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JillHeller
08-03-2006, 06:42 AM
I was wondering if anyone actually took the exam recently? My group is getting extremely in depth with their studies in possible fearful anticipation. My question is - how bad is it really? Other than the 10 sample questions on the PPA website, can anyone offer up a few additional sample questions that will help us gage the intensity of the exam?

Most certifiably :eek: yours,

Betsy_Finn
08-03-2006, 01:36 PM
I'm taking the exam in October, and would be more than happy to give a "report" on how it goes....of course no answers about "was this on the exam" or anything of that nature (besides, they make up a test for each individual taking it -- I assume they draw the questions from a pool so that there aren't any identical exams), but I'd be happy to give you an idea of how it goes for me :o

....One thing that PPA does have is the layout of the exam...There is a sheet on the certification website where each section is broken down into percentages. If you guys haven't checked it out already, take a look -- you might find it helpful :D



This is from http://www.certifiedphotographer.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3289

CAMERA, LENSES AND ATTACHMENTS (15%)
Items relating to this category will include digital and film cameras as well as the various lenses and attachments that might be utilized on either type of camera. Select the appropriate camera for subject matter and output requirements.
Select the appropriate lens based upon size and distance of subject matter as well as desired perspective.
Use camera, camera menu settings, and camera supports to create a quality image.
Select and use the appropriate lens attachment

COMPOSITION AND DESIGN (17%)
Items relating to this area will focus on the following topics: (1) Subject placement within image area; (2) Special effects, including props; (3) location; (4) clothing; (5) posing; (6) color harmony/color wheel; and (7) coordination of background and subject. Determine the best color relationship to complement subject(s) to achieve the desired effects.
Analyze the environment to complement subject(s) to achieve the desired effects.
Frame or crop the picture within the camera’s viewfinder.
Use angle of view to produce the desired effect (mood, power, size, strength, etc).
Position and pose subject(s) with selected background, special effects, and props to achieve the desired effect.

DIGITAL POST PRODUCTION (13%)
Items measuring this specification will include: (1) color space; (2) file formats and resolution; (3) calibration; and (4) storage. Basic knowledge of PhotoShop will be necessary. Determine best color space in which to work.
Select appropriate file format.
Create/employ a color management system.
Select appropriate file management and archival systems.
Manipulate digital images


EXPOSURE AND METERS (20%)
Items measuring this set of specifications will include (1) h ow to meter for the correct exposure; and (2) the relationship between shutter speed and f-stop. Employ a light meter properly to achieve desired exposures.
Set f/stops and shutter speed based upon exposure and desired effects.
Verify proper exposure.

FILM, DIGITAL CAPTURE, AND OUTPUT (15%)

Items included in this section will measure of (1) digital capture; (2) film; and (3) output options (paper, electronic, web, etc.). Considering lighting conditions, select the type of film based upon the final product needed (e.g. black and white, color, transparency, etc.) and desired result.
Select the appropriate capture media for subject matter, format [list] requirements, and final job requirements.
Identify and correct problems in images.
Output/Print image to desired medium.

LIGHTING (20%)
This portion of the examination will measure (1) how to best light the subject; (2) possible types of lighting (Studio, Ambient, Flash, Daylight); (3) lighting design; and (4) lighting equipment. Evaluate the source(s) of light at the location where subject(s) will be photographed to determine the tools necessary to complete the assignment. [list]
Determine the lighting ratio.
Understand light modifiers (gobos, gels, spots, flags, etc.) and their uses.
Determine the type of lighting design (Rembrandt, split, broad, short, etc.) to be used with the given subject(s).
Determine the appropriate lighting usage (main, fill, etc) for subject(s).
Understand the theory of light.
Select the appropriate filter for color correction of the light source.
Use lighting techniques as composition and design elements.

