Announcing the New CPBD Practice Test


Steve: [00:00:00] Good afternoon. And welcome to Let’s Talk Certification.

[00:00:03] It’s a live recording of a podcast program hosted by the American Institute of Building Design.

[00:00:09] I want to thank you in advance for listening to this podcast.

[00:00:13] The American Institute of Building Design as a nonprofit professional association, building a better residential design profession, one designer at a time.

[00:00:22] The certified professional building designer or CPBD is a benchmark certification that defines competence, recognizes competency, shows commitment to the profession and helps with career advancement.

[00:00:37] Suppose you’re a building designer interested in earning your CPBD designation or wanting to get some excellent career advice.

[00:00:46] In that case, this is the podcast for you. You’re in the right place.

[00:00:49] I’m Steve, chief staff officer. I’m also a licensed building contractor and I’ve maintained my CPBD designation now for 24 years.

[00:01:00] And joining us behind the scenes is our producer Garrett.  My number one son.

[00:01:04] Also it’s him who orchestrates all of the Institute’s presence on the internet.

[00:01:10] It’s also him that will be managing your questions.

[00:01:13]As you think of him, go ahead and throw the questions in the question box.

[00:01:17]If you’re using the desktop version of Go To Webinar, you can ask your questions by expanding the question area, which is positioned in your attendee control panel.

[00:01:27] And then you type your questions right inside the chat part of the box.

[00:01:31] If you’re using the instant join viewer version of a Go To Webinar, click the question mark that’s in the control panel to ask your question.

[00:01:41] Garrett will be weaving those in when I stop to take a breath and to ask for questions.

[00:01:46]Like I say, as you think of them and on your mind, go ahead and type those questions and we’ll get them answered as quickly as possible.

[00:01:53] And if you’re like most of the people who are going to be listening to this, you are listening to the recorded version of the podcast.

[00:02:01] A lot of information about the CPBD program for you can be found by downloading the candidate handbook at

[00:02:12] A I B, but you can also ask questions by emailing, or you can also call (800) 366-2423.

[00:02:27] And by the way, the two, four, three, two, three spells AIBD.

[00:02:31] That would be 803 six six AIBD and choose extension number two, that takes you to Rusty Hudnet, our Certification Director.

[00:02:41]The CPBD exam is delivered virtually and you can take the test anywhere, almost any time, on almost any day, with any device that connects you to the internet.

[00:02:52] And when I wrote the script, that was true, but I’ve since learned that it’s not, I found out.that tablets are not able to be used with our proctoring service, Proctor U .

[00:03:04] I don’t know if it’s always been that way.

[00:03:06] I don’t think it has.

[00:03:08] I think that’s something new because of the lockdown and the pandemic.

[00:03:14] A lot more companies are using virtual proctoring instead of live testing centers.

[00:03:20] It could be a function of the security levels that have been increased in virtual proctoring that’s made it to where the tablets just haven’t caught up yet.

[00:03:29] For right now , desktop computers, laptops, not tablets, not mobile phones, but we’ll talk about that more down the road in this podcast.

[00:03:40] What I want to talk about is a couple of new opportunities that designers have for preparing themselves to take the CPBD exam.

[00:03:48] But before I do that, I’m excited to tell you about a recent discovery Khan

[00:03:54] That’s K H A  N

[00:03:58] Not a sponsor by the way.

[00:04:00] Khan Academy offers free online courses, lessons, and  practice tests or practice work books, I guess a better term.

[00:04:10] Having been a building designer for 30 plus years, what I found very helpful on this website was the ability to refresh my knowledge and skills in algebra and trigonometry and calculus.

[00:04:23]There’s all kinds of other educational opportunities for you at also, but I believe that having a good understanding of math and geometry is critical in architecture.

[00:04:34] can help.

[00:04:37] It’s free, but when you solve a complicated problem for your client using their survey and trigonometry, or when you design the most complicated roof you’ve ever designed, or when you pass the CPBD exam, Khan Academy will gladly accept your donations as a thank you.

[00:04:57] You can also pick up tips like this one that I just gave you every week by subscribing to my personal email, 4XFriday. It’s

[00:05:10] Every Friday I send out an exclusive email with four of the coolest things that I either found, learned, or experienced over the last seven days.

[00:05:19] The content includes new products, some ideas, tips, articles, things that I’m using, hacks and tricks.

[00:05:26] Maybe even some weird stuff.

[00:05:28] Cause every now and then I dig up some along the way.

[00:05:31] I used to do it more when I traveled a lot.

[00:05:33] But thats kinda been curbed to almost a complete halt lately.

[00:05:37] Anyway, that’s 4XFriday; 4, X, Friday.

[00:05:41] The four by is the pronunciation of the sizes of lumber and the way that’s phrased.

[00:05:46], go there and sign up.

[00:05:53] Now on to today’s topic, how to get prepared for the CPBD exam.

[00:05:58] The first of two announcements that I have is that we’re launching a new webpage, with a hyphen between building, designer, and books.

[00:06:11] It’s hyphen designer, hyphen books.

[00:06:16]The candidate handbook contains a bibliography.

[00:06:20] The bibliography is a list of books that were used to confirm that our item writers wrote questions that are correct.

[00:06:28] And more importantly, the bibliography was used to make sure that the answers to those questions are also correct.

[00:06:36]The resource list is not a requirement.

[00:06:39] You don’t have to have these books.

[00:06:41] There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of books written that answered the same questions in the same way.

[00:06:47] Eventually, the building designer books webpage will grow to include as many books as we can fit, or it’ll be like, a plethora of books.

[00:06:57] But for now, we’re focused on just getting to you easy access to what’s in the bibliography, hoping that’ll be helpful.

[00:07:06] Our A-Team has conveniently arranged all of the most recent additions of those books and they may not all be there, but we’re working on it.

[00:07:15] And we want it to be just one handy-dandy location.

[00:07:18] It’s, those dashes or hyphens between building, designer, and books.

