Interior Design

Interior Design Board Examination Review

July 6, 2012

As the students at CDEP (Center for the Designed Environment Professions) are already stressed-out at the thought of the board examination, we at PSID are still having our orientation for the Interior Design board examination review on our first week.

Monday’s morning class was canceled. So was Tuesday’s afternoon class. Wednesday, we just talked about the board examination, and what to expect from it. By the end of Wednesday’s class, our professor asked us if we were scared to take the board examination. Most people raised their hands.

I get why most people are dreading the board examination. I mean, our title as “licensed designers” depends on it. In addition to that, it is only available once a year, unlike most courses. Investing 3 months (almost 24/7) immersed in studies is a risk. Time is gold, and who wants to waste one-fourth of a year? I know I don’t!

Scope of Examination

Here are the subjects that the Interior Design board examination will cover:

  • Interior Design — 45%
  • Furniture Design & Construction — 15%
  • Materials of Decoration — 10%
  • History of Arts & Period Styles — 10%
  • Building Construction — 10%
  • Professional Practice & Ethics — 10%

This year, the Interior Design will be given on the very first day. This is also known as the “drafting day”. Most people dread this subject the most, obviously, since it contributes 45% to the total grade. We will be given one design problem, and we only have one day (8:00 am – 5:00 pm) to work on it—which we are used to doing in at least one week! And they say that if you won’t be able to complete the requirements for this subject, there’s no point in attending the 2nd & 3rd day of the board examination since it guarantees failure.

If I heard correctly from one of our respected professors, they will reduce 5% from Interior Design, and add it to a new subject, Color Theory. I’m not sure about this, though. So don’t quote me on it! I also learned that swatchboards and individual (furniture) drawings will no longer be required this year! What a relief!

My Self-Study Schedule

I thought that the Interior Design board examination review would last for 3 months, but I was wrong. It will only be held for 2 months, then we have a whole month (September), to self-study. We were encouraged to get the handouts of CDEP to study for the exam. So I got it, and decided to make my own “self-study schedule” for each subject:

PSID Board Review Sched

Aside from what I’ll learn during the review class in PSID, I will be studying the CDEP handouts (₱ 1,200). The schedule on the picture above is what my self-study schedule is going to be like. I divided the topics or pages (of the CDEP handouts) under each subject into 12 weeks. One day of the week will be dedicated to only one subject. On Saturdays, I will be reading and studying books recommended by our professors, such as The Visual Dictionary of Architecture by Francis D.K. Ching (₱ 1,700 in Nat’l Bookstore), among a few.

Tips & Advice for the ID Board Examination

Anyway, the whole point of this post was to encourage and share some tips & advice that I’ve learned during my first week reviewing in PSID. These are aimed at everyone who will be taking the Interior Design board examination. (But of course!)

Before I share my personal insight on this whole dreading-the-examination thing, let me share a few points from our professors in PSID and what I got out of their kwentos:

  • Most people won’t eat at all during the examination. But your brain and body need the energy to think and perform well. Eat good & healthy food, and bring lots of water. Hydrate yourself. You want the best out of your brain and performance, don’t you?

  • For Interior Design, exert effort into making your design rationale as best as possibleDon’t just run through your design, but defend and justify every detail and aspect of your design. In school, we got used to defending our design in front of our professors, but as for the board examination, we won’t get the chance to defend anything orally. So put it all in writing. Explain everything and anything that might be questioned.

  • Never leave any question blank!

  • Shade properly.

  • Don’t let any paper get any marks, stains, or rips. A small drop of liquid can confuse the computer checking your papers, or ruin your overall design, causing you to automatically fail.

  • Sir Jie Pambid on Interior Design: Hindi pagandahan; It’s about sensibility.” You need to understand the problem, and your design has to be a smart solution.

My Personal Insight: Understand & Learn

Being the deep thinker that I am, thoughts raced through my head as I realized that the majority dreaded the ID board examination. Personally, I find it unnecessary to fear the exam. There is no need to make anything complicated, really. I believe that the bigger perspective you have on things, the simpler it is.

Here’s the deal: In the lapse of 3 days, we will be drawing for one day, and take the written examination for 2 days. But hey, it’s no longer in identification form, but in the form of multiple-choice. This is not harder. Don’t think of it as having a 25% chance of getting each answer right. Once you see the choices to the question, I’m sure you’ll know which is the right one, as long as you’ve read through it and understood it.

We already know which subjects will be required of us to study and review. So just simply study and review them! If you are concerned about having “too little” time, then manage your time, and divide the pages (or topics) into the days that you have left before the examination. It’s all about managing your time, really.

