Taking the Illustrator CC Adobe Certified Expert ACE Exam

Taking The Illustrator CC Adobe Certified Expert ACE Exam

I would like to share a few insights for graphic professionals seeking certification through the Illustrator CC Adobe Certified Expert ACE Exam.

After using Adobe Illustrator on a near daily basis for many years, I felt compelled to attempt official certification. In April 2016, I took the Illustrator CC Adobe Certified Expert ACE Exam. Surprising to myself, I did not pass the exam. After leaving the testing area, I jotted down a handful of notes about the test content, just in case I ever felt bold enough for a retake.

“Multiple Choice” Questions

Adobe has nine sample questions on their website, and lists the exam as a multiple choice format. My experience has always been that multiple choice questions are the easiest question type to figure out, through the process of careful deductive elimination.

What I could not have been prepared for was the format of many of the multiple choice questions.

According to my scribbled notes, the ACE exam presents many questions with the following format: A. Present a scenario in a paragraph B. List (approximately) between four and eight possible answers. C. For the answer to be correct, the test taker must pick the TWO correct answers. As best that I can decipher my notes, I have included several of the exam topic questions below.

Illustrator is a massive interface with multiple types of usages and layers. Rather than rely upon experience and extra study, my exam study should have focused on Adobe’s Classroom in a Book for Illustrator CC. The verbiage of the exam seems to mirror this book.

There were ten categories of questions.  My highest scores were in Prepress “Printing” and “Managing and Transforming Objects”. My lowest category was “Painting”.

Sample Questions – How To:

Rename paragraph styles (pick two ways). (To be fair, I am unaware of any graphic artist who uses Illustrator for paragraph styles. Text formatting is a task for InDesign.)
How to fill a mesh color’s individual cell.
Location of the overprint option (attributes panel).
Align to the pixel grid.
Fix navigation window when not showing entire document objects.
Use which effect to best fix web graphic that is not crisp? Inner glow, outer glow, feather, drop shadow, anti-alaise.
SVG file, export or save as.
Which layer will not print. Empty eyeball layer or a locked layer?
Center align scattered objects on a horizontal plane, with the same exact spacing between them.
Maximum size of Behance.
Preflight your Illustrator document.
Save all of your document specs, to share with another designer.

Perspective Notes

Adobe Illustrator is my software of choice, hands down. It is the graphic software that I have the most fun with and always look forward to using. I feel very competent when using it, even when learning new processes and features.

Few Faces of ACES

Out of curiosity, I referenced the Adobe ACE certification website to see how many ACE experts reside in Missouri. According to their website, Missouri has one Illustrator CC ACE (Adobe Certified Expert), and two Illustrator CS6 ACEs. Neighboring Kansas and Iowa have ZERO Illustrator CC ACEs. These numbers validate the test difficulty.

Just for kicks, I created a table of the current numbers in thirteen states, for ACEs in Illustrator CC and CS6, plus Photoshop CC and CS6 (see below).

Crazily enough, at the same time I purchased the Adobe ACE Exam test voucher ($180), I had also purchased the Photoshop CC ACE Exam voucher (using their Educator discount). My plan was take the Illustrator ACE exam, then brush up on Photoshop knowledge for that exam prep. However, after bungling the Illustrator CC exam, common sense prevailed and I bailed out of that one (no refund policy, ouch).

Most of my notes paraphrase, but a few questions were specifically memorable. One sample question (that I missed) relates to identifying this graphic of the “Symbol Stainer Tool”.

Symbol Stainer Tool

The graphic icons for the “Symbol Sprayer” (from the toolbar’ spray paint can icon). The exam shows the symbol icon only, and asks you to pick one of the eight sprayer names.

State by State Numbers for ACE Certifications in Illustrator and Photoshop (CC is current version, CS6 is previous).

~ compassion to all ~

The Adobe Illustrator CC toolbar, with the different tool options shown. Source: http://apprize.info/adobe/illustrator/1.html

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