[00:07:28] Now not to mention these are pretty good books.

[00:07:31]Even if you’re not preparing for the CPBD exam , this is where we hope to make an awesome resource for you as a building designer to be able to get access to very cool books.

[00:07:43] You’ll also notice when you go to the page that there are a section underneath of the reference materials, that is a section that I’ve added that are the books that I reference in my 4xFriday email, too.

[00:07:55]It’s going to be a work in progress.

[00:07:58] We hope to continually be adding and hopefully you guys let us know what you’re reading so that we can make sure that the rest of the industry has access to the same books that you’re using as well.

[00:08:08]The immediate goal though, is to make it easy for you to prepare for the CPBD exam.

[00:08:14] I think of it like bike racing, which I hope to be doing in a couple of days in a Florida State Championship over in St. Pete .

[00:08:24] Cycling was one of those things that the faster you go, the more resistance you actually create for yourself.

[00:08:29]There’s also more resistance caused by nature and physics, but as a cyclist, I invest in lighter and more aerodynamic equipment and position myself in the most aerodynamic position as I can.

[00:08:43] No details overlooked.

[00:08:45] Even the tiny little brake pads on my bike have been stealthily hidden inside the wheel force, lower down, even that little bit of wind resistance.

[00:08:55] It’s also like Garrett’s approach to our email communications, our eNewsletter, and our website design, a process that he learned, or at least he has shared with me from a book called Don’t Make Me Think, it’s the goal that we have to getting you from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

[00:09:13] And with  the less resistance as possible.

[00:09:16]Hopefully building designer book’s webpage has done the same or will do the same for you.

[00:09:21] And also the second item that I’m about to announce.

[00:09:25] But of course you don’t have to purchase these books from us. I have to mention that.

[00:09:30] These are just multiple references on the same topic.

[00:09:34] There are numerous outlets out there that you can create your library or duplicate our bibliography using.

[00:09:42]In fact, you’ll find a statement somewhere on the web page that lets you know, that AIBD is an Amazon Associate, which means we earn a commission from each of your purchases, if they’re qualifying as an associate.

[00:09:54] Like I always say, with no margin, there’s no mission.

[00:09:56]If you choose to purchase books from, you’ll be supporting an organization that’s working to help you at the same time.

[00:10:05] Anyway, when you get there, you’ll find a photo of the book cover, a short description of the title, and possibly some short quotes pulled from reviews of the book.

[00:10:14] Every click leads you to Amazon with options for purchasing.

[00:10:18] Some of them may be used, some of them new.

[00:10:20] And in some cases you might even be able to rent the book.

[00:10:23] That was something that I learned when we were developing the CPBD exam and we were getting resources for our item writers.

[00:10:30] For many of our item writers, we didn’t buy the books. We rented them.

[00:10:33] Which was cool because it caused them to have a deadline to finish their task.

[00:10:37] They had to send the books back .

[00:10:39] It was a month, maybe two.

[00:10:41] And instead of purchasing them , the books arrived, we used them for what we needed to use them for, they came with a shipping label, we pop them back in UPS and send them off.

[00:10:49]Again, no, that’s something that you might not want to do because you might find out that it’s a really cool resource and there might’ve been an option to actually purchase the book at the end of the the rental.

[00:11:01] I don’t remember.

[00:11:02] And I don’t think that option was available 100% all the time for every book either.

[00:11:07] But just let you know that option may be out there, take a look for it.

[00:11:12]At this point, any questions has come in, Garrett, about designer books webpage, the bibliography or anything we’ve talked about so far?

[00:11:22] Garrett: [00:11:22] No.

[00:11:23]Steve: [00:11:23] Cool.

[00:11:25] Garrett: [00:11:25] There is questions, but let’s hold off until we’re in that area.

[00:11:28] Richard, I see you. We’ll get to the answer, but not yet.

[00:11:32] Steve: [00:11:32] All right. Sounds good. 

[00:11:34] We’re either waiting for you to type your questions in, let me remind you of another tool for preparing for the AIBD exam and this opportunity exists or has existed for a year or more.

[00:11:45] And it’s with Ron Blank and Associates.

[00:11:47] They call that AIBD by Division.

[00:11:50] Ron Blank and Associates is an AIBD CE provider who makes it incredibly easy for you to get continuing education or prepare for your CPBD exam.

[00:12:00]They’ve organized their library of their complimentary prerecorded webinars in a way that aligns with the CPBD test content, which is derived by performing an industry wide job analysis that AIBD did in 2015.

[00:12:16]You can find this in the candidate handbook.

[00:12:17] I think it starts on page 39, but all the information is broken down in what’s called knowledge domains.

[00:12:25]And in the candidate handbook, it even includes the weights of the content, meaning how many questions are in each of the different domain divisions.

[00:12:36]There’s 147 knowledge statements classified within four domains: business administration, business practices, design process, and building design.

[00:12:47] The last one, building design, is the most massive weighted one with 111 knowledge statements and 60% of all the test questions.

[00:12:55] It’s also the section that Ron Blank and Associates has the most courses for.

[00:13:01]All you have to do is a Google search for the phrase AIBD courses by division, and you’ll find the links to both and

[00:13:12] Or you  can go, click on the online courses tab, and I’m using online courses  with air quotes and in the center of the screen, you click a tab titled by AIBD division and you’ll find there on their web page, the list of all the courses and they’ll correspond with the different knowledge areas in our job analysis.

[00:13:35] And why is that important?

[00:13:37] It’s because you’re going to start doing a practice exam, or if you happen to take the exam and you don’t pass it, you’re going to get your score broken down, in both cases, by those divisions.

[00:13:50]You can tell right away where you’re strong at and where do you need to put together a little bit of a study strategy.

[00:13:57]That’s it. I just unveiled the big unveiling without the drum roll, but we have launched .

[00:14:04] It is active now. The CPBD practice test.

[00:14:08] People asked for it.

