Online Testing Frequently Asked Questions
NCRA certifications have set the standard for excellence since 1935, becoming perhaps your most valuable membership benefit. In order to meet member requests for more tests, more sites, more chances to become certified, and more convenience, NCRA has partnered with leading professional electronic testing company Pearson VUE to offer the NCRA Written Knowledge Tests (RPR, RMR, RDR, CCP, CBC, CLVS) in a computer-based format beginning in October 2007.
Why switch from a pencil- and paper-based exam to a computer-based exam?
NCRA’s decision to move to a computer-based exam was member-driven. Computer-based testing allows for a significant increase in test sites and times, making it more convenient for members to test for their certifications. Also, utilizing professional testing centers and equipment will allow for an improved testing environment and enhanced test security.
Who is Pearson VUE? What role does NCRA play in the exam process?
Pearson VUE is an expert provider of computer-based testing services. Their sole focus is on administering the WKT; therefore, allowing NCRA-sponsored testing sites to solely focus on the Skills Tests. NCRA member testing experts continue to work with the Professional Examination Service, NCRA’s outside testing authority, to create the exams and ensure the development of objective, focused and valid tests.
Are there more testing sites?
Absolutely! By contracting with Pearson VUE, NCRA can now offer the RPR, RMR, RDR, CCP, CBC and CLVS Written Knowledge Tests at more than 200 Pearson VUE-owned and operated test centers in the U.S. and its territories, and more than 170 biometrically equipped authorized test sites in 80 countries outside of the U.S. This increase in test locations makes it easier for a candidate to find a testing site closer to home and reduces travel time and expense. The entire list of test sites is available at www.pearsonvue.com/ppt.
How often will the NCRA WKT exams be administered now that it will be computer-based?
Much more often! In years past, the exam was only offered two days a year, but the computer-based NCRA Written Knowledge Tests will now be offered 48 days each year. There will be four two-week testing periods (in January, April, June, and October). Applicants no longer have to worry about conflicts with work, family needs or religious holidays, and can take the test at a time that best fits their schedule.
Since the WKT will be offered four times a year in two-week windows, can I take the same WKT, like the RPR, more than once during each window?
Unfortunately no. You can only take the same WKT once during each two-week window.
Can I take different WKTs, like the RMR and CCP, during the same two-week window?
Certainly! As long as you meet the eligibility requirements for the different WKTs, you may sit for them in the same two-week window. This means you may seek different credentials at the same time.
How secure is computer-based testing?
Pearson VUE has a great deal of experience in the online testing field and has put in place processes and safeguards against cheating that have proven to be effective for many other associations. These safeguards include:
- Prevention of unauthorized access to test items, test results, examinee data, testing schedules and other sensitive data;
- Confirmed identity and approved behavior for employees, contractors, test center staff and test takers;
- Secured online financial, file and database transactions;
- Data and systems integrity and redundancy; and
- Protection against computer viruses.
Pearson VUE is committed to providing the most secure testing environment for NCRA members.
Will I be able to take the Skills Exam online as well?
That’s certainly a near-future goal. NCRA is working with Pearson VUE to determine what needs to be done so we can offer the RPR, RMR, CRR, CCP, and CBC Skills Exams in a computer-based testing environment, thereby expanding the number of times the test is given during the year and the number of locations where it can be taken.
Will I still be able to take the Written Knowledge Test and the Skills Test on the same day at the same location?
Unfortunately not at this time. Candidates for the WKT will test at a Pearson VUE test center; candidates for the Skills Test will continue to test twice a year at an existing NCRA testing site.
Please note that this is a temporary situation, in a sense the first step in a two-step process. Once we establish the computer-based WKT, NCRA will be moving to computer-based testing for both the WKT and the Skills Test, thereby possibly increasing the number of Skills Tests from two to four during the year and allowing candidates to take both the WKT and the Skills Test at the same time if they so desire.
What if I have to reschedule my exam?
Candidates can now schedule and reschedule their exam up to 48 hours prior to the chosen exam date without being charged a postponement fee. So, for example, if you cannot take the test on Monday, regardless of the reason, you can reschedule your exam for Wednesday; no questions asked, no additional fees.
