NCIDQ Exam Content

Content by Section


The NCIDQ Examination consists of two multiple-choice sections and a drawing practicum entirely focused on health, safety and welfare. While interior designers must possess knowledge in many areas, such as accounting, human resources and aesthetics, the NCIDQ Examination tests knowledge in only those areas that relate to health, safety and welfare.

The content of the examination is based on a blueprint developed after an assessment of the profession, conducted approximately every five years, called a practice analysis. NCIDQ conducted a practice analysis in 2008 by surveying practicing professionals to identify and ensure that the exam reflects changes in interior design practice.

Through the practice analysis, NCIDQ determined that seven content areas characterize the work of interior design:  
  • Building Systems
  • Codes
  • Construction Standards
  • Contract Administration
  • Design Application
  • Professional Practice
  • Project Coordination


Multiple-Choice Sections

In 2013, NCIDQ launched two new multiple-choice exams. These exams test the same content as the previous Sections 1 and 2, although the content has been reorganized. The ability level required to pass the exam has not changed. Because the content has been rearranged, candidates must have completed both Sections 1 and 2 by the end of 2013 or retest in the new computer-delivered formats.

Many questions on these sections incorporate drawings, pictures, symbols and textual formats typical in the interior design profession, requiring candidates to recall, apply and analyze information.

Each multiple-choice exam includes both scored and unscored questions. These unscored questions are "experimental." Analyzing the results of these unscored questions allows us to identify which questions are ready to be used on future exams and which questions need additional writing and editing. Unscored questions are not identified on the examination; you should give your best effort on all test questions.

NCIDQ prepares new versions of the examination regularly and uses statistical equating procedures to ensure that all versions are equal in difficulty.

Multiple-Choice Sections (IDFX and IDPX)

These exams are completed in a computer-based testing center and scored electronically on a standardized scale of 200 to 800, with the passing point anchored at 500.

The Interior Design Fundamentals Exam (IDFX) is available to approved candidates who have completed their education but may or may not have completed their work experience. The exam consists of 100 scored questions and 25 unscored, experimental questions. IDFX addresses the content areas of Building Systems, Construction Standards and Design Application. Candidates are given three hours to complete IDFX.

The Interior Design Professional Exam (IDPX) is available to approved candidates who have completed both their education and the required amount of work experience. The exam consists of 150 scored questions and 25 unscored, experimental questions.  IDPX addresses the content areas of Building Systems, Codes, Construction Standards, Professional Practice and Project Coordination. Candidates are given four hours to complete IDPX.


Practicum (formerly Section 3)

The Practicum exam requires candidates to produce several design solutions. Candidates are given a series of unique exercises covering Space Planning, Lighting Design, Egress, Life Safety, Restroom [Washroom] Design, Systems Integration and Millwork Design. All candidates for a given test date receive the same exercises. The exercises require candidates to interpret a program into schematics, produce plan drawings and develop appropriate specifications and schedules. Work products must address codes and the principles of universal design.


Exam Study Materials

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