Before the Test
While I was preparing to take a certification exam, I fully imagined it was simply going to be log on to a site and answer questions within a certain time frame. I quickly discovered that was not at all correct!
The Acquia Drupal 8 Certification tests are more like a college exam in that it has to be monitored. I’m guessing that’s to make sure you don’t cheat. While I was scheduling my exam I found there are two ways to take it, online or in person. (Yes the exams need to be scheduled in advance.) Initially I was planning on taking mine online. After all, I work from home, I might as well take the test at home too, right?
Why didn’t I take the test at home? While reading about how to take the test online, I found that I would need quite a set up. It required software to be installed and a web cam set up and connected to the software. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure how I felt about installing software that uses my web cam, that I was only intending to use for a few hours to take a test. Yes, I would have uninstalled the software after taking the test. But still I chose to look at the in-person option.
I’m lucky to live close to one of the largest colleges in the country. The Ohio State University has over sixty thousand students, thousands of faculty, hundreds of buildings, and you might have heard about their football team. It’s only about a 15-minute drive from my house. I found that they host Acquia Certification testing on nearly every weekday. This sounded like a really good option for me. So I scheduled my test.
The Day of My Exam
I made sure to arrive early. The exam instruction says to arrive about 15 minutes early. OSU has very large buildings, lots of people coming and going, and parking garages to navigate. Add regular city traffic to that, and you can imagine how hectic it can be, especially if you are running late. So, I try not to run late.
The room I went to was a testing room for anything and everything. In the lobby were lockers. I had to lock up my wallet, phone, keys, even my fitbit. Beyond the lobby was the testing room. The moderators sat at the lobby desk and watched through a large glass window.
When I arrived at the testing station, I checked in at the desk and gave them my certification test number. After locking my belongings in a locker I went into the testing room. They directed me to a computer, where my test was loaded.
The test was 50 questions. To be honest, I’m a very visual person. I deal with mostly front end development and some design. So to have nothing to look at while trying to envision the questions was more difficult than I expected it would be. I would really have prefered some pictures, or an interactive mock site or something.
Most of the questions were not nearly as cut and dry as I expected. All the questions are either chose one of these four answers, or chose several of these four answers. The way the questions are worded required me to re-read the questions and answers several times. I do like that you can mark a question as needs review and you get an opportunity to look back at them before sumbitting your answers.
Honestly, I thought this was far more difficult than just a Site Builder test should have been. Some of the question and answer pairs were worded to the point where it felt like a trick question. Some of the questions were rather Drupal fan obsessive. Some of the views questions were a bit more advanced than I would expect from just a site maintainer.
Well I passed. But not with a huge margin. I’ve been working with Drupal from 6 through 8, every working day for nearly 5 years. I fully expected to get over 90% on the test. I got 74%. I’m certain some of that is due to how abnormally worded some of the questions are. That’s really frustrating in how it distorts the test taker’s actual testable skill set for unnecessarily conflated questions.
I intend to continue toward the Drupal 8 Grand Master Certification, wich includes Certified Developer, Certified Front End Specialist, and Certified Back End Specialist.
Obviously, everyone’s experience taking a test either online or in person will be different. But I feel like the average person should be able to pass this by doing a few things. Set up one or two Drupal sites from the beginning. Make sure to look around the admin area and remember where most things are. Especially in the Content, Structure, Appearance, and Configuration. While you’re in Content, check out how comments are handled. Structure, just review everything, it’s all going to be on the test. Configuration, most of it will be on the test as well.
If you plan on taking these tests, be sure to read, read, and reread the questions and answers thoroughly.