[00:14:10] Rusty our certification director kept pounding on me saying, when are we going to get a practice test?

[00:14:15] People need to be comfortable. They need to test their computer systems. They need to see what it’s going to be like.

[00:14:21] And now you can do that.

[00:14:23] They say that practice is perfect. You’ve heard that right? Practice makes perfect.

[00:14:28] I’m here to tell you that’s bull honkey.

[00:14:30] Practice makes permanent, at least that’s what I was taught by a baseball coach, Bob Shaw.

[00:14:38] He was a ten-year major league pitcher, all-star, and author.

[00:14:41] He ended up being a businessman in the Jupiter area.

[00:14:44] I ended up playing for him in American Legion baseball, twice, in like a local traveling all-star team that I played on.

[00:14:51]If you want to check him out, just do a Google search for Bob Shaw baseball and he’ll pop up.

[00:14:56] But he taught me the practice does not make perfect.

[00:14:59] It makes permanent.

[00:15:01] He had a lot of other colorful sayings too, but that’s the one that I can repeat today.

[00:15:06] If you practice it wrong, you’re always going to do it wrong.

[00:15:09]We’ve tried to create a way that makes it to where you can easily do it right from the beginning.

[00:15:15] And then when the day comes that you’re going to become a CPBD, boom.

[00:15:20] It happens without second thought. It happens without stress. It happens with as little effort as we can make possible.

[00:15:30] It’s like when I used to skydive, I remember sitting in the airplane on the way to altitude.

[00:15:35] In my mind, I would be like going through the motions that if the parachute didn’t open, where are my D-rings? How do I cut those away?

[00:15:42] Where’s my rip cord for the reserve parachute?

[00:15:45] I’m going through this in my mind, hundreds and hundreds of times.

[00:15:48] Literally hundreds of times. I made hundreds of jumps .

[00:15:51] 52 in one day.

[00:15:53] But I was ready so that if something happened, I could just kick right in with the reaction right away.

[00:16:00] And by having this practice exam, we’re hoping to be able to create that same scenario for you.

[00:16:05] We’re dealing with the internet here, we’re dealing with technical equipment.

[00:16:09] We’re dealing with things that require electric power.

[00:16:13] Stuff is going to happen. It could happen.

[00:16:16] And we want you to be prepared, not only for the questions, but almost every scenario.

[00:16:21] And not like we built in automatic power failure, but that’s a good idea.

[00:16:27] I didn’t really think of it until now, but anyway, let me move on about the details.

[00:16:32] We can get cute with very complicated illustrations when we get to the questions, but the CPBD practice test’s goal is to give you an accurate representation of what you’re going to experience while taking the actual CPBD exam.

[00:16:48] But there’s going to be two small differences.

[00:16:51] The first difference is you won’t have a Proctor.

[00:16:54] We require that there be a live Proctor and we use Proctor U and in the candidate handbook, there’s instructions as well as once you become a candidate, Rusty sends you written instructions on how to set up your Proctor U account, and how to schedule your CPBD exam through Proctor U.

[00:17:12] And then there’s steps that they will send you once you register with them, that teaches you what to prepare for the day of the event.

[00:17:21] But for here, you’re going to be able to take the exam anytime, 24/seven.

[00:17:26] You don’t have to worry about scheduling a Proctor.

[00:17:29] But you’re also not going to have somebody to help you unless it happens to be business hours.

[00:17:34] And in the instruction page of the practice test, it’ll give you the information that you need to be able to contact us if during Monday through Friday, eight to six or eight to five maybe,  whether or not you have problems , and whether you’ll be able to get help right away.

[00:17:50] The other difference is that it’s not three hours long.

[00:17:54] The practice test. The real test is.

[00:17:56] The practice test is only one hour.

[00:17:58]The CPBD exam to become certified has 175 questions and the practice tests has 58 questions.

[00:18:06] Both provide you the exact same 62 seconds per question to answer.

[00:18:11] It’s just a smaller scale model, so to speak.

[00:18:15] Although it’s one third in length the composition of the questions that are included in the practice exam, which are totally separate, you won’t see a practice question on the CPBD exam or vice versa , but the composition of how they’re arranged and the topics that they’re on is identical.

[00:18:35] For example, I mentioned those four different knowledge areas or knowledge domains, businesses administration: 10% of the questions come from that domain or in the case of the practice exam, six questions.

[00:18:49] Business practices: also 10% also six questions.

[00:18:53] Design processes: 20% of the questions on the practice exam or 12 questions.

[00:19:00] And finally building design. Remember I said that was the heaviest weighted domain with 60%.

[00:19:05] The practice exam will have 34 questions.

[00:19:08] In business administration, the type of topics that you get questioned on are going to be ethics, licensure, insurance, employment, law, accounting, and marketing.

[00:19:20] In business practices the kind of questions you get are going to be about project management, programming, and due diligence, which is fancy words, I think for scheduling and communications and also contracts.

[00:19:32] In the design process domain, the questions are going to be about the concept development of your project, about the construction document development of a project and about the contract completion of a project.

[00:19:46] And then finally building design 60% of the weight. 34 questions in the practice exam.

[00:19:51] I don’t know what that equates to in the real exam. 60% of 175, whatever that turns out to be.

[00:19:57] Your questions are going to be on building planning, site design, foundations, concrete, masonry, framing systems, thermal and moisture protection, MEP, which is mechanical, electrical and plumbing, of course, building science, sustainability and domestic architecture, which for those of you that have been around for a while, it used to be in a section called historic architecture.

[00:20:19] Not necessarily historic anymore, I guess the questions.

[00:20:22] It’s about a domestic or American architecture.

[00:20:26]Those are what the makeup of the questions are.

[00:20:29] And like I say, it’s the exact same proportions, the exact same compilation.

[00:20:34] The questions will be random.

[00:20:36]It’s not like you’ll go through business questions and then design questions and then building questions.

[00:20:41] They get randomized and there is a bigger pool of questions than 58 in the practice exam.

