This was my 3rd AU conference and the second I've attended at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. I also went this year with a real purpose. After 2010 and 2011 I had heard enough about Autodesk Certification and decided to make passing the exam a personal goal on a future visit. So before leaving last year I purchased several excellent certification study guides from the good folks in the Ascent booth at the exhibition hall. There was a lot of material to cover so it was worth setting up a schedule of mileposts to hit along the way. Things fell behind a bit late in the year when work started on the office workstation build... but by then it wasn't bad enough to completely derail the effort. I was mostly ready.
On Day 1 of the conference I had too full a schedule to take the test. Unfortunately on Day 2 I woke up with a nasty intestinal bacteria that ended up taking me completely out of action for the next 24 hrs! So in addition to missing all Day 2 classes and forums I also lost any chance to do the test that day. Day 3 ends the conference and my schedule was light anyway. By that afternoon, with things still "gurgling" inside of me, I realized it was now or never to take a shot at the test. So off I went... but the drama wasn't over.
After a wait of about 45 minutes for a seat to open up I was one of the last ones to get into the exam room, a huge ballroom which probably held 200 people each on an individual computer. Just as I finished signing in for the test my system froze. At about the same time hands went in the air all over the room from people taking exams in AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, Civil 3D, and many other products, because ALL of the systems had gone down. It turned out all internet connectivity to the building had been lost!
It was now about 4:00p and the test center was scheduled to close at 6:30p. It was also conference party night over at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino! After about 15 minutes one of the proctors announced that in the event the internet couldn't be restored everyone would be given a voucher to take the test again at any authorized testing center. That might have been fine for some, but for many a test center is no where nearby. In my case the only authorized testing locations are on Oahu, making it an expensive deal even with a voucher. Aargh!
Fortunately the outage was short and I was able to begin and finish the exam before the center closed. Autodesk certification exams are 2 hr timed and proctored exams. I got done with mine with 6 minutes to spare. You also find out right away whether you've passed or not, so it was a nice feeling to be able to walk out of the room and know a year's worth of study had paid off.
The only thing left now is to take the mock "incentive" certification off the refrigerator door and replace it with the real thing. Somehow I suspect it'll stay up there a bit longer.