PDD: Horrible Prometric Experience
I've submitted this through your customer service contact box but it bears repeating for the community. I had a horrifying experience writing PDD today. I logged onto Prometric an hour in advance as I typically do to be safe. It took Prometric 45min to match me with a proctor. I went through most of the exam before my screen suddenly went blank on one of the case study questions. I don’t know if the software has difficulty with the heavy drawing set PDFs—it certainly seems that way though the software is slow and deficient in many many ways. I had 10 questions and 48min left in my 4h5min exam when the software failed.
There was no issue with my internet and I was still connected to the proctor. She said to exit and log in again so I did. I waited 1h30min in line to be matched with a proctor. I tried to contact Prometric customer support over their unhelpful chat line and on the phone. Finally, I was connected to a proctor. After a full security check, he let me into my exam. I worked for less than 10min before the software screen went blank again.
I exited and logged back in. I waited and waited to be connected to a proctor. After 20min I was connected to a proctor. He said since my exam failed twice, if I enter again and get disconnected a third time, they would have to reschedule my exam. He strongly urged me to call technical support before I logged back in. I told him I'd had difficulty contacting anyone to troubleshoot. He said I will be able to get help. I exited and called 3 numbers and 2 chat lines before I was connected to someone. The employee on the phone provided little help aside from giving me the number that I would need to call to reschedule my exam.
I tried to enter my exam again, waited for a proctor for another 20min before he logged in and told me he needs my technical support ticket number before he can connect me back to my exam. I had to call and get a ticket number but this time I wasn’t lucky to just wait 20min before I could be let in. I had to wait 1 hour for a proctor to be matched with me. This experience was so excruciating that I was relieved for it to be over no matter the outcome.
With the amount of mental and emotional stress this process entailed for me I wasn’t surprised to see that I didn’t pass the division—almost 7 hours after I logged in to do a 4h5min exam. I request that NCARB looks into the unacceptable and inappropriate conduct by Prometric. I wrote this exam under extremely unreasonable conditions provided by NCARB and Prometric and would like to not wait 2 months to do this rescheduled exam. I had to speak to no less than 12 Prometric and NCARB customer service employees during the course of a single exam. I cannot think of any professional institution that sees this as an appropriate treatment of its members.
Hey, I had a very similar experience. I got bumped off seven times during my exam. It was very different getting tech support from Prometric. The tech is not listed anywhere. I even logged back in to get a proctor to see if they could give me the tech number, which they did not have. After waiting on hold for 45 mins, I finally got to a person (wrong department) who was kind enough to give me the tech number. Once reaching tech, he did now know the requirements for NCARB. He instructed me to uninstall the proctor software and reinstalled it. It was roughly 1.25 hours of tech support during my exam. The 7 time I got bumped off was when I had three questions left. It was not fun and very stressful. Lasting, each proctor made me do something different to my space. The proctors are not consistent. I choose not to see my results. I’m waiting for my email.
thanks for reaching out. I look at your website often and have watch several YouTube’s. I really liked your take on FAILING score report cards and how it’s not beneficial information.
Agree with INSIDE Prometric. That can be a mess as well. My situation, Our local testing center UGA was/is closed. Closest testing center was more than 2.5 hours away plus I was trying to take this in a certain time. I could not get the moons align. Earlier this year I had a successful experience using remote proctoring, with a little patients it can work. I don’t think its any better than a center. My lastest being July 14th was off the chart a mess. I’m under the gun with my last exam before the rolling clock gets me. Remote Proctor now mentions the issue with PDFS what to do, not very clear (like most of the exam questions). The case study’s are full of PDFs. If it does not go well for me then, I have one more shot in October, which i was thinking about taking your bootcamp, but I would need to sit for the exam before your prep course ends. I’m thinking about using Fankaar Institute. They have prep class that meets my schedule. Anyways I’m still waiting for my exam results.
I had a similar experience and posted about it here:
I spent 7 grueling hours trying to write the PPD exam and couldn't complete it. A few days later NCARB emailed me saying I can't give the exam for another two months because I've been exposed to the majority of the questions!!
When you get to your proctor they will put some PDF information in the chat box. It was not that useful. It really was an FYI or a just in case. The system seemed to crash more during the case studies (4 times). The proctor’s did not have the tech support number and they were the ones to recommend I call. It took me and wife calling the Prometric’s 800 number. My wife got through and patched me. Here is the tech support number 800-226-7958. Also note promectirc has two different pieces of software to run the exam (learned this from tech support). Only one works with NCARB because NCARB requires an external camera. Another piece of advance, have some extra bed sheets. I took my exam in an open space, on the lower level. Lots of natural light not many window coverings, etc. I started the exam on my screen porch (awesome because this where i did all my study, it was a comfortable location for me) which they had no issue with. After my second crash I moved inside. I had different proctors for each time I logged back on, each one had me do something different to my space. Including removing my wedding band which i wore at the beginning of the exam and wore halfway through.
This is the message I received from NCARB after a few back and forth emails with regard to my testing issues.
“Hello Christopher Evans,
Thank you for contacting the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) to share your recent exam experience. We understand it was less than satisfactory and we apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. Ultimately, NCARB is committed to supporting our customers on their licensure journey so this feedback is important to us. We have granted a courtesy seat credit to reschedule. Please be aware seat credits expire a year after issuance.