Will the exam look different now that it is computer-based?
It will be the same format, in that you select from among four choices for each question, but it’s simply done via computer. It will be very similar to completing one of NCRA’s online surveys. All candidates will receive a tutorial prior to starting the exam.
What happens on the day of the exam?
Plan to show up at least a half-hour prior to exam time. Before entering the testing room, you will be required to show two forms of signed identification with your signature on them, one of which must be a government issued photo document such as a driver’s license or passport. A picture of you will be taken and a “photograph” of your fingerprint will also be taken. Further information regarding exam day procedures can be found in the materials distributed by NCRA when you register for an exam.
How will exam security be affected by computer-based testing?
Security will be increased in two important ways. First, biometric data security will now be used. This means that photograph and fingerprint identification will be required at check-in. In addition, the risk of exposing questions is greatly reduced by eliminating printed examinations and employing state-of-the-art encryption technology. Security cameras and direct line of sight to all testing stations by test proctors will assist in providing additional testing security.
Why do I need to be fingerprinted when I check in at a test center?
Pearson VUE has a sophisticated system of biometrics to manage test security. Biometrics is the study of measurable biological characteristics, such as fingerprints, voice patterns, etc., and is used as a unique identifier for test candidates. Basically, Pearson VUE is ensuring that the candidate walking in to take a test is the same candidate who is leaving the test center afterwards. The finger scan and identifying information are not shared externally with anyone for any purpose.
This technology is increasingly used in daily life – for admission to Walt Disney World and payment at grocery stores around Chicago and elsewhere, to cite two examples.
How secure is my information?
Pearson VUE keeps biometric data securely stored in a separate location from candidates’ other personal information. Finger scans cannot be identified directly by the candidate's name or other personal identifiers.
So I’ll have to pay for both the WKT and the Skills Test. Why do I have to pay more to take the exams?
In the past, members paid one fee to take both the WKT and the Skills Tests. Since the tests are being broken out, the fees need to be broken out also. However, balance that against the possibility of becoming certified faster. The only members who will initially pay more to take the exams are those who need to take both the WKT and the Skills Tests, which is just a portion of the membership. In the case of the RPR and RMR, most members pass the WKT first, and then focus solely on the Skills Test.
Consider that on average only 7.5 percent of RPR test candidates taking the WKT and all three legs of the Skills exam pass all four tests in one sitting. By breaking out the tests, members will now be able to become certified in half the time. For example, again focusing on the RPR, if an individual passes one test at each sitting, what was once a two-year process (with two test dates during the year) will become a one-year process (with four test dates during the year).
What are the registration fees for the exams?
The registration fee for the WKT is $175 ($140 for students). The registration fee for the Skills Test remains at $160 ($125 for students). Though the costs for members taking both the WKT and Skills Tests are increasing, so are the number of testing sites and the chances of becoming certified. And, for those candidates strictly focusing on the WKT or the Skills Test, the registration fees remain constant.
So how much more money will NCRA make with computer-based testing?
Actually, none. NCRA’s current testing revenue will decrease by implementing this new approach. But the decision to move in this direction wasn’t based on money. Members wanted more opportunities to take NCRA’s certification exams. The focus in making this decision was on improving member service.
Computer-based Testing at a Glance
More test sites – Over 200 test centers in the United States alone and over 170 professional International test sites means shorter travel times, less travel and less expense to get to a test site.
More test dates – Choose a test date from 48 days out of the year – a substantial increase over the previous 2 days per year that the exam was administered.
No more pencils – Take the NCRA WKT at a computer in a private cubicle at one of Pearson VUE’s test centers.
Flexibility with scheduling – Schedule and reschedule up to 48 hours prior to the chosen exam date without incurring any postponement fee, but schedule early to get your preferred day and time.
Enhanced exam format – Advanced technology available with a computer-based format will allow for better graphics and presentation of exam material.
Increased security – Photographic and fingerprint identification required at check-in. Prevention of unauthorized access to test items, test results, examinee data, testing schedules and other sensitive data. Professionally-proctored test centers.
Scoring – With computer-based testing you’ll have exam results in less than the current eight weeks .
Take an online tour of a Pearson VUE Professional Center.