I recently passed CE, fortunately.
I have comments and suggestions.
I experienced technical problems with the case study questions as the (bitmap) PDF documents of large architectural drawings took (I timed it) average of 1:45 seconds to render each sheet. Therefore in a multiple sheet file, I was waiting cumulatively over 20 minutes for drawings to appear. If I marked a question for review and revisited, I had to wait for PDF to load again.
At least two (if not all) of the machines at the test center (I was moved to a second computer mid-exam) are running Windows 7 with minimal RAM.
Windows 7 has experienced end-of-life as of January 14, 2020. This means that critical vulnerability fixes will no longer be issued or investigated by Microsoft. I understand that it might be difficult to get Prometric to modernize their hardware, therefore I would like to see NCARB protect myself and other ARE candidates by, for example,requiring liquidated damages be paid by Prometric on candidates' behalf for any breach of data on account of this unsupported and outdated hardware.
Considering the inadequate hardware to render case study information in a timely manner, NCARB should consider reduction of quality in these files and/or review these PDF files to remove sheets that do not contribute to the solutions. NCARB might also replace bitmap sheet files with vector sheet files to minimize the overhead.
One last comment, I would like to challenge the validity of the exam's time limit and the rolling clock displayed during the exam. I noticed during testing that the clock rolls during the "loading" time between questions. Therefore any "loading" time staring at a blank screen waiting for the next question is automatically counted against the candidate. On my testing computer I experienced up to 10 seconds of time loss per click on any of the "next question", "previous question", or "exam summary" buttons as the computer processed the input while the clock continued to tick. Theoretically this resulted in potentially 950 seconds (15+ minutes) of penalty overhead time that I experienced. In my experience, this theoretical was close to actual.
This could easily be alleviated by the exam developer who programs/designs the exam software by pausing the clock when the candidate clicks any of the buttons and then wait for a "content rendered" signal to restart the clock once the next question appears on-screen. This change would insure that the 3 hour 15 minute time limit is direct "testing time" that the candidate has to deliberate over questions and perform the test.
Qualitatively, time frustrations were definitely the most stressful part of the exam experience, doubly so considering I had no control over the lost time and was increasingly alarmed at the amount of "thumb twiddling" time NCARB expects myself and other candidates to tolerate.
Anybody have similar experiences?
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