After years of working with Photoshop, I was ready to challenge myself to learn new things and test my knowledge of the software. With no immediate plans to upgrade to Photoshop CC, I decided to focus on the version I had the most experience with and currently use, Adobe Photoshop CS6.
It is easy to continue using Photoshop in the same routine, with the same tools you have always used. Nothing forced me to learn the intricacies of Photoshop like preparing for this exam. I will share my experience in preparing for and passing the Photoshop CS6 ACE Exam. I hope that you find my experience helpful in your journey.
The Adobe Exam Guideline
I started by reviewing the Adobe exam guide and read about the exam format and topics covered. The guide recommends at least 3 years of Photoshop experience. For general info about Adobe certification, check out the certification home page.
My primary preparation tool for the exam was the Photoshop CS6 ACE Exam Aid from Exam Aids. The Exam Aid includes
663 questions that cover topics from the Adobe exam guide. The questions are written by authors who have experience taking the Adobe Certified Expert Exam. The questions are written in a similar format to the exam and include links to the corresponding Adobe help file associated with the question. As I read through the prep questions, I would walk-through the steps in Bridge, Camera Raw or Photoshop if I was unfamiliar with the answer. The Exam Aid also has a review and practice exam mode.
I must stress that the questions in the Exam Aid are not necessarily the questions you will see on the exam. It serves as a general guide and preparation for the style of the exam. For this reason, you must use several sources to prepare for the exam. Alternatively, you could read the Photoshop Help files.
If you have access to Lynda training, I recommend the following series by author Deke McClelland (Deke rocks!). You can watch the entire series or view the videos that are relevant to the topics in the Adobe exam guide.
Working in Photoshop
Don’t forget to integrate your new training while using Photoshop, rather than only watching and reading training. Familiarize yourself with the areas of the software that you may not use regularly.
Scheduling the Exam
Once you have studied the exam topics and feel confident you know the material, you are ready to schedule your exam. I scheduled the exam through Pearson Vue. You will need to locate a test center and select the appropriate exam.
Keyboard shortcuts are key. MANY of the questions on the exam involved keyboard shortcuts and modifier keys. It is not enough to know how to perform a function within Photoshop, you need to know every alternate way you can perform it and the keyboard shortcuts that are involved.
Stay focused on the exam topics and study them in detail. General knowledge of each topic is not enough.
If you are self-motivated and seeking to challenge yourself to learn more about Photoshop, the ACE exam will do this. Beyond your portfolio, the Adobe Certified Expert designation will distinguish you from other Photoshop users.
In the spirit of sharing, I want to give a special thanks to a fellow Photoshop user that I had the pleasure of working with very early in my career. This person freely shared their knowledge of Photoshop and showed me the power of masking, blending modes and much more. Thank you Gary Hart, I wish everyone shared like you.
If this post has helped you in some way, please share a comment.
With great pleasure,
Jamie Carroll, Adobe Certified Expert