Holly_Howe
08-03-2006, 07:20 PM
I have been hesitant to comment on the certification test or print submissions as it has been so many years since I went through it. However when I did it, it was a piece of cake. I read the book once the week before I took the exam. I reviewed my notes in the car on the drive to where I was taking the test and I finished the test in less than an hour and a half and I passed. Oh yeah, I had version two of the book to study from and I think version 5 was the current one at the time so I didn't even have a very up to date reference. I think it's like labor & delivery - you hear a lot of horror stories and some people do have a tough time but it's not as tramatic as you've been led to believe. Also print submission. It might have changed and Craig Flory could tell you but it was supposed to be 20 8x10's as you would deliver to the client - not salon prints. And they were supposed to be at least a 75 on the PPA judging scale. So again - it wasn't as tough as you might fear. I could be all wrong and they could have made everything a lot tougher but I kinda doubt it. Maybe Craig will weigh in here and give you some more current input.

Holly

JillHeller
08-03-2006, 07:24 PM
I think it's like labor & delivery - you hear a lot of horror stories and some people do have a tough time but it's not as tramatic as you've been led to believe.

I won't go into my experiences with childbirth but I'm wondering if it isn't like the pain - really intense while it's happening - then your brain starts to wipe out the actual memories of the pain. :p

Thanks for your input!

Cheers!

Holly_Howe
08-03-2006, 07:53 PM
Actually the test was exactly like childbirth for me. I was dreading it right up to the minute it happened- then I had an emergency c-section and felt no pain whatsoever! LOL! So no - I don't think the trama has faded - it just wasn't as hard as I'd been led to believe. Yes some sections did give me fits but then I aced other areas. Business & comp & design I got 100% - view cameras and macro photography (what focal length lens to create a life size image on film - UGH! WHO CARES!) I bombed! I think it is still multiple choice and you can usually eliminate at least two answers right away and then if you know just a little bit about it, you can often figure out which of the remaining two is most likely right. Don't stress! You'll do fine.

Holly

Deb_Wat
08-03-2006, 08:27 PM
Hi Jill,

Welcome to the forums!

Deb

KirkDarling
08-04-2006, 12:53 AM
I've said this before and I'll say it again: Pay close attention to the sample questions from the PPA website. Be sure you've got those subject areas down pat.

KirkDarling
08-04-2006, 12:55 AM
Actually the test was exactly like childbirth for me. I was dreading it right up to the minute it happened- then I had an emergency c-section and felt no pain whatsoever! LOL! So no - I don't think the trama has faded - it just wasn't as hard as I'd been led to believe. Yes some sections did give me fits but then I aced other areas. Business & comp & design I got 100% - view cameras and macro photography (what focal length lens to create a life size image on film - UGH! WHO CARES!) I bombed! I think it is still multiple choice and you can usually eliminate at least two answers right away and then if you know just a little bit about it, you can often figure out which of the remaining two is most likely right. Don't stress! You'll do fine.

Holly

I didn't get an area breakdown, I just got a final score (tested last March).

JillHeller
08-04-2006, 05:42 AM
I didn't get an area breakdown, I just got a final score (tested last March).

:D So...how did you do??

D._Craig_Flory
08-04-2006, 12:40 PM
Hi Holly;

Since I've been certified since 1986, it's been a while for me also. I got a chuckle reading how you were reviewing notes, in the car, on the way to the test. I didn't study one second and passed first try. I passed on personal experience and knowledge. I was an air force photog. having taken basic photog. school & combat photog. school. When I got out I served a 3 year apprenticeship with a PPA Master. After I started my studio in 1975, I took the basic lighting course with Master Craftsman Andy Torre and the advanced lighting course with Frank Chricchio Master Craftsman ... both at Triangle Institute of Photography. I took the test with confidence and passed. I joined Prof. Photogs. of Pennsylvania in 1978 and have attended 10 days of meetings and semimars ever since so those meetings helped as well.

I was not bragging with all that. I was trying to show, those looking to take the exam, how I gained my knowledge and confidence. There are good schools around the country. State associations give excellent programs. PPA Super Mondays are excellent too. Networking with others is also good. And the study groups here on the Forum are something I recommend.