[00:20:47]If you take the practice test more than once, there’s a good chance that you’ll see some fresh questions that you didn’t see before.

[00:20:56] There’s also a good possibility that the practice test items, even though they’re not identical to, or the same test questions that are on the CPBD exam, they would probably be written by the same people though, which means that there’s going to be some consistency from one to the other, in the form of the question and the way they’re presented which makes the practice tests even more valuable to you.

[00:21:19] It was created using leftover items from when we developed the CPBD exam.

[00:21:25]I remember anyway, growing up there was these Saturday morning cartoons called Schoolhouse Rock and there was one where this little boy says, okay, you still got to climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol building here in Washington.

[00:21:40] But I wonder who is that sad little scrap of paper.

[00:21:43] And then that sad little scrap of paper jumps up and starts singing. I’m a middle, it’s a long way till I’m sitting in committee, but I know I’ll be a law someday.

[00:21:53] And my singing sucks I know, but he goes on to say, at least I hope and pray that I will, but today I’m still just a bill.

[00:22:01]That’s how a bunch of our questions were.

[00:22:03] Just sitting around in this database of items that we had technically called an item pool.

[00:22:10]When we developed the CPBD exam, we had over 600 items back in 2018.

[00:22:16] 225 of those were used for a standard setting process, which is how we created our cut score.

[00:22:23] And it was also a way to pre-test the questions.

[00:22:26] It was narrowed down out of the 225 to 175 that you now see on the current CPBD exam.

[00:22:33] I don’t know exactly how many there are. There’s like over a hundred. Hundred to 140 of those leftover questions that have now been developed for the practice exam.

[00:22:42] And when you take the practice test, it pulls from those a hundred plus questions to create the 58 that you practice with each time you practice.

[00:22:50]But also in addition to that, we are adding 25 new items or questions to our CPBD exam going forward.

[00:23:02] And as those are added, there are questions that are removed to be replaced with, and in order to do that we need to write 50 to 75 new questions a year.

[00:23:14] Right now I’m planting the seed that if you want to volunteer to become an item writer, that door is going to be open like very quickly.

[00:23:24] Just throw it in the question box if you want to right now and we’ll make a note of it so that we can contact you after the podcast.

[00:23:31]We need to put together a team every year that writes 50 to 75 questions that can go through the process and get narrowed down to the new 25 questions that we put on the CPBD exam every year.

[00:23:44] And then when we replace those test items, those questions come off the exam and will become practice test items so that we never have to write a practice test item again .

[00:23:56] Those in the future that do the practice test will just be taking questions or using questions that were old CPBD exam questions.

[00:24:05] I know that sounds a little complicated. Hopefully it made sense.

[00:24:08] I should have probably written out the explanation a little better.

[00:24:11]But here’s what happens to the life of an item.

[00:24:15] Kind of like that bill that climbs all those steps on Capitol Hill, there’s a lot of steps that are involved in at a CPBD exam question.

[00:24:24]Here’s how it starts: a psychometrition first measures the validity, the reliability, and the fairness of the question.

[00:24:32] A psychometrician also is an integral part of the process of creating an exam that’s valid and has reliable test language.

[00:24:42] Now, remember I told you these questions and the practice tests were probably, there’s a good chance anyway, were written by the same people who wrote the questions in the actual tests.

[00:24:52]There’s probably a consistency already there, but we have professionals that ensure that continues.

[00:24:59] When I say it’s reliable, it means that every time you take that practice test or every person that takes the actual exam , it looks the same, it feels the same, it communicates the same and people can react similarly, every time they take it.

[00:25:15]We’ve had professionals that have looked at the questions, they’ve gone through the vetting process.

[00:25:19] Then what they do is they go through another vetting process that’s made up by a group of subject matter experts.

[00:25:27] The subject matter experts, they’re also referred to as SMEs or sometimes pronounced as SMEEs.

[00:25:35]Those people gather and look at every single item.

[00:25:39] They’re asked questions , “is this still relevant to your business?”

[00:25:43] And the subject matter experts are you, by the way.

[00:25:45] It’s people in the design industry.

[00:25:47] It’s consumers of the design, your design process. Not necessarily meaning homeowner type consumers, but the designs that you create are being consumed by building officials, by plumbers, by electricians, by building contractors, by product manufacturers.

[00:26:03]We try to draw from as many different diverse backgrounds as we can to make sure that the questions are relevant and it also gives us the ability to determine their , what’s the word I’m looking for, level of difficulty, so that when questions are replaced on the test or when we created the practice test, we’re using the same level of difficulty as what you’ll experience in the real test so that it is a life size, a scaled down, I should say, example of what you’re going to experience.

[00:26:39] The only difference between the practice test at this point of the development is that  if a question was going to go on to be a real test item on the CPBD exam that you get certified using, they go on as a pre-test question.

[00:26:54] That’s the 25 I was looking for volunteers to help us start writing in the future.

[00:27:00]When they go on, there’s like this 25/75 rule that after they’ve performed for awhile, the psychometricians will then review the results of how that question performed.

[00:27:10]If a lot of people get it wrong, it gets flagged.

[00:27:13] If a lot of people get it right, it gets flagged.

[00:27:15] And it doesn’t mean that it’s not a good question.

[00:27:18] It could be that a lot of people get it wrong, but then the subject matter experts look at it and say that’s a very important item in our industry. They should know that.

[00:27:27]The question still goes through and becomes a test item, but it’s given a very high level of difficulty.

[00:27:33]That’s how the test was developed and where the questions come from in both cases.

[00:27:38]Garrett, was there any questions that you’ve gotten so far that were relevant to what or how far we’ve gone?

[00:27:43]Garrett: [00:27:43] Nope, not yet.

[00:27:45] Steve: [00:27:45] Excellent. Okay.

[00:27:47]AIBD has invested over a hundred thousand dollars in both the CPBD exam and the practice test.

