If you want to improve your Photoshop skills or your chances of finding Photoshop related work, help your résumé get noticed or negotiate a rise in your salary, stand out from your competition or increase your attractiveness to the opposite sex, then read on!
Who can become an ACE?
Not that long ago, I wanted to find Photoshop work and noticed people claiming to be Photoshop Adobe Certified Experts on various Listservs that I belonged to and on Websites that I visited. I thought, "If only I was an ACE, I'm sure I could find work." I decided to bite the bullet and study for the exam. I reasoned the worst that can happen is I will have lost about $150 if I fail but, regardless of whether I fail or pass, I will have learned aspects of Photoshop while studying that I may not have learned otherwise.
To my surprise, I passed the exam. I had a further pleasant surprise when someone saw the ACE in my signature and asked me to manipulate some images for them in Photoshop. So, within about 2-3 weeks of becoming and ACE, I had not only recouped my investment, I even had some money left over! It also gave me added confidence to start answering questions on newsgroups instead of lurking or asking questions and that, in a round about way, eventually led to me producing exam aids to help candidates study for the Photoshop and Illustrator ACE exams. However, where I have been hugely disappointed - and this is a big con and one that you should be aware of - since acquiring the ACE designation, my attractiveness to the opposite sex has not increased one jot!
Just how hard is it to become an ACE?
Provided you are fairly proficient in your chosen product, with a little bit of study, there is no reason why you should not pass the Adobe Certified Expert exam. The exam does not require you to produce original images or to manipulate existing images, so you do not have to worry about passing variable aesthetics standards. Nor are you asked to write essays or explain in your own words how to accomplish a task in your chosen product. Instead, the exam is composed of 75 multiple-choice questions and is aimed at testing your proficiency in using the program and in applying your knowledge in given real world situations. You are allowed 90 minutes to answer the 75 questions and you require a modest 69% passing score in order to call yourself an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE). Having sat the exam 4 times now, my impression is it's rigorous but not hard.
Where can I take the ACE exam?
You can take the exam in centers around the globe; just be careful not to book the first available slot on a Monday morning! The booked exams are sent to the various centers on a regular basis and, in some circumstances, it can take hours to download the files. For example, if the company did not download their allotted exams over the weekend, you may end up waiting fretfully for the files to download over slow connections. Not that I have been caught out and have had to pace a room for two hours while exams were downloading!
The exams are overseen by Pearson VUE and Sylvan Prometric. You can book by a toll free phone line or by following the links on their Website. It's a fairly straightforward procedure. You select the product, find a testing centre near you, select a time and a date, pay by credit card and you are on your way.
Continued on Page 2: Preparing for and Passing the ACE Exam