Anyhow ... finally getting back to your post. I don't get to see the questions. When I get the tests they are in sealed envelopes. The person taking the test opens it. After the exam is over, I put a seal over the flap. So I don't know what questions are now asked. I agree about reviewing the test questions available. For those who are nervous ... let's use print competitioon as an analogy. In print competition we all strive for a perfect score of 100. So if judges in their tired, overworked stupors (I've been a judge and know how it is *S*) give a print a score of 80 ... you still get a merit. On the Certification exam, if you get 70% correct ... you still pass. That's even easier than print competition !!! The test is multiple choice so if you know an answer it should jump right out at you.

Print submission is 20 images. You have a choice of having 20 8X10's printed and submitting them. Or you can submit a DVD slide show instead which is what a lot are now doing. I have always told photographers almost the same thing Holly said. But I equate it with our state association. We have Blue ribbons (score of 80+) & Red ribbons (76 to 79). There are also white ribbons but it doesn't pertain here. So ... a print that would score at least a 76 would be enough to pass. However, as I said before, strive for images that might score 100 and if the judges take off 24 points they still will get you that coveted C.PP. status.

If anyone has more questions contact PPA or e-mail me. I will be giving the exam, once again, on Sunday October 1st. A bunch of OurPPA Forum members are traveling to Pennsylvania to take the test with me ... and then are paying to take the seminars at our October meeting. We have a super line-up of talent scheduled. Our state assn. web site is www.ppaofpa.org .

Thanks Holly .. I sort of got long winded.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, PPA C.P.P. Liaison, Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

ken_smith
08-12-2006, 08:00 PM
I took the test in New Hampshire last winter it was pretty hard. I have to retake it this fall. I got a 69 ( allmost there).
I found a few questions where hard to understand, I was not sure what they where asking. The question wording was not very clearly. Maybe I read to much in the question?

D._Craig_Flory
08-12-2006, 08:23 PM
Hi Ken;

After the exam, did you mark down on the feedback form about the hard to understand questions ? If not, did you call PPA and ask ?

When were you looking to re-take the exam ? Before then, if you didn't get an answer back from PPA on the questions that were hard to understand, I suggest that you call PPA and tell them some of the difficult ones.

I also suggest that you concentrate on studying questions you are pretty sure you got wrong.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certifed, Cr.Photog., ASP
floryphotog@mindspring.com

KirkDarling
08-13-2006, 12:53 AM
I thought the test was pretty good--and I've helped prepare skill/promotion tests for the Air Force (which was an entire course in itself on the science of test development). We had some test psychologists and test scientists who really put us through the wringer until we got it right.

I did like the fact that I could immediately write down questions that I thought were improper (in the Air Force, you have to wait until after you've completed the test, then go into a separate room and write them down from memory). At first I thought about three questions were improper, but then when I took a second look at them, I realized that it was only if I considered the distractors (the wrong responses) was the question improper.

I think it's a good, bulletproof test that accurately tests what it claims to test.

Mark_Levesque
08-13-2006, 05:03 AM
At first I thought about three questions were improper, but then when I took a second look at them, I realized that it was only if I considered the distractors (the wrong responses) was the question improper.

So long as the questions are worded precisely, it should be tolerable. Questions designed to trick the student can be troublesome enough on their own, but I can handle it so long as the question is asked with precision. Subtleties matter. As long as the questions aren't vague or sloppily worded I'm sure I'll find the test fair. And that's really all you can ask for.

KirkDarling
08-13-2006, 03:55 PM
At first I thought about three questions were improper, but then when I took a second look at them, I realized that it was only if I considered the distractors (the wrong responses) was the question improper.

So long as the questions are worded precisely, it should be tolerable. Questions designed to trick the student can be troublesome enough on their own, but I can handle it so long as the question is asked with precision. Subtleties matter. As long as the questions aren't vague or sloppily worded I'm sure I'll find the test fair. And that's really all you can ask for.

The Air Force test scientists and psychologists seemed to have a primary mission of making sure we didn't devise any trick questions. That was an absolute no-no. The point was to create questions that people who knew the answer would get right, and people who didn't know the answer would get wrong--both things were specific goals of each and every question.