[00:27:54] Many of you have contributed your time, money, and knowledge as subject matter experts possibly.

[00:28:01]The questions are identical, like I said, but they’re also delivered identically and that’s using a platform owned by a company named Gauge.

[00:28:11] You’ll see that when you log in to

[00:28:14] First, you have to submit your certification application. It needs to be approved.

[00:28:19] And then our A-Team Rusty, our Certification Director I mentioned before, will set you up in your account.

[00:28:28] He’ll send you your username and password.

[00:28:30] It is possible for you to do that yourself in advance.

[00:28:34] And it’s not a big deal if it happens.

[00:28:36] Rusty checks  to see if there’s any duplicates before he sets up a second account for you.

[00:28:41] But, I mention this because the practice test is only going to be available to those people who are approved candidates.

[00:28:49]You can start your application online at

[00:28:55] You don’t have to pay for your application until you’re done filling out the full form and you’ve uploaded all your support documents.

[00:29:01] That’s when you hit the submit button and you’re asked for a hundred dollars application fee.

[00:29:07] That a hundred dollars application fee includes the staff time involved in verifying and approving your application.

[00:29:15] But it also includes up to five attempts for your practice test, but you have to be a candidate.

[00:29:24] We don’t sell this outside of people being candidates.

[00:29:28] That’s the only way to see it, the only way to experience it.

[00:29:31]When you get your or your G auge personal account set up, which by the way, you can get to it at , the CPBD  Candidate handbook uses another link, which also works

[00:29:51] But both of them are the ways we’re going to be getting the candidate handbook as quickly as possible, updated to include these instructions that I’m giving on the practice test so that anybody that unfortunately, it wasn’t able to get onto this podcast or will be finding it as a recording will still learn about the practice test.

[00:30:14] If you’re already a candidate, and you already have your login information, you may not actually be seeing the test because there’s something that we need to do in the background.

[00:30:28] There are a lot of candidates that are already in the system and since finishing this and launching it as quickly as possible, and Rusty has been working diligently to go through the list of candidates and making sure that they’ve gone in and he’s gone in and turned on the CPBD practice test as something that you can see when you log in to your account.

[00:30:52] It has to be done at our end. It’s not something you can do.

[00:30:55] And if you go in and you don’t see it, then you want to just either email or use that 800 number three six six two four two three press extension 2.

[00:31:09] Contact Rusty during working hours, because it was either maybe your candidacy in the CPBD program has expired or possibly Rusty just happened to overlook your your name when he was going through the list of people turning them on.

[00:31:23] Possibly I’m ahead of the curve with this podcast and we’re letting you know this faster than Rusty can get everybody caught up.

[00:31:33]There’ll be a little bit of a transition time.

[00:31:36]Just let you know, if you get to the end of this podcast, you go online, don’t panic.

[00:31:41] We’ll work on it with you.

[00:31:42]I read all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, at least the ones that I’m aware of anyway.

[00:31:47] And I think it was the book Tipping Point that I read about his 10,000 hour rule, where it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert of something of anything in the field that you’re doing the 10,000 hours of.

[00:32:02] So our practice test is only one hour and I don’t think that you’re going to need to do it 10,000 times to get a high score, but we’ve invested in it in hopes that completing it a few times can help you achieve better results.

[00:32:17] And I’ve laid out my suggested strategy.

[00:32:21] Here it is.

[00:32:23]Once you’re approved, take the practice test immediately. This sets a benchmark.

[00:32:29] It’s challenging to know what you don’t know.

[00:32:32] By taking the test right away, you’ll identify the gaps.

[00:32:36] That’s where the practice comes in.

[00:32:40] You’ll get a score immediately at the end.

[00:32:42] You’ll get to see the questions.

[00:32:43]The scores are supposed to be given to you in the form of those four different knowledge domains so that you can go in and see where you need to study.

[00:32:53]You also get a sense of timing.

[00:32:56]Given that three hour exam is a marathon length, I know that not everybody’s used to sitting at the computer, not going to the bathroom, not leaving your seat for three hours.

[00:33:07] It’s also easy for you to lose track of time and all of a sudden the time runs out and you’ve still got questions to answer.

[00:33:14]Using the practice tests as an ability for you to pace is going to be a part of your strategy as well.

[00:33:23] Take it immediately find out what that benchmark is that you’re trying to beat.

[00:33:28] Who knows, maybe you’ll pass it or get a score that’s equivalent to a passing score the first time.

[00:33:36] But continue to use it a second time to get a sense of that pacing.

[00:33:41]62 seconds per question is what it averages out to.

[00:33:45] Some are going to be faster to answer.

[00:33:47] Some may take longer because it’ll take a little research.

[00:33:50] I remember when I took the builder’s exam in Florida, the first question was a question on payroll.

[00:33:57] I hate payroll.

[00:33:59] And it had like a guy that was divorced and had to pay alimony and another one that had to pay child support or something.

[00:34:05] I’m like, Oh my gosh, this is going to take me hours.

[00:34:08] I turned the exam over and opened up the back page, looked at the very last question and it was like a rectangular roof and they asked me what the area of plywood would be.

[00:34:18] That took me like two seconds.

[00:34:20]You’re going to want to use the practice test to learn how to evaluate the question and to decide, is this something I can handle right now or something that I can put off till later.

[00:34:32] The practice test gives you, and the real test gives you, the ability to bookmark questions.

[00:34:38] It gives you the ability to skip questions.

[00:34:40]You’re going to take your time the second time on that pacing. Learn the functions.

[00:34:46] You’re going to be able to start and stop the practice test.

[00:34:49] That doesn’t happen in the real exam, but it will happen for you in the practice tests.

[00:34:54] Now, when you stop it, you’ve got 10 days to start it again or your practice test that is incomplete just evaporates.

[00:35:02] It does not count against your five attempts.

[00:35:04] You have to actually complete it for it to count as one of the five attempts.

[00:35:08]Whatever you’ve done up to that point, it’s going to get lost and you have to start over again, which is fine.

