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Recent CLA exams with the new online platform experience

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I am preparing for the CLA exam and it appears that the only option is the online examination.

Has anybody been through this in recent months (post-April 2023) on the new platform? What are your experience and what to expect?

Specifically, I am wondering if the quick drop shortcuts work (CLA or not, they are still tremendously useful). 

Any issues with the connection, etc.




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Message 1 of 7
Accepted by topic author dmelnik

Just wrapped up. Does take about 1/2 hour to get launched, but does not come off your time. Be prepared that it will be over four hours from your scheduled start, I had no issues with the VM outside of my own memory reflexes. Don't use Control-W to close VIs. It will close your session. After a minute of panic, my proctor was able to reconnect me. Quick drop works fine, but of course does not have custom shortcuts.  My VM was LV20 so It did not have the LV23Q3 quick drop updates. The one weird thing was the test description page looked to be a bad edit of another exam. My connection was fine and my proctor was reasonable and responsive. There is a count down timer in the upper right. I didn't see it at first because my zoom console was covering it. Make sure and save before it hits zero. At that point you are locked out. Now the wait ...

Message 2 of 7

Got my CLA certification today.


It actually worked pretty smooth, better than I expected based on the

feedback from those who took it last year.

Quick-drop did work. I used Ctrl-I, Ctrl-P, Ctrl-E with no issues.

Having a big monitor helps a lot in arranging the project window, requirement document and 

block diagrams of key methods without the necessity of running around the screen and shuffling





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Message 3 of 7

My experience was quit the opposite of the other posted response.  The exam itself was a straightforward well-written problem statement.  


It took me over 75 minutes to get connected to a proctor.  Support would not tell me the status of whether my session could be seen or whether I had a proctor.  I was told to wait for a few minutes every 10 minutes for over 60 minutes without much information.  I was stressed and exhausted trying to deal with troubleshooting for 75 minutes and needing to reschedule after test activities.  My pre-test prep was out of mind by the chance I finally connected with a proctor.


The proctor was professional.  The session was interrupted about 3 hours into the test and I lost where I was working as I tried to find a support number.  I was reconnected but lost about 8 minutes of test time and my train of thought due to a technical difficulty on the exam side.  


There was not end of test warning.  I save at 5 minutes left.  Maybe I lost track of time, but in the minute I spend reviewing the test closed without warning and did not let me save my cleanup.  No save your work warning was given.  


I felt confident with the material but not confident that I passed after the mishaps.  I would recommend making sure you can complete the test in 3 - 3.5 hours just to make sure you have time to recover from the technical difficulties you might have. I planned to come in ready and use all 4 hours minus a 5 minute break.  It was the worst test experience I have had and went nothing like I expected.

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Message 4 of 7

Just a quick update.  NI certification was willing to work with me on rescheduling if I can find another time to prepare for the test. As I expected, I ran short on time.  In researching the chosen testing platform more, other users have had significant problems.  If I find the time to study and take the exam again, I will make sure I can complete the exam in 3.5 hours before retaking it to have the margin to deal with the external stressors from the exam platform. Troubleshooting the initial connecting and dealing with disconnects in my case ate about 20-25 minutes of focused development time.  In my case, I had planned to complete in 3:55 minutes giving myself one short break and with external testing issues, this did not allow me enough time to complete my requirements or add comments describing the code that was to be developed by others.  Trying to squeak into the allotted time costs me a passing grade.  Recommendations of taking sample exams multiple times and trimming time each time is a good recommendation that others have made. 


Quick tips:

- There is likely not a five minute warning - save often and make sure you have methods to track your time progress

- Be able to easily recover from a disconnect - be prepared to rescan your room and make sure your notes let you pick up where you lost concentration

- If your exam is delayed make sure you take a minute to collect your thoughts before you start and that your schedule is clear afterward so you don't have to worry about the exam running late

- Code implementation does not need to be complete but the grader must be able to understand what a developer would be expected to do and language should be concise and clear

- You are allowed a small whiteboard on your desk - be practiced with using it

Message 5 of 7

Ok, I took the exam and here is my experience:


1. I did connect with the proctor about 20 minutes before the start of the exam. All 20 minutes were spent on figuring the video connection, checking the room (the proctor was very particular about what I have in the room, including what's under the table). I was taking the test from my man-cave which is pretty filled up with a tech toys, so it did took time.


2. I have a 32" monitor, whose large size DID help immensely to arrange all things on the screen. Since Zoom does not support multiple screens, and you are even not supposed to have two physical monitors connected to the computer, get (or borrow) a big one, it helps.


3. The quick drops did work (I used Ctrl-Space, Ctrl-I, Ctrl-P). This is my personal experience, and I don't know if that is a universal rule. Proceed with caution.


4. The timer does show up. The specific warnings of the time left were not issued but the timer was clearly visible.


5. I did have one bathroom break, after which I had to go through the room inspection again, by showing the room with the webcam.


I hope this is helpful.


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Message 6 of 7

The tips are helfpul.  I'm glad to hear that you had a better experience.  I'm hoping others have a similar experience as you had. 


I second the thought that having a large monitor with at least 2K resolution is very helpful.  I had to put a physical cover (towel) on my second laptop screen to ensure I could not use it.


I went back to look over my exam results recently and realized that I was sent the wrong exam scoring sheet as well.  I received someone else's evaluation.  Last tip - make sure that when you get your grade that it has your name up top.  I just went right to the score and did not check until I went back to evaluate where I could improve.  Still waiting for the results.

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Message 7 of 7