The Practicum Exam

The Practicum Exam is delivered in a digitized format. It is administered via a user-friendly testing platform, not a design platform, so no prior design software experience is required to take the exam. Preview and practice tools available on this page include the Exam Blueprint (content outline), a video demonstration and a separate Praticum 'Small Commercial Case Study' Quiz (available for purchase). Details for tools can be found on this page.

Before Taking the Practicum

Practicum Video Library


Helpful information and tips are covered in these videos.



CIDQ has created and uses a specific, independent set of building codes for the purpose of taking the Practicum Exam, called the NCIDQ Examination Building Codes. The NCIDQ Examination Building Codes are provided during the examination as an accessible tab screen. Exam exercises are graded for compliance with these specific code requirements. These are necessary to use to answer some questions correctly. 


Outlines exam content and tasks being tested.




The Practicum Small Commercial Quiz ($75) provides 40 questions (same as the case study of the Practicum Exam) and mirrors what a candidate might experience during the exam.
When ready to take the Practicum Small Commercial Quiz, please allocate 90 minutes to this effort, as once started, the quiz must be completed in its entirety.
Each quiz is a single-use, one time only exam, and can only be completed once per purchase. If the quiz is repurchased, the content will remain the same but the questions may be reordered.
Users will receive an immediate score result at the end of each quiz. This score report is a breakdown of the number of questions answered correctly and the number answered incorrectly; specific feedback on each item is not provided at this time.​

How to Prepare:


​Frequently Asked PRACTICUM Questions

How long is the Exam?

Candidates are given 4 hours to complete the Practicum Exam. 

What will be tested?

The Practicum Exam Blueprint has been applied evenly to all 3 case studies. While the specific tasks or knowledge areas might vary from scenario to scenario, the overall content outlines will remain consist.

Where and When will it be offered?

The Practicum Exam will be offered for the entire months of April and October, at the same testing centers as IDFX and IDPX.



Do I have to know AutoCAD or Revit in order to take this exam?

No. The Practicum Exam platform is a testing platform, not a design platform and therefore no prior design software experience is needed to take this exam.

What preparation resources will be available?

In addition to the Practicum Blueprint, a practice quiz that mirrors the testing environment is available for candidates to familiarize themselves with the new testing platform.

How will space planning be tested?

Knowledge of space planning is still an important aspect of the design process and the NCIDQ Exam. However, on  the Practicum Exam, candidates are not creating a new space plan. Instead, they will be evaluating a completed plan or plan a space for a single room based upon specific parameters.


How many questions are on the exam?

There are 120 questions divided across three case studies: large commercial, small commercial, and multi-family residential. 

*There are six additional items noted in the total question count that are simply the transition pages when moving from one Case Study to the next.

PRACTICUM Case Studies

With the Practicum Exam, CIDQ is introducing a digitized means of testing that allows for individual assessment of high-level cognitive functions.  Differing from the hand drawn Practicum previously offered, the computerized Practicum Exam utilizes case studies to assess a candidate’s ability to synthesis information related to the design process and make a judgement using the resources provided.


Each Practicum Exam exam will consist of three (3) CIDQ case studies: large commercial, small commercial, and multi-family residential.

Every question on the Practicum Exam will be attached to a case study which will include various resources surrounding the design scenario.

CIDQ case studies include: a project scenario, universal codes, a plan and other resources that might be needed to answer a question correctly.

Each case study counts for a third of the exam score and the content is aligned with the overall Practicum Exam Blueprint. The exam blueprint is created from the latest Practice Analysis, a thorough and vigorous study conducted every five years to ensure the exam accurately reflects the current practice of interior design.

Working through each case study will require an exam candidate to synthesis information, analyze various design documents, and make specific judgements that demonstrate understanding of the tasks and knowledge areas within the exam blueprint which includes the competencies listed under each content area.


As with the multiple choice exams, all questions in the Practicum Exam are worth one point and the question must be answered in its entirety. No partial credit will be given.