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CPF exam concerns

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Karlee, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Karlee

    Karlee Grumbler

    Guess you guys are wondering if I passed the exam..huh

    I DID! With lots of hard work! Guess I started a little up roar. But hey, guess that's why they call it "The Grumble". Its funny that what people are most frustrated bout is this one question. I have no problems on how this question is worded. In my mind you are using 3 mat colors and there for you are using a triple mat just incorporating it a different way. Its our job as framers to suggest this to your customer and educated them on how this way is the BEST alternative. There nothing wrong with suggestions, if you sound like you know what you are talking about, the customer usually ALWAYS goes with the suggestions. At least this is the way it works in our shop. The test doesn't tell you how you SHOULD run your frame shop, its Ultimately up to you of course. The job of the test is to educate the framer, and that's what it did for me. Yes, most of the material was just a review, but at least I took the time to educate myself and make sure I as a framer know what I'm doing.

    I do however have a few complaints:

    The study guide wasn't at all helpful. The reading material that they sagest was of course. The practice questions didn't prepare me on how the test was going to be. There was a lot on the study guide that they didn't cover in the test. If they revise the test every three years maybe they should look more into the how the study guide help us prepare better.

    Some of the questions they asked dint feel as relevant as some the could have asked. For instance, They ask about hard woods and soft woods and what of wood. They never mention these types of wood in the reading material. When you order molding from LJ or any other company for that matter, do they tell you what type of wood it is? And don't all framing programs tell you how much molding you need to to do a frame. You put the dimensions in the computer and like magic it tells you.

    Finally, framing is an art. Would it not be nice to have fancy certificates on the wall to show our your certificate off. A nice certificate with a fancy frame job would show off our skills. Plus look like more of a accomplishment if its got some a little scroll work or fancy wooptadoo. BUT NOOOO, it's boring, bland and not fancy. Pretty hard to show off your creative skills with that.

    These are just a few little pet peeves of mine. Nothing big, I'm not going to let it ruin my day. Every body picks their battle and this its mine. No offense to all those who did, its obviously important and with venting about, what better place to do it then the Grumble.

    This test IS worth taking and brought confidence in myself and the work I do. My advise to those who are going to take the test. STUDY STUDY STUDY!!!! Don't think 20 years of experience to going to help you in this case. News to you guys who do......you will probable fail! NO JOKE. Plus you or your business is paying a good about of money for you to take the test. Why would you take the risk, you might as well flush it down the toilet. And if you did study and fail, learn form it preserver. When you do pass, its that much more special.

    There.....said my part. Now that I have wasted enough work time, I'm going to get back to work.
  2. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Congratulations, Karlee!!! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
  3. Randy Jordan

    Randy Jordan MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Way to go Karlee! Congrats!!!!! Randy J
  4. JP Herb

    JP Herb SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm with AnneL. If the test is to determine the knowlege of a framer then the answer should be e: show the customer why non glare glass would be a bad choice on a tripple mat because of the clarity issues. And then if they still insist, do it their way.
  5. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    First, congratulations.

    However even if you rely on your POS system, if you sell length, you still need to know how to figure out how much moulding you need for a frame.

    For example:

    I had an Artist / Client call me at home last Sunday and said she had a show this week and needed to have a piece of art framed. It was a drawing and it was on a 11 x 14 sheet of paper. She wanted a black frame, and because it was in a show it had to be white mats. She would come in on Monday PM.

    Because of the short time, I had to have the moulding in stock, or buy from a local wholesaler that could deliver Tuesday so I would have it finished by Wednesday morning. This excluded lots of great black options, so I decided I would pull out the options that I could have done by Tuesday night, and have them on the counter when she came in.

    Of the length I had in stock, I had two mouldings that had limited stock. I had 7.2 feet of a 7/8" moulding, and 7-1/2 feet of a 2-1/2" moulding - both were wonderful black mouldings. The question is should I include these as possibilities? Remember I have not seen the artwork and I don't know what will go well. I just know it is on an 11 x 14 sheet of paper. But if I put out something that I don't have enough of I have wasted both of our times.

    Because I know the paper size I automatically know I don't have enough of the 2-1/2" wide moulding. (I'm sure you see this too) I don't have to go to my POS system to get the answer for each of the moulding options, because I know how to calculate the amount of moulding needed.

    But I do know I have enough for the 7/8" wide moulding.

    How? An 11 x 14 with a 3 inch mat margin will end up being a 17 x 20, or with 1" weighting, a 17 x 21. If I come in 1/2 inch to cover the artwork, it will be a 16 x 20 (1/4 inch it will be 16.5 x 20.5). A 16 x 20 requires 6 feet plus the allowance for width. A 7/8" (say 1") requires an additional 8 inches, so 7' will work. A 2-1/2" moulding will require an additional 20 inches, so no way.