[00:35:12] If that’s your goal, I’m just letting you know that you can stop it, but it doesn’t sit there forever.

[00:35:18] It moves on without you. 

[00:35:20]Again, get accustomed to judging the questions.

[00:35:24] You’re going to be able to skip them.

[00:35:26] You’re going to be able to bookmark them.

[00:35:28] And then you want to be able to learn how to navigate coming back to those, making sure that you don’t miss any skipped items so you get used to reading the screen that shows you what’s been answered what hasn’t been answered.

[00:35:41] You’re going to see the screen that gets you used to what’s been bookmarked and how to unbookmark it.

[00:35:46]That’s the second time.

[00:35:48] First time set your benchmark. Second time is a study tool.

[00:35:53]And when I say start and stop it.

[00:35:54] And I mentioned not coming back for 10 days, that’s when  you stopped it because I got to go home for the day or a meeting all of a sudden started or something like that.

[00:36:05] But what I’m saying too is realize that you can stop and start.

[00:36:08] If a question is really difficult, stop the test.

[00:36:11]Figure out why it’s difficult.

[00:36:14] Learn where you can find the answer and in which resource, and highlight the book or put notes in the margin, put notes in the glossary, put notes on the inside cover.

[00:36:25] You can’t bring written notes to the exam with you.

[00:36:27] In the candidate handbook there’s a list of what you can and can’t bring.

[00:36:31] But , you can write, you can highlight or tab your books.

[00:36:34] As you’re going through this may be a great opportunity to do those functions.

[00:36:40]You’re going to want to stop the exam and started again and go to the next section.

[00:36:43] Then after you’ve done all that, you take the practice test a third time and measure results.

[00:36:50]At this time then no stopping and restarting.

[00:36:52] You start, you finish.

[00:36:54] Check your progress based on the first time you took the test and then you have two more opportunities to take the test on top of that as a cushion.

[00:37:04]Gambling on the premise that those three attempts is going to be what you need. And many of you may not even need all three.

[00:37:12] Again, I want to highlight the quirks of the testing platform that you’re going to come across and want to learn about.

[00:37:19] And that’s bookmarking, skipping questions, knowing the format inside and out, not only helps you with speed.

[00:37:25] It helps you feel more comfortable.

[00:37:27] The more comfortable you feel, the less stress you’re going to be.

[00:37:31] And the less stress you’re going to be, the more you’re going to look forward to this.

[00:37:35] And the more you’re going to be excited about starting the exam, instead of just being excited when you finished and you’ve passed .

[00:37:43] And it also helps you to create your own personal strategy.

[00:37:46] This is what I’m visioning.

[00:37:48] I haven’t taken a test in gosh, I don’t know how many years.

[00:37:52] It’s been a long time since I’ve taken the CPBD exam. And I took my builders exam before that.

[00:37:58] I’m counting on you guys to be my guests on this podcast in the future so that we can discuss what you learned by taking the practice test and how you applied it to the r eal CPBD exam when you became certified.

[00:38:13] That’s what I’m excited about.

[00:38:15]In all likelihood, there’s a lot that could be riding on the results of your tests.

[00:38:20] Perhaps you’re working in one of those private communities in Texas, or Florida.

[00:38:24] I think maybe possibly California, where there’s architectural review committees and those architectural review committees, or ARC’s require that either you be licensed or certified in order to submit plans to the ARC.

[00:38:39]Regardless of what the reasons are that you’re taking the CPBD exam, we understand that tension is probably running high for you.

[00:38:47] And one way to ensure maximum comfort and normal exam anxiety is to practice.

[00:38:55] The more often you sit for this practice test, the more natural it’ll feel the day of the actual test.

[00:39:00] You have enough to think about that day, such as technology, the average start time for CPPD exams between 20 and 21 minutes is what Proctor U tells us. So the reason why it. Takes that long as we’ve got to validate who you are, first of all, so you’ll know you’ll read along, or if you may already know that you have to have a photo ID, but also you’ve got to test the equipment.

[00:39:22] So this gives you the opportunity to do that in advance. And I’m hoping to see that 20 to 21 minute average start time, start to reduce over time. So the test may look or present differently if you’re on a Mac versus a PC. So with the practice test, any incompatibilities can be found. You can practice with both.

[00:39:43] You can find out which one may or may not be better. Theoretically, you would think it would be identical. I don’t know. I’m a PC guy. I’ve never done the with a Mac. But also, it’s probably a good idea that whatever system you use to practice on, that’s the same system you use to to go in and Take the actual exam.

[00:40:04]When I’m racing my bike, I trained with the one that I’m going to race on. I have different wheels for training wheels that purposely make me work harder. And theoretically, the ones I put on the bike for race day make me go faster. It may could all, it could all be in my head, I don’t know.

[00:40:19] But we want to make sure that. What you’re moving into is exactly what you’ve practiced on so that there aren’t, we mitigate as many surprises as possible on the real exam day.  Now the one thing that won’t get practiced is the use of your webcam. Because you don’t have a Proctor when you’re taking the practice test.

[00:40:42] When you use Proctor, you, they require that you have a webcam and a microphone. And when you set up your account with Proctor, you and I don’t remember the URL off the top of my head, I think I do, but I don’t wanna say it wrong. It’s in the candidate handbook, but when you set up your account with Proctor, you.

[00:41:02]They have a compatibility section, which is found on their main portal page. So you log in, you land on the main portal page. You scroll down to the bottom, or I think there might be tabs in the upper, right? And it’s going to say compatibility in the compatibility section. You can look for a minimum requirements link.

[00:41:22]There’s a long checklist of items that you can use to verify if the computer you’re using. Hit the bandwidth you your internet, it has is acceptable. Everything that you need to test your equipment, there’s also any browser compatibility check. You press that button. It goes online. You gotta be online to do it.

