How to prepare for and pass the Adobe Certified Professional exam in Illustrator

How to prepare and pass the exam for ‘Adobe Certified Professional in Graphic Design & Illustration Using Adobe Illustrator’ – by Jamie Carroll.

I passed, yay! It’s been a few years since I took an Adobe certification exam and I thought it was a good time to brush up on my skills and dig into what was new with Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe has made changes to the certification experience since my last exam. From what I can tell, the program transitioned from; Adobe Certified Expert, then Adobe Certified Associate, and now Adobe Certified Professional. They also offer specialty certifications if you certify in more than one application.

If Adobe still offers the Expert level exam, I was not able to find it. I will note that the preparation and difficulty of the Adobe Certified Expert exam (years ago) was more challenging than the Adobe Certified Professional exam. If you are familiar with the software and utilize the practice tests, you will do fine on this exam.

Why certify
To start off, I’ll briefly touch on why and what was my motivation. After working with Adobe Illustrator for many years, I was comfortable with the software. However, you can get stuck doing things the same way you have for many years.

Changes and updates to the software become lost over time if you do not seek them out. Challenging yourself to take an exam forces you to see what is new with the software, as well as discover new workflows and techniques. It can also give a bump to your resume.

The steps
1. Preparation (review objectives, utilize test prep, watch videos and practice).
2. Schedule your exam (test from home with a proctor is available).
3. Take the exam.
4. Showcase new credentials.

Preparation
The exams are administered through Certiport (a Pearson company). Setup a Certiport account, you’ll need it later. My primary preparation tool was the practice test offered through MindHub (a Pearson company). You can find it here.

Utilize the practice test. It was $40, but I had a coupon and paid $32. The practice test covers all the exam objectives and offers testing modes, with and without help steps. If you go through all the objectives, take the practice tests (and score well), you should be prepared. Note, I took the practice tests multiple times.

The following are some supplemental things you can do for preparation. I watched the Linkedin Learning series: Illustrator 2022 Essential Training. There are quizzes at the end of each chapter. I also took the chapter quizzes for Illustrator 2021 Essential Training. LinkedIn offers a free trial for their service.

I should also mention that it is assumed you have some experience working with Adobe Illustrator. You want to make sure you are familiar with using the software and it’s functionality. This will come in handy (especially for speed) during the exercise portion of the exam where you have to complete tasks in the software.

Schedule your exam
When searching for a testing center in my area, I did not find one close enough. I did a little more digging and discovered you can ‘test from home‘ through an authorized testing service.

When I felt well prepared, I scheduled my exam through Get Certified. They are an Authorized Certiport Testing Center. I highly recommend this service. They offered several time slots and they keep you updated at every step of the process. The testing experience was on time, functioned well, and the proctor was well trained. Schedule your exam a week early to get the best time slots.

The testing fee is $130, or $155 with a retake option (a bit of an insurance policy). Both prices include the proctor service in the fee, no additional charges apply.

Take the exam
If you test through Get Certified (from home), you will be sent a link that is emailed to you right before the exam. Using a browser, you sign into the Certiport portal and the proctor goes through the test procedure with you. Please note, you are testing through a virtual computer that the proctor is in control of and is watching. They can see your screen and can remote control the computer to assist you as needed, the exam is also timed.

The exam consisted of approximately 1/3 multiple choice questions and 2/3 exercises using the software. I want to stress again that you will want to use the practice test that I recommended. It matches the test format so you know what to expect.

When I was finished with the exam I was able to see my results right away via a score card. The results also appear in your Certiport account after the exam.

Showcase new credentials
After you pass the exam you can login to your Certiport account to view the score and download a certificate. A printed certificate should also be mailed. You will be issued a digital badge or credential through Credly – this info will be emailed to you.

In comparing my Adobe Certified Expert certification for Photoshop, it never expires for that version of the software. Whereas, my Adobe Certified Professional certification for Illustrator expires after three years.

I hope this has been helpful for you. If so, drop a comment below. Cheers and good luck!

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