Don’t just study and read everything that needs to be studied and read for the sake of going through it. Rather: Understand.

Look at the bigger picture: We are taking this exam because everything it covers, we need to know as practicing designers. So don’t just study for the sake of passing the board exam, but make sure you understand everything and learn. 

After all, it’s not just to earn yourself a license or a title, but it is for your own good, as a knowledgeable and competent licensed designer.


  • Reply rsdesign July 28, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Hello, I recently graduated with a BFA in Interior Architecture and Design at a University in California. I am wondering if the review books would suffice to taking the board exam? or would you recommend doing a review class? 

    • Reply jencederstam July 29, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Where are you taking the board exam?

      I don’t know how it is in the States, but here in the Philippines, the exam requires manual drawings (floor and ceiling/lighting plans, perspectives, etc.) under the subject Interior Design which makes 45% of the total grade, so attending a review class for this can be extremely helpful. But as for the written examination, such as for Professional Ethics and History, review books should suffice.

      • Reply rsdesign July 31, 2012 at 9:44 am

        Thank you for your reply. I am thinking of taking the License exam in the Philippines either this year or next year. I had gone to PSID for a year but transferred to a University in California. Have you taken the exam already or are you taking it this year in October? Thank you for all your help, so far!

        • Reply jencederstam July 31, 2012 at 10:14 am

          I’m taking the exam this October. I find it helpful to attend review classes for every subject as it sort of pushes you to study, since the professors give quizzes and mock board exams. Review classes in PSID go for only 2 months, but for the last month (Sep-Oct), they will be conducting mock Interior Design classes on Saturdays, and there will be professors there to criticize your work, which will be extremely helpful. No problem, I’m glad to be of help! 🙂

          • rsdesign August 1, 2012 at 7:48 am

            Wow, that is a great way to prepare for the License exam. Do you know if they accept review classes to graduates outside of PSID? 

          • jencederstam August 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm

            Yes, they do. We have 2 graduates from the Philippine Women’s University reviewing with us in PSID.

  • Reply Bea1mig October 26, 2012 at 11:09 am

    thanks for your insights Jennifer, and congratulations for passing the Board Exam (”,)

    • Reply jcederstam February 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Thank you, Bea! 🙂

  • Reply A. T. Dimaculangan February 10, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Wow! Thank you for writing this blog and radiating positive insights. Good luck to me and to other aspirants. Congratulations for being an Interior Designer now!

    • Reply jcederstam February 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Thank you. And yes, good luck! 🙂

  • Reply Gen Bondoc May 23, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Hi! I have a question.. Do I need to enroll in CDEP to get handouts or I could still buy their handouts even without enrolling? And by the way, I love your blog! This is really helpful and congrats to you! 🙂

    • Reply Jen.C May 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Gen, you don’t need to enroll in CDEP to get their handouts. Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Reply justin mae ortiz July 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Hi! Ask ko lang, super necessary ba na magkaroon ka muna ng experience before taking the board exam ? I’m a fresh grad po kasi and most profs inaadvice na work muna before board. Is it necessary ba talaga? what if gusto ko na mag board and I have the determination and discipline naman in studying and meron naman konting experience, like 2 projects lang. Is it enough ? Thank you!

    • Reply Jen.C July 11, 2013 at 8:06 am

      Hi Justin! Tinake ko yung board exam at pumasa naman ako, kahit wala akong experience. Maraming freshgrad na nagttake ng board at pumapasa. I suggest na magenroll ka sa review center para mas mamotivate ka. 🙂

  • Reply Bea August 10, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Hello, I would like to ask if you took both the basic and advance course at PSID? or it can only be the basic course for you to be able to take the board exam? Thank you!

    • Reply Jen.C August 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Bea, I took both the Basic and Advance courses at PSID. You have to be a graduate from an Interior Design school to take the board exam. 🙂

  • Reply Dada Samson August 13, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Hi. Do you need to graduate from the 4-yr degree course at PSID/DLS-CSB to be able to take the board exam, or would taking just the Basic/Adv Certificate courses be ok to be able to take the board? Thanks. 🙂

    • Reply Jen.C August 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Hi Dada, Sorry, I am not entirely sure of this. I suggest you contact an Interior Design school or PIID for this.

  • Reply Snix November 17, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Hi ajennifer,

    Although this is a late post, thank you for this. I took the boards back in 2011 which ai unfortunately failed. I plan to take it next year which ai think is already under the new R.A. Of I.D. Last time I failed in drafting on the first day which is what I am currently dreading.

    I’m also worried about the computations in Materials of ID, though the last time I took it, there were only a few computations. Yet I have read somewhere that they practice a lot of computations in the PSID mock exams. Do you have some copies or would mind sharing them? I’d love to get a head start on it.



