Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Passed the CLD (part 5) - test day

I passed the CLD exam a couple weeks ago, and I'm writing about that experience.  I've talked about the NI coursesworking sample problems, and my test prep guide.  So all that's left is to go over the actual experience.  The description is a bit personal, but hopefully if you take the test yourself you might get something out of this account.

It's been a long time since I took a serious test.  The last time must be when I took CS grad school classes back in the late 90s.  I was nervous.  To fight that feeling, I tried to prepare myself as well as I could.  Get plenty of sleep for about two days prior to the test, jam to good music the night before, eat a good breakfast that morning.  I drove down late Monday morning for the 10am appointment.

I brought my own mug in with me to the test, filled with Mountain Dew (an old college habit).  I took the exam in a nice quiet room at a nearby NI office.  Unfortunately, this nice quiet room was right next door to the breakroom.  At noon it got very noisy.  The NI employees were having a good time discussing their weekends.  They must have enjoyed it, because there was a lot of loud laughing.

Around 1pm, after trying to code through an hour of conversation, LabVIEW crashed.  Great.  Fortunately, I had the sense enough to leave the computer alone and show the coordinator what happened.  She called down to NI in Austin, and they gave me the option of getting some extra test time or retaking the test another day.  Tough call, but I decided to just finish the thing.  So I rebooted the computer, restarted LV, recovered the code, figured out what work I had lost, and got back into the programming zone (thankfully quiet this time around).

So that's what my test day was like.  It could have been worse, but if any of you take the exam I hope your day is better than mine.

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