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Last Chance for Online InDesign CC Recertification Exam

In late November, Adobe announced on their Facebook Page and in e-mails to some partners that they were discontinuing all the ACE (Adobe Certified Expert) Recertification exams for their applications as of January 1, 2015. If you want to take the InDesign CC  (or any other Adobe program) Recert exam, you have about 48 hours to do so. Read on!


In case you’re wondering: When you’re ACE-certified, you have bragging rights ;-D and can put the ACE logo on your site and business card. It may help you get hired or promoted. You can even search for people holding an ACE certificate on the Adobe web site. Once you’ve passed at least one ACE exam, you can go a step further and become an Adobe Certified Instructor (ACI) for that program, conducting classes independently for clients with Adobe’s blessing (and a linked listing on their Training Partner web page). ACIs can also teach in an authorized Adobe training center.  It all begins with the ACE, though.

ACE Certification vs. Recertification

The “Recert” exams have been part of the Adobe ACE certification system for the past few years. They’re only available to anyone who holds an ACE for the previous version of the Adobe program in question and were only available for a limited time. If you qualified to take a Recert, you could register for it, pay the discounted fee, and take the multiple-choice web-based exam all on-line, as long as you completed the test within two hours or so from when you began. You could register and take the test whenever it was convenient to you, from your own home or office, in an essentially open-book situation. You got your exam results immediately and your new ACE certification “diploma” arrived by PDF shortly thereafter, assuming you passed.

Now that they’re discontinuing the Recert exams, anyone who wants to become ACE-certified will need to trek to a off-site Pearson testing location that’s proctored (not open book) and take the full exam at a higher fee, even if you’ve been an ACE in that program for years. In recompense for the inconvenience, Adobe is extending the life of an ACE certification to two full years.

The InDesign CC recertification exam has been out since early summer of 2014, and the new full certification exam was just made available in December. That means if you’re certified in CS6, you have until Wednesday, Dec. 31st (two days from now), to take the more convenient InDesign CC Recertification test, and then not have to worry about taking it again for another two years.

Click this text link to register for the InDesign CC Recertification exam. (Only available to those who are InDesign ACEs for CS6, and remember, the test is only available until December 31, 2014.)

I just took it, and it’s not an easy test, even though, um, it’s kind of my living. Gah! There are only 50 questions so I’m assuming they wanted to test for 200 things packed into those 50 questions. The good news is, though, that you just need to get 37 of those 50 questions correct, as 65% is a passing score. (For the record, I got 88%, and was happy to have done it.)

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie Concepcion

Anne-Marie “Her Geekness” Concepción is the co-founder (with David Blatner) and CEO of Creative Publishing Network, which produces InDesignSecrets, InDesign Magazine, and other resources for creative professionals. Through her cross-media design studio, Seneca Design & Training, Anne-Marie develops ebooks and trains and consults with companies who want to master the tools and workflows of digital publishing. She has authored over 20 courses on on these topics and others. Keep up with Anne-Marie by subscribing to her ezine, HerGeekness Gazette, and contact her by email at or on Twitter @amarie
Anne-Marie Concepcion

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9 Comments on “Last Chance for Online InDesign CC Recertification Exam

  1. A couple of notes on how “hard” the CC recertification exam is:
    First, it is possible that one or two of the questions are impossible to answer. That is, there is no correct answer because of editing problems. For example, I have seen one question where everything is correct except one letter. I believe it was a simple typo that didn’t get corrected. That’s unfortunate, but it happens.

    Second, one of the most important techniques for any multiple choice exams is: Identify which answers are simply and totally not possible/correct. In almost every question on the ACE exam, I have found that at least 2 or 3 answers are obviously wrong. That leaves 1 or 2 to choose from.

    (This last point is one of the things that Mike Rankin explained in his excellent ebook about taking the CS5 ACE exam. We need to talk him into updating that for CC!)

  2. Anne Marie, I took your advise and took the recertification test today. Like you, I also got an 88. (Kid you not). The funny thing is that as I was taking it I remembered David’s comments about questions having errors. I say this because I found several questions with choices referring to a screenshot where NONE of the letters where correct. Unfortunately, “none of the above” was not among the options. Another question asked for the best answer, but there were two correct answers. I don’t see the value of tricking the user into choosing the wrong answer.

    That said here’s my take on the whole certification scenario. I think it’s silly to have to take the whole test every two years. That’s like having to take the SAT every two years for fear you might forget how to multiply. Does that seem ridiculous to anyone else besides myself? I do think it’s important to take a recertification test every so often. It shows you’re up to date and that you care enough about your craft to be willing to go through the stress of taking another test. If they’re worried about the whole open book situation, why not keep the shorter, more focused recert test and simply Host it at a Pearson location? Or maybe they could just mail you some headphones and obligate you to wear it during the test. Than they could just shock your brain every time you switch to another web page.

    But really, why not just shorten the time you have to take it? Instead of being 130 minutes, make it 60 minutes long. Focus on making the test better and more practical instead of coming up with ways to get more money from customers. My two cents.

    • I took the test yesterday and passed, and I agree with you, there was definitely one question with no correct answers. That was extremely frustrating.

  3. If the same people who set the questions, update the Adobe Certification site, then there could be problems! ACE InDesign CC Information is listed under Adobe Lightroom!!!!

  4. Just a minor, picayune note:
    When you’re ACE-certified, you can become an Adobe Certified Instructor for that program, and/or you can teach in an authorized Adobe training center.</snip?

    The "or" part makes it seem as if an ACE could train for a Adobe Authorized Training Centers (AATCs) without being an Adobe Certified Instructors (ACIs).

    It is not an "and/or" type of thing–AATCs are REQUIRED to use ACIs for their Adobe classes. ACIs are REQUIRED to be ACEs in any program they teach. However, AATCs often overlook this rule, and Adobe turns a blind eye.

  5. David, as an ACI, that’s news to me! Hmph. I thought AATCs needed to hire ACEs to teach a subject. But you are right of course … I’ll correct that sentence.

    For readers who aren’t up on the jargon: An ACE is a subject matter expert in the application for which they passed the ACE exam. A Photoshop ACE, an InDesign ACE.

    An ACI is an Adobe Certified Instructor. To become an ACI, you have to be an ACE, and also an expert *teacher* … not every ACE can teach as well as do. You submit a teaching credential or certification. ACIs are often independent trainers that provide on-site or remote training.

    An AATC is an Adobe Authorized Training Center. In addition to other requirements, they have to hire ACIs to teach their classes, as freelancers or as staff.

    Benefits and requirements for the ACIs and AATCs:

    The Adobe Training Partner page lets you search for ACIs and AATCs near you:

  6. Harrumpf! I took the InDesign CC test earlier, but I waited until the evening of December 31st to take the PS CC recert and the Illustrator CC recert. They were taken down already! Even though they were supposed to be available thru the 31st! Emails sent to Pearson Vue went unanswered thus far. Oh well. I guess I will have to proctor those later on!

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