do you not have case numbers for situations like this??? The second rep said that my first rep was reviewing my concerns and that he would call me THAT DAY! Sure enough NO CALL!
I call the next day. Of course. Third rep of NCARB wants to hear this ALL OVER AGAIN. At the time when she told me that SHE COULD DO NOTHING FOR ME and THAT NO CREDIT could be issued BECAUSE I DECIDED TO stay and finish the exam I BECAME IRRATE - of course - WOULDN'T ANYONE - there was one point I cursed and she said that she didn't have to talk to me... so I cooled down, repeated to her that SHE COULD DO NOTHING FOR ME and told her that I was a hard working person and SHE TOLD ME "NO, THAT I WASN'T" -
SO I YELLED, I CURSED AT HER AND CALLED HER NAMES, AND HUNG UP -
I was hot with anger. Let me preface my anger with other anger I have for NCARB. In 2008, when I graduated and tried to become valued member of the architectural society, like most of us, was left with NO WORK, NO JOBS, NOTHING... the economy had TANKED. Great time to take a test, RIGHT! WRONG... You couldn't start taking exams until you passed the associated experience hours. SO first things first. Get the experience hours and then you could take the tests (this is what I told myself) -
I completed all of my application with NCARB but still NO GO. They were still awaiting my accreditation from my alma mater. THREE YEARS GO BY (after calls) failure to reach anyone that cared -
I SENT AN EMAIL EXPLAINING THAT NCARB WAS HINDERING MY CAREER and FINALLY they lifted the hold on my account so I could begin recording my experience hours so I could begin ARE 4.0 -
OH WAIT - 1 year later - they lifted those requirements for anyone graduating and that anyone can start taking exams immediately after graduating and that NO NEED TO log you exp. credits before test taking. Yada yada I might not be exactly right on some of these details BUT you get the gist.
So my love for NCARB at this point is rather low.
Back to the point, I called the third NCARB rep and apologized for my behavior. She told me that she did not mean to tell me that I was NOT hard working... She also told me that she would be bringing my case to her supervisor and that she would let me know by the END of DAY what they could do for me. AND THAT WAS TUESDAY (APRIL 2) and STILL NO RESPONSE -
Thank you NCARB, for continuing to show me ABSOLUTELY NO RESPECT WHATSOEVER.
- Chris Merckle
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