We have shared this information with our Exams and Development team. Ultimately, NCARB is committed to supporting our customers on their licensure journey so this feedback is important to us.”
Christopher Evans where does Remote Proctor mention what to do with PDFs - can I review before exam? I found this, but not sure if this is what's causing the crashes for folks: https://ehelp.prometric.com/proproctor/s/article/PPL-TECH013-PDF-Docking-For-Case-Exhibit-Based-Exams?language=en_US
I am baffled that this is a reoccurring situation. Not looking forward to my PDD home proctor next week. It is unacceptable that it happens and doubly unacceptable that NCARB require a 2 month wait. These should be immediate re-takes - IF the crashing issue gets rectified by Prometric, otherwise, rolling clock needs to be changed as this is completely not the fault of the exam taker.
Thanks Khorshid for the original post and thanks Nikita and Christopher for your follow up. This morning I was able to obtain two Prometric Pro Proctor contact tech support phone numbers (second is the same Christopher used):
These were shared with me when I asked this morning during my test run appointment, which I'm glad to have experienced. I feel like these should be in huge bold text within our confirmation appointment emails that are sent to us. Maybe I missed it but I couldn't find a phone number on the Pro Proctor "help" or "contact us" page.
I also had technical difficulties during my remote proctored exam today. With less than 30 minutes left on the clock, I opened the digital whiteboard to make some notes to answer a question, and was unable to close it. This has happened to me before on a previous exam. I reported this issue immediately to the proctor who tried troubleshooting it unsuccessfully for a while and by the time she told me to try logging out and back in, the clock had run out and I wasn't able to complete the remainder of the questions.
I want to emphasize that my computer's set-up was not the issue, I have carefully followed all of the NCARB and Prometric set-up requirements and had no issues with the check-in process and security procedures on my end. It did take 2 attempts to get me checked-in, the 1st person's video kept cutting out and she asked me to open my laptop lid which of course booted me out of ProProctor since my laptop is connected to an external monitor per the requirements. I had to log back in and was finally able to check-in the 2nd try with no issues since that person had a better connection and didn't ask me to open my laptop lid again after I explained to him what happened. I also don't think it's fair to have these situations count as "Fails" since they register as that in the system.
Sadly fears realized. Can't say you all didn't warn me. I started a new post about my own terrible experience today and I've logged it all to Pro Proctor and Ncarb's support systems. Annie - completely agree that should not be registered as a "fail". The crashes / frustration / time lost was unacceptable in my experience. I still can't believe this is happening.
I've had a similar painful experience. I've attatched the letter that was sent to Prometric, NCARB, and my state AIA chapter and architectural board. I've not heard from anyone yet, but I'm not going to let this drop.
I want to submit a complaint about the experience I had last night with your proctors for my PDD exam. Twice I was kicked off the initial set up with two different proctors. After we went through the inspection process, and I started my exam I was interrupted every hour with questions:
- "Why am I looking down?" --- because I was trying to type numbers for the calculator. This is the question I was asked by the 1st proctor.
- "Why am I putting my hand on my face?" --- I was instructed to not put my hand near my mouth. This is ridiculous! It was late and I was holding my head up with my hand. This is the question I was asked by my second proctor two hours into the exam. They continued to chat with me when I asked to go back to the exam...losing time because the timer was not paused.
- "Where is your phone?" --- my phone was still in the spot I had left it turned off and had shown it to the first proctor. This was the question that the third proctor asked me three hours into the exam. Again, the proctor chatted with me, costing me more time. I begged to be left alone and they continued to add more chat comments.
- "I need to inspect your mouse" --- this was the fourth proctor's question after four hours into the exam. The mouse had been inspected by the first proctor. At this point, I began pleading to be left alone. I told them that they were costing me time and concentration. That if they continued with this I would surely fail. I asked for a transcript of the dialog - then silence. No more communication. No transcript was sent.
These interruptions are incredibly detrimental to a test taker's success. It breaks the concentration and rhythm. Not to mention that it is harassment!!! I had gone through a thorough inspection with the initial proctor. When they berated me with inane questions, my clock was not paused - causing me to lose a large amount of time. I was also docked one question when I asked for a bathroom break. I had not finished answering the question when the proctor paused my exam. This caused me to have an incomplete answer incomplete answer = incorrect answer for that question. This is inadmissible treatment of your clients.
Wow! I can't believe NCARB uses different software for the ARE exams.
NCARB really needs to re-evaluate its exam retake policy!
They sent out an email yesterday stating that the percentage of technical issues has reduced from 11% to 9% what they never mention in their glorious emails is that when technical issues do happen they will make you wait for two months similar to when you've failed the exam and that makes the 9% unfortunates feel worthless.
Wow Raluca. That sounds like such a painful process and sounds familiar. I'm glad you sent this to all the parties. If you can, follow up with NCARB at their Customer Relations team at 202-879-0520, and request that you get transferred to their senior team member who has reviewed your NCARB written request.
Same story, different day. Today was aweful. NCARB! Full stop Prometric from administering this test! Listen. No tech support, no solutions, angry test takers, frustrations beyond belief. Are you kidding me? After two hrs of not getting any help reconnecting to my exam apparently my solution was using my phone as a hot spot to renter the exam - which led me to hastily take the test for fear of being disconnected again. This shouldn’t be happening.
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