That takes work, and every question that had ever been used on the skill test was kept in a database of all changes that had been made on that question over the years as well as the statistics of how test takers had done on that particular question. If too many people who eventually did well on the test overall did poorly on that particular question, then there was something in it that bollixed people who had studied. If too many people who eventually did poorly on the test got that particular question right, then there was something in it that gave away the answer to people who had not studied. Either way, it was a question that needed work.

Some questions, of course, become obsolete as the technology changed. Others over time were recognized as simply bad questions that couldn't be reworked into acceptability. So we always had to create new questions as well as try to fix old ones.

We even looked at the physical appearance of the questions (the "stems") and the answers (the correct response and the "distractors"). We looked at the length of the stems compared to the length of the correct response, for instance, to make sure we weren't subconsciously making correct responses all short answers or all long answers, or all "C" or things like that.

Then we took the test ourselves. "What a dumb question! Who wrote that stupid question? Ooops, I wrote that question."

The questions on this test, as I said, are pretty good questions IMO, which means that if you know the right answer, it won't trick you; but if you don't know the right answer, it won't give itself away, either.

My suggestion is that if you know you know the subject and the question seems improper, look for the response that causes it to make sense.

KirkDarling
08-16-2006, 04:21 PM
From that item of the certification website, it says, "Basic knowlege of Photoshop."

I would amend that to "Basic knowlege of a professional digital imagery editor." You don't have to know proprietary terminology of Photoshop (or any other specific product) per se, but you do need knowlege of the tools and techniques generic to professional editors. You need to know about layers and masks and what you can do with them, for instance, but not necessarily what specific Photoshop key strokes or menu choices it takes to handle them.

You must know basic camera controls--focal lengths, apertures, and shutter speeds--inside and out. You need to know not only their primary effects on images but also their secondary and tertiary affects--as well as how they have to be balanced with each other. You don't have to know proprietary terminology like "matrix metering," but you'd better know the difference between incident, reflected, and spot--when, how, and why to use any of them.

You have to know how changing any factor of shooting affects your choice of camera controls to achieve any given effect, and know it well enough to understand the changes when asked questions like "Which of the following does not occur if you change the shutter speed from 1/125 to 1/500?"

You have to know how to make intelligent compromises to achieve optimum effects. You might be asked, "Which of the following is the best combination to achieve such-and-such effect?" .... and the best combination might be one in the middle of the given choices.

If they ask, "Which of the following combinations of camera settings and ISO does not give the same exposure as the others?" you should be able to figure it out even if you've never owned a camera with f64 (which is likely included in one of the choices).

You don't have to know particular films, but you do have to know what filters do to film--how they effect exposure and how to handle it, how they effect color or tone and how to predict it, when to use them and when to avoid them. If they ask you, "Given a basic exposure of f11 and 1/125, which combination of shutter speed, aperture, and filter is most appropriate to give a ruddy character to a man's portrait?" you should know it.

You must know the basics of subject lighting--ratios especially. You must know how exposure readings affect ratio and vice versa. You have to know what ratios are best to achieve specific effects. If they ask you something like, "Which of the following lighting ratios best achieves a soft, high-key effect for a mother and child?" or "Which ratio would best portray a dynamic chief executive officer?" you should be able to select the correct response.

The sample questions given on the website are really very good guides, as well.

dnisbet
08-16-2006, 10:22 PM
I've been active in professional photography since 1958. I wasn't worried about the test and somewhat disappointed that I didn't do better than 80. Now I would really like to know where my knowledge is weak but that information isn't available.
At this moment I do not have the results of the images I submitted. The instructions for preparing them were not very good. All of the images I submitted on a DVD were from SOLD jobs and, according to the instructions, met the vague criteria.
Frankly, after I got them on a DVD I thought they look bad and doubt they could be judged for anything except basic composition based on their application.
While CPP sounds like a good idea, there isn't enough marketing behind it to give it real value.
As a lab representative, it probably has much more value to me than the average photographer since photographers are much more familiar with it than the public.