    • Reply Jen.C November 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Hi Areej,

      Unfortunately, I don’t have copies of mock exams. Best of luck though!

  • Reply Bianca February 25, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Hello Jen! Thank you so much for your tips! I graduated in PSID in November last year. I’m planning to take a self-review because of schedule constraint. Do you know the requirements in taking the board exam if you don’t enrol in a review school? Also, I hope it’s not too much to ask – can I buy your review materials? :)))))) Hope to hear from you soon. I really appreciate it!

    • Reply Jen.C March 14, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Hi Bianca,

      I don’t know this year’s board exam requirements, as I’ve heard that they’ve changed as of recent. And unfortunately, I don’t have my review materials anymore; I gave them away before I left Manila. But best of luck with self-reviewing and the board exam. I wish you all the best. 🙂

  • Reply Caren Dychangco April 26, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Hi! I’m an upcoming Interior Design graduate and I was wondering around how much does the CDEP Review cost? Thanks!

    • Reply Jen.C May 12, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Caren, it’s been a few years since I reviewed for the board exam, and I didn’t review with CDEP. I’m sure you’ll find the info you need online. 🙂

      • Reply Caren May 18, 2015 at 5:04 am

        I just have another question, if you don’t mind. Haha. With regards to the drawing part of the ID Board Exam, what kind of paper will the takers use? And what size? Haha. Thanks!

        • Reply Jen.C June 2, 2015 at 9:26 pm

          I’m not sure what requirements they have this year. I believe they’re new every year. 🙂

  • Reply joy tombo April 29, 2015 at 4:32 am

    I am planning to take the board exam this year and I would like to begin reviewing asap. Where and how can I buy review materials?

  • Reply Tanya tamzin April 29, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Hi do i need to be good at drawing to pass interior ? Interior is the course im going to take when im in college but im not that good at drawing.

    • Reply Jen.C May 12, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Tammy,

      You will learn to draw interiors to clearly express your design solutions,
      although you don’t necessarily need to be good at it. 🙂

  • Reply alex May 17, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    hi! is it possible to take the licensure exam in the philippines eventhough i studied ID abroad?

    • Reply Jen.C June 2, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Hi Alex, I’m not sure.

  • Reply Cathy June 4, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Hi! I’m a BS Management graduate but I’m really interested in interior design. Would you know if a BS degree in Interior Design required for the board exam? Or can I just take certificate courses? I’m looking at the Basic and Advanced Course Study Programs of PSID, although I’m also exploring other options. Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Reply Jen.C June 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Cathy,

      I’m almost certain you need a Bachelor degree to take the board exam in Interior Design. I’m not sure what the rules are now, though. 🙂

  • Reply Karla Faith Santamaria July 21, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Hi. I’m eager to know if there are scholarship that you can take once an undergrad in Benilde taking up BS ID that would cover the cost of studying both in CSB and PSID. I’m planning to transfer schools to pursue interior design and I’ve considered PSID because of the great reviews and alumni it produces! I really want to study there and I don’t want my financial status to be a hindrance to that. I hope you still see this and respond 🙂

    • Reply July 21, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Hello Karla,

      You would have to contact CSB or PSID for this inquiry.
      Good luck! 🙂

      – Jen C.

  • Reply Earl Palma November 24, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Jen, I find this article helpful for those fresh grad preparing for ID Licensure Exam. Im from PSID also fourth term “Basic”. I just want to know, what other books did the professors suggested to read aside from The Visual Dictionary of Architecture. I find the book interesting I might get one as well. May I know any other book they recommend aside from that one? A list those books / material might help, not only for me but also to other IDr who will be reading this article soon.

    Your reply is much appreciated. Thanks!
    Earl P.

    • Reply Jen Cederstam December 4, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      Hi Earl,

      It’s been quite a while since I took the exam, so I’m not sure which books are recommended now for the next exams. I suggest you ask professors in PSID. I’m sure they’ll give you a full list of recommended books and materials to prepare for the licensure exam. 🙂 Cheers!

  • Reply Earl Palma November 26, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Jen,

    Aside from the book The Visual Dictionary of Architecture by Francis D.K. Ching may I know any other useful books that PSID prof’s recommended to read? I’m from PSID also but still on the last term for basic. 🙂

    Your reply is much appreciated.


    Earl P.

  • Reply Em August 25, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Is it possible for a Civil Engineer to take this exam?

    • Reply Jen Cederstam October 21, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Hi Em,

      I’m not quite sure what the requirements are this year. You’d have to check with the board of Interior Design. 🙂

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