[00:41:41] Proctor Hugo’s goes online. They immediately come back with a report that tells you whether or not your compatibility is good and what needs to be improved if it needs to be improved. So hopefully the recent pandemic and the associated lockdowns have caused you to get a webcam because like zoom meetings are just like the normal.

[00:42:03] Right now. So hopefully that’s not an issue. Regardless, once you’re approved as a candidate, you’ll be sent the instructions to set up and test your Proctor view, account connections. They another helpful Cool that Proctor U has is called a readiness guide link, and then also a test equipment link.

[00:42:26] So be sure and use all the resources that Proctor you has schedule yourself enough time, not only for the practice exam, but to practice signing on the practice Proctor you.  I think this is a good spot. The jumping in question, we’ve got about 15 minutes left Garrett. What do you got? Yeah. For both the practice test and the actual exam do you still allow scratch paper?

[00:42:52] Some of the online proctoring rules have changed for other tests since all the COVID stuff. That’s a great question. We do allow scratch paper because there’s going to be some questions that involve math. There’s only certain calculators that can be used. You’ll have to go into the candidate handbook and read that list.

[00:43:11] I think that once you get into Proctor, you, they also have a link that tells you what’s acceptable, but I’m not sure about that. But yes at the end of your test, when you have a Proctor watching you, they’re going to ask to see you destroy the The scratch paper that’s been written on at the end of the test, but yes, you can have it.

[00:43:30] What you can’t have is like a ring binder of handwritten notes. You can’t go online. You can have any book that you want. As long as it’s professionally bound, there are some exceptions for three ring binders. For example, the building codes come in a three ring binder printed ones anyway, so those are allowed and there might be a couple others that I’m forgetting, but again, that’s spelled out in the candidate handbook, but yes.

[00:43:57]Scratch paper. You’re going to want to have some of that with you. Some resharpened pencils with very good racers or a very good racer one or the other.

[00:44:06]All right. And just to reiterate, the books have to be physically physical in your hand books. Not e-books. And professionally bound, like the actual books when you buy them from the store. That’s correct. When Dr. Doctor sets you up, they’re going to lock you down into the screen that opens up your test in order to keep everything secure.

[00:44:31]For two reasons, one to make sure you’re not cheating, but number two, to make sure that somebody is not stealing the exam, particularly you, but I don’t want to make any accusations there.  So you get locked down. So unfortunately right now being able to use Like a mobile device or anything like that to get online as a secondary and access point is not acceptable.

[00:44:54] The only thing is real honest to goodness resource books that you grab off your library when they are off your shelves in the library. When the contractor calls and asked you a code question.

[00:45:03]Although, as I was saying that I realize a lot of people probably look that stuff up online now, right?  What you had mentioned bathroom breaks. What was the policy on bathroom breaks? There is none. There is a policy that no, the bathroom breaks it’s three hours. So that might be a different kind of training program for you other than you’re not going to be able to leave the screen for three hours.

[00:45:29]Too. If you like have conditions where you’re going to need to eat, you’re going to want to have snacks nearby, anything that you’re going to need to have. You’re going to want to have it. Arm’s length away. Your Proctor will ask you to move the webcam around and they will inspect your work area before and after you’ve taken the exam.

[00:45:47] Dennis asked the jurisdiction I am designing in is currently on the IRC 2015. What code does the test reference? You’d have to look in the bibliography. I think it’s the 2015. It may be the 2012, but you know what? They just adopted the 20, 21. I think. I think it’s in print now, too. Although nobody may have actually, no jurisdictions may have actually adopted it.

[00:46:15] The IRC adopted it and have it in publication. I think that there’s maybe only a handful that now have started adopting the 2018. The questions are based on a certain year and a year was published in the candidate handbook. So you’re definitely gonna want to look for that.  But that doesn’t mean that.

[00:46:33] That the other code books aren’t correct either.  We don’t go through and cross reference them from year to year, but but if you have access to someone else’s like for example, every time they produce a digital copy of the new handbook, like just recently they produced the 20, 21 edition you can buy A copy.

[00:46:56] That is red line that actually shows you the changes, which is cool

[00:47:00]States recognize the CPPD designation. Do we have a list they can reference? And also what is the AIBD doing to get non-participating States onboard to recognize  every state recognizes this, but. The CPPD certification is not a licensure. They only, the only thing that a state can govern is either a title or licensure.

[00:47:30] And some States architecture is a title and other States it’s licensure and IBD has absolutely no plan to approach each, either one at this point. The amount of money and man hours that it would take are enormous. And right now it’s our goal to build a better design profession, one designer at a time instead of one state at a time.

[00:47:58] And so by doing that, we’re thinking about you and all of our money is being invested in educational programs accreditation programs, and the ability for you to Be able to present yourself as a professional. And with that said, it’s not to say that we’re not trying to prepare ourselves for the event, that all of a sudden, some state, which in the next 30 to 60 days many States will be starting.

[00:48:23] If not every state, their legislative sessions. Those usually run from like February through March or April. And it’s a very busy time for me because we’re constantly watching the bills that are being submitted and Flagging the ones that look like they may affect our ability to practice without licensure.

[00:48:43] And so when that happens, we want to be in a position that we can step in and,  defend the way the law’s written today, or be in the position that we can be the ones to offer the ability to at least test the candidates for licensure using the CPPD exam. In that process. We started in July on July 7th.

[00:49:05] I think it was a 2020. We started the process of getting antsy accreditation and it’s really not formally called ancy anymore. It’s called a NAB, a N a B. It stands for the antsy national accreditation board. It’s owned by ANSI obviously. But we have, until we just I think it was November 16th, got to the point where we’ve gone through all the preliminary applications we’ve gone through on the preliminary reviews.

[00:49:31] We’ve paid all of our application fees and on November 16th, I think it was, we formally got the act application document. And we’re now in the process of filling that out, but it could be another six months to a year process to actually. Complete all the items that they have. Basically what they’re doing is we’ve committed to operating the certification program based on certain international standards and seeing goes through and assesses to make sure that our policies number one, meet the standards.

