How to pass the ACE Exam for Illustrator CC 2015

How to pass the ACE Exam for Illustrator CC 2015

On the 13 May 2016,

I took the Adobe Illustrator CC 2015 ACE Beta Exam.  

Illustrator has never been my strong suit compared to Photoshop and After Effects. I mainly use it for vectorising my artwork with just the pen and shape tools. I decided to take on this Beta exam to improve my comprehension of the software.

The difference between an ACE Beta Exam and ACE Exam is as followed:

Category / Type ACE Exam ACE Beta Exam
Number of questions 53 Multiple Choice 180 Multiple Choice
Time Limit 60 Minutes 250 Minutes
Passing Score 66% ?
Results released Upon completion 8-10 weeks to after the beta period

My experiment to study

Taking the ACE Exam has always felt like a gamble despite my years of the software usage and weeks of studying prior to the exam. I could never feel confident entering the testing center and taking the test felt as if I was walking over a tight rope.

This was mostly because of the technical phrasing of the questions, ambiguous answer choices and content you just did not expect. And without opening the software in front of you, it is difficult to recall some details and mix up functions.

Hence, I decided to experiment different ways to study and prepare for the exam. If you read my previous article on How to pass the Adobe Photoshop CC ACE Exam and How to pass the Adobe After Effects CC ACE Exam, I shared how I used multiple books, the study guide and the Adobe Help file as preparation guides.

And while I did pass both of them, I still felt I was not effectively studying the software.

I was sent an ACE: Illustrator Skills Measured PDF in the email regarding the Beta registration.It is similar to the Adobe Exam Guide, stating only the Objective Domain (topics covered).

I printed this file out, read it once while highlighting contents which I was clueless.

Then, I tackle each topic bullet point individually while referencing from the Illustrator Help.

I would not move on until I understand fully about subject in the bullet point. And that is all I did, no books or whatsoever.

It took me a span of 9 to 10 hours over three days to complete studying. 

How did the exam go?

The exam went well! I was able to answer most of the questions with only thirty of them unsure. My experiment was a success in just relying on the topics PDF.

The biggest takeaway

Previously I took the Illustrator ACE Exam through conventional means, and I failed.

My mistake was thinking of raking up all the certifications without studying fully. (I was really desperate as I need to up my resume).

Despite being given list of topics to study from the Adobe Study Guide, I was skeptical about using that alone. What if some questions out of the topics appear? I could not take such chances hence I used the Adobe Illustrator On Demand book as my main study guide back, read every single chapter and covered every nook and cranny albeit rather sparsely across.

I then took the exam which proved to be extremely difficult and the results was a failure. So do not repeat what I did! Understand in depth about lesser chapters is much better than spreading yourself thin. That is the lesson here!

And now completing the Beta exam, I feel more prepared and I understand the software better now.

I learned the Illustrator is amazing with shape builder, object envelope distort, recolor artwork and so on. This was something I did not learn in school.

I hope this guide helped you in some ways.

Thank you for reading!

Desmond Du

Desmond Du is a Singaporean pursuing a B.F.A in Motion Media Design at SCAD Savannah. He enjoys sharing knowledge with everyone and helping people to do their best in whatever work they are doing. He is also looking for content creators to collaborate with or share their content on

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