    As an aside, in my shop every corner sample, on the left corner where the cut is, has the width and rabbet height marked. This helps me during the design process, (how many mats in the design), and the ordering (will I bring this in as length or chop, eg 11 feet probably chop, 14 feet, probably length)

    Take care.
  6. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    I’m really not sure why this is still an issue. This was one sample question that appeared on the study guide. Samples, as in it was given to show a test taker or someone interested the type of question that could be expected. This question is not on the exam, and if it were it would be one out of 150 questions.

    When I taught the Intro to the CPF Exam class in January I added this sample question to the presentation. I asked the class (twenty-plus people) what we knew about non-glare glass. Everyone said it distorted the image when spaced away from the art. I asked what we knew about triple mats. Everyone knew that they would space the glass away from the art a greater distance. And what do we know about inlaid mats? That they give the look of a triple mat with only two mat layers, or maybe even one mat layer depending on how it’s done. So the answer was pretty clear, no pun intended.

    Yes, most of us would try to educate the customer and show that there would be a loss of clarity in the image. Yes, most of us would recommend something like Museum Glass instead. But, as I pointed out to the class, this exam is not the Kobayashi Maru. You don’t get to reprogram the test parameters or write in your own answers. The exam instructions clearly state that you are to choose the best answer from the choices given. Not the best answer based on what your shop doe and not the best answer from what you would like to write in. If it’s not written there in the exam book then it doesn’t matter and it’s not an option.

    Part of being a good framer is having the knowledge to make the best possible decision in a given set of circumstances. We don’t always have the flexibility of doing things exactly the way we want. In this example, what if the customer’s budget did not allow for Museum Glass? What if she was trying to match an existing frame with non-glare glass? What if she just plain liked the look of the stuff? So in these circumstances, with the choices given, the best outcome that would minimize distortion and fulfill the customer’s (not the framer’s) wishes would be an inlaid mat.

    Was that really so difficult?
  7. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Which means...... you pretty much have to answer WHAT the PPFA wants you to say.
    YES we all get it...... there can't possibly be a better answer than the 4 given and the questions can't possibly be worded in other ways....:nuts:

    The knowledge is plain and simple... PPFA knowledge... its not what people would do every single day in their shops. There are too many questions with answers that can and do apply in different situations and other questions that don't even have the most OBVIOUS answer listed.

    The instructors said that if we had any issues with any of the questions that we could write our thoughts on the test..... which I did. :popc:
    Still waiting on a response from that.

    For me its $225 wasted and a lot of time "studying" wasted.
  8. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yeah, I took the online version of the test at a Prometric testing center. The online version has a "notes" box with each question. There were several questions where I provided an essay answer in addition to my choice. Don't know if anyone saw this, but I got my CPF :)
  9. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yes, and I spent a good deal of time looking through your notes and comments and discussed it with the rest of the Certification Board. We appreciate all feedback and consider it when reviewing/revising the exam.
  10. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    When I took the exam back in the dark ages, I, too, made comments in the spaces provided. I assume that they used the comments to make the test better. It never occurred to me that I would get a response from it. I made my comments to improve the test, not to start a dialogue.
  11. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    As I stated before this is the PPFA's test.

    I can't stand behind every quesiton on this test and say it truely tests the knowledge of any 1 framer...
    If you are good at retaining information and have absouletly LIMITED FRAMING EXPERIENCE... you will probably pass...
    Otherwise... its not worth drinking the kool~aid and getting frustrated over it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2013
  12. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    offer a better solution, or give them what they want. Why isn't that an answer?

    PS. i still sell a lot of NG glass to older customers, since its what they are used to... they dont like the clear glass. go figure
  13. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    In the exam booklet it states that any comments or notes written in the booklet will not be considered in grading the exam. I believe the proctor’s script also makes that point.
  14. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Why was my post deleted?
  15. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Because you posted, "Whatever."
  16. Karlee

    Karlee Grumbler

    Lets all agree to disagree.... ;)
  17. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    Classic, welcome to the Grumble Karlee!

    No agreeing until someone is banned, LOL.
  18. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Karlee, congratulations on your success with the CPF exam.

    Yes, that is very good advice, and those of us who know the CPF exam repeat it often. But some framers just don't believe it, since about 40% of CPF exam candidates fail their first try. A few folks simply have difficulty with tests, but I'd guess most of that 40% are veteran framers who think their back room experience is complete. Unfortunately it is not.

    Anyway, your hard work in the studying has paid off, and it is a significant accomplishment. :thumbsup:
  19. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If/when you fail the exam is there a reduced fee for the subsequent exams? Seems like if you design an exam you know a good percentage of candidates will fail multiple times it ceases appearing like a test of skills and more a money making scheme.