[00:50:06] And if they don’t, we have to fill those gaps. And then number two, they come back then and assess us to make sure that we’re following our own policies. So that’s the position we’re trying to put ourselves in too. Have a program that can be credible, that we can go to a state licensure or a legislator when that time comes and say, Hey,  not even the Other certifications in the construction industry have gone this far to validate their testing procedures.

[00:50:37] And hopefully that’s what we need to be in a position to step up. But we are not actively pursuing licensure.

[00:50:46]I’m sorry, Garrett, let me interrupt you. But for that list that you’re talking about, there are no States that recognize the CPPD because if they did, it would have to be a licensure, but there are private communities. There are. What some people refer to as deed restricted communities, gated communities, golf course, communities that have architectural guidelines that you have to meet in order to construct a home or remodel a home in that community.

[00:51:14] And if you write, info app, or and asked for the list of communities that you have to be a CPD to submit plans to the ARB or arc. Then rusting has that list. There’s a couple cities too that have expedited permitting. Opportunities for people who are either licensed or CPDs.

[00:51:38] I think Austin is one of them, Kansas city used to be one. But rusty has that list. Unfortunately we don’t publish that on our website. We’ll have to work on that.

[00:51:47] When they take the exam, they get the results immediately, right? Both the practice and in the actual exam. Yeah. When you hit the submit button, within seconds w how well you did in the practice exam, you know that with them sections in seconds, how well you did in each of the different four divisions in the actual CPPD exam, it’s a little more complicated.

[00:52:12] And if you don’t pass and by the way, I don’t think you’re told a percentage of the international standards. Don’t let us tell a percentage. I think you’re just told whether you pass or fail. All you want to do is see the sign pass, who cares? It’s not a competition, it’s a certification. So what if you didn’t pass?

[00:52:32]It takes about one working day, 24 hours. If you happen to take the exam say if you’re taking the exam right now, by this time tomorrow, rusty will have downloaded your results and categorize them by knowledge area and sent you an email that shows you what areas you did well in and which areas you didn’t.

[00:52:50]So we got for questions. Also, my headset is dying. Oh I’ll go ahead and wrap up then. The last bit of advice I have for you is, do not plan and all nighter the night before the exam, get your application in, get approved. Take your practice test the first time start building your study strategy.

[00:53:14]Studies consistently show that studying and shorter regular bursts helps you retain more information than if you just did. A large marathon session. I remember when again, when I took my contractor’s exam and my CPPD exam the night before I tested, I checked into a hotel. As soon as I could, I had a relaxing dinner, probably a drink, and I went to bed early.

[00:53:41] Now you don’t have to travel anymore. You don’t have to go to a testing center. You could be just moving from. Where you are now into your living room. But whatever it is, take a breath the day before you’re into meditation, do a meditation session before. And I believe that if you don’t know it by now, meaning like at the last minute, you’re not going to learn it in the last minute.

[00:54:04] The CPPD exam can be rescheduled. I don’t think. Proctor you charges anything for that. There may be a certain lead time that you have to reschedule it using, and that’s going to be in the candidate handbook. But if you’re still feeling a little stressed out, look at the calendar, see if you’ve got time and go ahead and reschedule that exam.

[00:54:27] Remember tests are rarely just a chance to quiz you on your knowledge. They’re also an indicator of how well you perform under pressure. And in our case, the test is actually to see how well you look things up, particularly in the building code situation, because we all know that even though the IRC is a national or international code by name, every local jurisdiction seems to tweak it a little bit.

[00:54:52] And we’re going to test you on the national code. But it’s really what we’re testing you on is the procedure to be able to find the answer in that code. So once you’ve done it in the IRC, you can find that in the NSPA you can find it. And and any local code that you, you have to navigate through.

[00:55:11] So that’s what the test is about. And now you’re going to be practicing  your skills as a test taker, not just memorizing a knowledge as you do this. So we hope that we’ve created a practice test that provides you confidence helps you to be stress-free when it gets to the final day, we want you to rest easy, knowing that you’ve.

[00:55:35] Put in hard work. And of course, practice exams are just one tool in the toolbox of study strategies. Still. They were incredibly effective in reducing stress that we think anyways, we hope to hear from you once you’ve gone through it. Regardless of how you prepare for the big exam of practice runner two can help you in more ways than you might expect.

[00:55:57] In addition to getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy breakfast before the actual test take a practice. Taking a practice test is a great way to diversify your study strategy and ensure the best possible results for the real thing. Again if you have any questions, we’ve run out of time today, but you want, all right.

[00:56:17] or call (800) 366-2423. And either wait for the menu or just go ahead and press extension two. Okay. But do we have time for some quick announcements, Garrett?  Everybody go to Before you go and check out the building design awards. We’re collecting entries on commercial projects between now.

[00:56:43] And I think. January 12th. Also Mark the dates down February 25th and 26th is ABDS next to design and build the conference. You can intend both personally and Euston, or you can attend virtually on Hoppin. Finally, if you’re an AIBD member and you don’t know about the compass club recruiting program, keep an eye on the Monday minute and you’re in my inbox.

[00:57:08] There’s going to be a lot of useful information sent out, explaining. What the compass club program is. It’s a recruitment program, like the spike club. If you’re familiar with NHB and in January, we’re going to announce some new member incentives that will help it help make it easier for you to recruit new members and become a member of the compass club.

[00:57:30] Or if you’re already a member of the compass club help you level up.

[00:57:35]Garrett: [00:57:35] The reason you want to be in the compass club is two things. One you can get free membership and two, you get invited to our super secret parties.

[00:57:43]Steve: [00:57:43] Absolutely.

[00:57:45]Everybody loves a party and we’re going to celebrate when you become a CPBD.

[00:57:49] So let us know.

[00:57:51] Again, enjoy the rest of your day and thanks for listening to the whole podcast.

[00:57:55]Garrett: [00:57:55] Bye, everybody.

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