ACAs are some pretty important certification tests. ACA, of course, stands for Adobe Certification Associate and will allow you to get certified in a few different Adobe softwares. The test is by Adobe themselves, so being certified by Adobe is very important and you can put these things on your portfolio if you wanted to. It’ll add more weight to your portfolio, as well.

My Study Process

Study, study, and study, essentially. The way I studied was by repetitivity and messing around in the programs themselves. What I did to study was to utilize the ACA Test Prep website and I watched all their videos and took their quizzes. On this website, there is multiple sections for each program, and within each section are some video lessons, along with quizzes per section. What I did and what I’d recommend to do is to take the quiz to test yourself before watching the videos. Upon doing the quiz, check your grades, read over the answers and drill the ones you got incorrect into your mind until they stick. Then at that point, you can watch the videos, and after watching those, retake the quiz. Rinse and repeat this with each different section, and then whenever you finish that, you’re done for the day.

My ACA Tests were a couple days apart, and since the human brain remembers things better after sleeping, I would do my quizzes, watch the videos, and then do leisurely activities, going to bed at an average time the night of. Because the mind does this and I had time, what I did was after relaxation and etcetera with little thought about the ACAs, I went back and redid the quizzes and videos- first the quiz, watch all the videos again (skipping here and there if I remember, of course), and then doing the quiz again. I started getting full point, 100 percents at this point.

Rinse and repeat this per test, and be careful not to get too stressed. This was all helpful, but then when it began to stress me out, and I paid too much attention to it in a way that was nervous, my memory and quizzing got much worse, and I lost focus. I’d recommend not to sweat it, at all. That’s harder said than done. While being frantically worried may make your memory and thought process better or faster, you won’t feel good, and not being in the right mind during a test can mess you up totally. Diligence is a good thing, but too much of a good thing can become bad. Take ample breaks, if you feel yourself losing focus, stop. Forcing yourself to keep focus when you actually can’t comprehend much and/or distracted will just waste time. Along with studying at the computer, if you aren’t one for staring at screens for extended lengths of time for studying, you could probably work with the Adobe Official textbooks that contain information on the UI, where the tools are, and different functions. However, nothing beats simply going on to the programs and playing around to attempt to figure things out yourself (but be sure to use the practice quizzes as a guide).

Are You Testing?

I think everyone should study in the way that they find easiest to them. Whether it be via books, via online tutorials and practice quizzes, or even by doing guided practice via hands-on work through the programs itself, that’s the best way you can study. Hell, even if you do all of them! As long as it works for you, you’re studying the best way you can.

While diligence and hard-work of course, is rewarded, always take breaks, always practice good ergonomics at the computer, and always be sure to put yourself first. If you get exhausted or can’t focus or tired, listen to your body and take a break. Even if your breaks are frequent, as long as you put enough work into it, then you’re doing good. Just be sure to remember, there’s a difference between laziness and taking breaks. Just be sure to monitor your time.

I wish that when I started the ACA preps and tests I had calmed down a bit. Being nervous definitely didn’t help me, and the tests are no big deal. They’re 45 questions relating to the program with little simulated windows of the program within the testing browser. There’s a lot to take into consideration, but as long as you go in with a good mind and practice, you’ll do fine.

My Certificates

The ACA Certificates I’ve earned so far are Photoshop and Illustrator. Those two I did well in, and I studied them for a while, along with working with them. Photoshop I’ve known for years, and used for years, which definitely helped me along. Illustrator, on the other hand, I just started to use this year, and I actually got a higher grade in Illustrator than in Photoshop. It really explains their complexity, in all honesty. Illustrator is exceedingly simple in comparison to the bulky and all-purpose Photoshop. In all honesty, I want to get as many ACAs as I can, particularly InDesign and hopefully maybe Animate. Other than that, I’m not sure yet, but I certainly wouldn’t mind getting all the ACA certifications I can.

Featured Photo by Laurent Peignault on Unsplash.