    If you want to not have that appearance then the test should be better designed...
  20. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yes, the fee for taking the exam the second time is reduced.

    Since its inception in 1986 it has consistently had a passing rate of about 60% for those taking it the first time. Surely you’re not suggesting that it be watered down so that everyone can pass and to placate cynics are you?
  21. i-m-chickie

    i-m-chickie SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My 2 cents in monopoly money.

    Was sitting in the Vet's office yesterday, as Duncan was getting his boosters and an exam. The took him out of the room to do whatever they do to doggies. Well, here I was, sat in the office reading all the 'this and that's' on the walls. Promo stuff, ads for pills and charts for wellness, AND a membership certificate giving accreditation to the vet.

    Accreditation, that seems to be a word that is not presently in the dialogs regarding to CPF or not CPF.

    Merriam Webster:
    Definition of ACCREDIT

    : to give official authorization to or approval of:
    a : to provide with credentials; especially : to send (an envoy) with letters of authorization
    b : to recognize or vouch for as conforming with a standard
    c : to recognize (an educational institution) as maintaining standards that qualify the graduates for admission to higher or more specialized institutions or for professional practice

    For those who respect the Oxford definitions:

    official approval given by an organization stating that somebody/something has achieved a required standard a letter of accreditation. The Accreditation of Prior Learning scheme allows work experience to be added towards qualifications.

    There all sorts of means to get letters after your name. And most require an investment of time and money in education, and experience. No one disputes Doctors standards of accreditation, or accountants, I won't cite lawyers as an example for the worms that will come out of THAT can. pun intended

    But aside from the obvious lengthy education many of these standards for accreditation...there was a large group professional folks that have ascribed to that standard and who set it. I am rather sure that there are amendments in standards and reviews to techniques and the like. Well the CPF and MCPF are still rather young. MCPFs worldwide are still only in the double digits.
    Time, work, and people getting on board and working WITH the standards and who sets them is the way for our sought designation, to gain a worthy stature. Dumbing it down isn't.

    Also recently on the news, and abortion clinic was found to be doing such unethical practices, (NOT GONNA DISPUTE/ or support abortion for a SINGLE moment) that the license of the Doctor was not only taken from him, and criminal charges were against him and many of his staff for murder.

    STANDARDS. Industry standards, peer accepted standards, and personal acceptance of what we can and CANNOT do professionally is what makes people respond with appropriate dismay about a job unacceptably done.

    Perhaps my example is a bit off, as there is not a lot of moral issues involved with bad framing. Or is there...we as a group have to come to THAT conclusion. Shouldn't we? :p
  22. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    All elements of the CPF program have been refined over the years -- the provenance and wording of the questions/answers, the testing format, the topical emphasis, the Study Guide, the Recertification courses -- everything. There is nothing wrong with the design of the program as it stands, but of course the refinements will continue along with the periodic updates.

    If I were on the Certification Board (which I am not), I would flatly reject the notion of making the CPF exam easier. On the contrary, the plan has always been to help make the framers better. And it is working.

    Very few candidates fail multiple times. Most of the framers who are not successful the first time, and decide to go again, succeed on their second try. That is probably because after the first sitting, they understand the need to study.

    If the CPF exam were only a money-making scheme, the association would not be constantly [strike]advising[/strike] begging the candidates to study and prepare properly, nor would they bother to make such a detailed Study Guide, nor would they set up the chapters to have lending libraries to allow free access to the references, nor would they reduce the price for second sittings.
  23. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Oh, I know Jim. I just figured it was a question that was going to be asked so I thought I would ask it first. I think it is better to ask the question in a level headed manner than to let it get asked in an "intemperate" manner. Most likely others saw the question and thought it was "odd", I hope I served my purpose. As they say it is better to ask a question and look like a fool than to not be look, a fool, umm, ask then look, I forget the quote.....

    But is there a "discount" for taking it the second time? If you are a CPF would you suggest reading through the test materials? How else would you suggest CPFs don't just sit on ever growing stale laurels? Does a CPF certificate come with Grumble Framer God status included? I can see someone earning their CPF, then 12 years later find out that they are out of date. I would be concerned for a customer that put faith into a certificate only to find that the certification was earned in 1971 when cardboard, paper mats and dental floss were conservation standards....
  24. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    That seems to be pretty much true of most of these type of tests.
    When I took my test for a "General Contractors" license I passed the first time, as I am a pretty good test taker and gave consideration to what answer was wanted - and some of the questions were pretty dumb IMO and really didn't test your real knowledge. My younger brother failed it when he took it, even though he had much more real world experience than I, but he wasn't so good at testing.

    My wife took and passed a test as a CKD (Certified Kitchen Designer) and had the same complaints. I had over 30 yrs experience in that field and decided I didn't need or desire to sit for that test.

