I can agree with all of the frustrations expressed above. I've take 5 exams and passed 4 (thankfully the Admin 1 was a rewrite and I was able to take the "new" one instead of trying to figure out the old one.) I've got 4 tests to go to reach Gold Certification. Each test is totally nerve-wracking, even though I feel like I understand the program pretty well. I feel like a kid again struggling to carefully fill in my bubble sheet with my #2 pencil, answering questions designed to lead me to choose the wrong answer; like I have to carefully examine the use of each specific word in the question and answers because one little variation stands between the right answer and the wrong one.
I thought these courses were designed to TEACH us something! Or to, at the very least, accurately measure what we know and have learned about the complex program. I'm not sure either of these objectives is being accomplished. I like the idea behind certifications, but if someone serving for 5 years as an Admin has to stress out over the Admin 1 exam, then that sort of indicates a problem. That's what I'm hearing on this Board...that people who work daily in the program and understand what they are doing are shocked when they fail the exams.
Two years ago, at the 2014 conference, there was a slide in the opening presentation that showed the number of CPP course registrations...a number in the thousands, maybe even hundred thousands. Then right under that number it showed the number of successful certifications...I was shocked! It was so low in comparison to the number of course registrations that I remember laughing out loud and thinking, "Why would they even put that number on there?!" It most definitely was not a number to be proud of. If that doesn't scare everybody off, nothing will. I think it was less than 20% of registrations had resulted in successful certifications. Now I know most people have them stacked up in their account like I do, and plan to take them at some point. But I think most people are like me, after those first few we learn how difficult they are and put off taking them.
1-More sample questions along the way. This prepares the tester for the style of questions that will be asked on the exam.
2-Stop offering deliberately confusing answers (example: All of the above; None of the above; Both B and C; A, B and D but never C unless it's Tuesday or a Leap Year)
3-NEVER use "Select all that apply"---PLEASE!!! If there are 2 correct answers, tell us to pick 2! The question is hard enough as it is, without throwing all these answers at us and not providing any way to narrow it down.
4-If we test twice and fail both times, send by mail or email a listing of the questions missed along with information that we could use to determine the correct answer. Better yet, provide us with the number of someone we could call to discuss our questions and turn this into a learning opportunity instead of a depressing failure.
Above all, please remember that these are supposed to be tools for us, as users and administrators, to better our understanding of this outstanding program. We should be able to recommend these as resources to new users as a means of gaining knowledge and understanding for the program. That is not possible with the tests as they are now.