The 3ds Max 2013 Certification Exam included only a Professional exam, omitting the usual multiple-choice Associates exam. For most users of 3ds Max, this is good news!
The Professional exam has its emphasis on competency, rather than rote memorization. These questions require the use of 3ds Max software to produce answers to. Answer entry usually means typing in strings or numbers obtained from the software, from the tasks involved. New this year is the inclusion of image-maps where you have to click on the right part of an image to indicate an answer.
Without the ambiguous toss-up style questions from the multiple choice section, I passed the first time, with plenty of time left. Preparation: While I’ve been an avid Max user for a few years now, I haven’t had much chance to use 3ds Max for almost a year, barely skimmed through the first few chapters of the new Mastering 3ds Max 2013 certification textbook by Wiley. (In past years, my preparation usually came close to completing the year’s edition of this book.)
As with previous exams, there was “maybe” just one question that was 2013-specific. If you have a good understanding of how to do the basic tasks in Max — from modeling to materials and rendering to animation, then it should be perfectly straight-forward. (Much easier than the AU TopDaug exam.)
I started my exam with a pile of white paper (provided) and pen, ready in front of me, in case I needed to do calculations or take notes, to prevent having to alt-tab between the exam questions page and the software too frequently. After logging in, there was a code I entered to start the 2013 3ds Max Professional exam.
The initial directions in the testing console explained answer entry, provided a few sample general-knowledge questions to practice entry to. The examination included specific files that could be refreshed from the examination console, in case the previous test-taker had modified them.
Max crashed once during my exam. As with usual procedures using the Autodesk StartTest testing software suite, you pause the exam, go back to the desktop, and re-open the program. Then, login again, enter in the code to re-start the exam.
The proctors are more like administrative-interns than people knowledgable in each software. They are actually not allowed to provide software-specific advice. Their presence seems to be just with support on the testing software, such as providing assistance for re-starting the exam, if the software crashed.
Having spent the past year mostly mobile on a Macbook, rather than on a multi-screen setup, I found alt-tabbing between the exam question and the software more natural than in previous years, and was less-inclined to move my neck to an adjacent screen, for directions.
Less than an hour later, I completed the exam, was presented with the usual survey inquiring about how difficult I thought the exam was, then was given my score by print-out. And, I passed with 31 out of 35 correct!
Taking the exam at Autodesk University was excellent value, but due to popularity, and there being only 45 terminals and always a waiting-list of about 90 people in the queue before, I couldn’t find the time to take exams in other software.
Note: For more information on what the testing centers are like, check out my Brighthub article from 2011.