    I'm a member of PPFA and appreciate those who are CPF's and MCPF's but for me sitting for another test is not important. Keeping up with education on framing is, and that is one benefit of belonging to PPFA. Having a bunch of PPFA ribbons on my wall, IMO also speak very well to my customers.
  25. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Chickie, although I do understand what you are saying, as far as I know you cannot just open a veterinary practice without having those credentials. However, basically anyone can set up as a frame shop.

    Certification in itself will not mean anything to our customers, right now. It might change in the future. If I would ever decide to take the exam (and yes, I would study my butt off) I would certainly try to market the heck out of that.

    As with any test, there will always be questions/answers that 'don't make sense'. I only have to listen to my kids after they take a test and their complaints about what was fair or not fair (some things they didn't even go over in class yet for example).

    Karlee; congratulations!
  26. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    There's a questions you can ask on that test that are industry standard....

    But when you get into questions where there are more than 1 way to answer it... and possibly better answers than are even on the test...... THOSE ARE PPFA OPINiONS!

    The fact that certain people THINK the test is just fine... and the questions are just fine.....and are not willing to listen to people with their concerns.......<and yes there are a lot of people with concerns>Means you will never have full support of some of the most amazing framers in this industry.
    And that's pretty sad... because I know a vast amount of exciting framers that are entergenic and just plain amazing that the PPFA is going to miss out on because of the elitest attitude shown.

    You want the industry to flourish........ you need to listen.
  27. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    Who says they aren't?
  28. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yes, there is, as I pointed out this morning
    . For the FIRST attempt at the CPF exam, a PPFA member pays $225, a non-member pays $325. The RETAKE fee is $150 whether you are a member or not.

    Really? Are you not aware that a CPF (and MCPF for that matter) are both required to take a recertification class every four years? That class is designed specifically to address what you just asked and make sure that the framer keeps up to date with new knowledge, materials and methods.

    Is this thing on? Where's the little emoticom for beating one's head against a brick wall?
  29. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    David please personally call everyone on this thread!
  30. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Sorry Dave, I am only glancing at these posts in this thread. Thanks for pointing out what I missed. And it is good to know that once a CPF you need to keep up. I have to ask were you an extra in the Twilight movies? I only ask because my neck is really painful right now. I can understand your response and jumping on my neck, but did you really have to draw blood? :)
  31. i-m-chickie

    i-m-chickie SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    PPFA is not for profit, and still growing. Right now FAITH is needed for it to grow. A perceived reality that is not yet realized. And only until the standards are accepted by most of us and valued by many of us, it will be a meaningless certificate to most.

    I believe in something yet to come, where principled framers do their best and do it in a way that if ANY framer opened their work, they'd be proud of their peer.

    So right now, my CPF designation (had I passed) would mean something to me. That I learned as much as I could on what is acceptable to my peers.

    Is it flawless as an exam? Nope. But right now it IS the exam. So for now, I will study what is necessary and get it. WHY?

    Because right now, in it's growth stage, the CPF needs names IN FRONT of it, mine. Yours. Paul Cascio's. Nicole's. As many as possible before it can mean more. More to all of those who could and SHOULD believe in it.

    Until then, anybody can buy a chopper, some glue and some spray adhesive and open a shop.
    As our industry grows it will need to be Policed, right now is too early to call it flawless. But it is worth believing in. I do.
  32. Jared Davis CPF GCF

    Jared Davis CPF GCF MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    [​IMG] Originally Posted by blackiris [​IMG]
    As I stated before this is the PPFA's test. I can't stand behind every question on this test and say it truly tests the knowledge of any 1 framer...
    If you are good at retaining information and have absolutely LIMITED FRAMING EXPERIENCE... you will probably pass....

    Hi Nicole,

    I don't think we've ever met, but I have a high regard for you and your efforts on the grumble, and in our industry affiliated social media.

    To some extent, I think you are right. But then again, no "one test" will ever be perfect for all.

    I've been reading this thread with interest and reserved any comment until now.....

    When it comes to failing an exam like this - I for one, know how you must feel....

    Although I personally passed the PPFA CPF exam (which wasn't easy - and did require study - and I'm sure I didn't get every question right!)

    ....I did, however, fail the FATG's GCF exam, the first time I attempted it.

    Of course after failing, I was quietly frustrated and felt their was room to point blame beyond myself - but I eventually got over that and said to myself - you know what, I'm not going to let that beat me - because I know I'm better than that - and if my other associates can find a way to pass this exam, then I can too! - which, of course - I eventually did.

    Please allow me to cite a famous quote from Rocky Balboa (Cheesy, I know...!)

    Don't let it beat you - you know you could nail this if you put your mind to it again - you're better than that!

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