Jump to content

CLD Exam Tips


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I am a relatively new LAVA member that has been using LabVIEW for ~5 years. I'm preparing to take the CLD Exam next month and have some questions concerning the best practices for the exam. For the most part I am wondering where embellishing will help to improve my score. I've read the preparation materials, but there are still some ideas that I'm curious about. I'll list some examples, using the "Traffic Light" sample exam for specifics. In each case I would like to know whether doing the suggested would help, hinder, or have no effect on my score.

- Make the front panel look better than what is shown in the screenshot. Possibilities would include drawing a background that resembles an intersection with green in the corners for grass, or making a nicer traffic light graphic for the custom control. Should the front panel look exactly like what is shown or is that merely a suggestion?

- Use techniques that are more advanced than required. A perfect example is shown in the solution that is included with the sample exam. Is it better to "show off" with the use of a queue instead of a basic state machine given that the queue is not necessary (no risk of losing states)? I'm used to the "keep it simple" mentality, but I could also understand the idea of showing the comprehension of more advanced techniques. Another good example is the use of the functional global for timekeeping.

- Provide extra functionality to the program. One such idea would be to add a "HALT" button to the front panel which could temporarily suspend traffic in all directions (all red). Or even more fancy would be to provide the option for "smart turn-signals" that, for example, would allow South-bound traffic to go while providing the South left-turn signal if only the "South Sensor" was pushed (i.e. don't give North a turn signal that no one will use). Any such improvements would only be included as optional and of course would never replace the specified functionality.

Thanks in advance for the advice. I'm really enjoying the LAVA community!

Link to post

QUOTE (OrangeAndGreen @ Mar 19 2008, 03:47 PM)

I am wondering where embellishing will help to improve my score.

Welcome to LAVA!

I cannot give any specifics about the exam that I took, but I will say that it was much more involved than any of the 3 examples on Ni.com. It was not any more difficult, but there were many more requirements that had to be satisfied. I was working right up to the buzzer and still did not implement 100% of the requirements (enough to pass though :yes: ). If you have any extra time for the "embelishments" you are talking about I would be surprised/impressed.

1. I would keep the front panel pretty much like they have it. You won't lose any points by making it exactly as they show and you could risk losing points if you change it (too many colors, fonts, etc.). If you want to make minor changes to sharpen up the feel of the UI you will probably be OK, but I doubt if you'll gain points because of it.

2. You should choose the architecture that best fits the application. All CLD exams can be completed with a simple state machine architecture, but I don't think that is the best choice in every case (or at least it wasn't in the case of my test). If you implement a more complex architecture and you do it well, it might get you some brownie points, but make sure you can create the framework quickly. You don't want to waste a lot of time on framework when there is so much functionality that needs to be implemented. When in doubt - use a simple state machine. Functional Globals are great - use them if it makes sense.

3. NO! Don't do anything that the requirements doc doesn't tell you to do. If you have 100% of the required functionality and still have time left, use it to triple check that your wires are straight, every control has a description and tip strip, you have useful comments on the block diagram, every shift register and long wire has a label, etc.

Read all you can about what other people have learned. I would not have passed if I hadn't found some of the "things to know" lists that people have compiled. Document as you go! It's an easy 10 points and you probably won't have time to go back and do it all at the end .

Good Luck! Let us know how it turns out.

Link to post

Thanks for the tips. I had a feeling that the real CLD exam must be a good bit tougher than the sample exams, but it's a little more nerve-wracking now not knowing what to expect. As you said, I'll probably be too preoccupied trying to meet the specs to worry about extra features.

Thanks again for the advice. I've still got plenty of time to dig up more materials and do some studying, but I'll be sure to send a celebration post once I get the good news!

Link to post

Solve the problem in the simplest and most efficient manner possible. Points will be deducted for an architecture that is overly complex or for techniques that are not warranted to solve the problem. Do not embellish or try to show off -- it will certainly backfire. Make sure that your work is impeccably neat and well documented. Make your wires as straight as possible and be sure that they don't go behind any structures. Keep things as simple as they can be.

Link to post

QUOTE (BobHamburger @ Mar 19 2008, 09:31 PM)

Solve the problem in the simplest and most efficient manner possible. Points will be deducted for an architecture that is overly complex or for techniques that are not warranted to solve the problem. Do not embellish or try to show off -- it will certainly backfire. Make sure that your work is impeccably neat and well documented. Make your wires as straight as possible and be sure that they don't go behind any structures. Keep things as simple as they can be.

I couldn't agree more - simplicity! Also, be sure you're comfortable using the latest version of LabVIEW starting with a default configuration. It's ok to spend a minute changing several options, but you'll certainly want to know exactly what to change and how to change it ahead of time. Finally, be sure to read the entire set of instructions before beginning.

Link to post

QUOTE (njg @ Mar 21 2008, 09:02 AM)

I couldn't agree more - simplicity! Also, be sure you're comfortable using the latest version of LabVIEW starting with a default configuration. It's ok to spend a minute changing several options, but you'll certainly want to know exactly what to change and how to change it ahead of time. Finally, be sure to read the entire set of instructions before beginning.

It's definitely worth the time before-hand to install a fresh LabVIEW somewhere and get familiar with the way it "handles". I remember that I hadn't seen a fresh LabVIEW install for a while before my CLD exam, so it kind of jarred me for a bit when I started dropping big ole icons on the block diagram and my undo history only went back 9 events... then there is the pallete itself that I didn't realize how much I had customized on my work PC.

The above posts are correct. TIME is the biggest factor on this exam. Simple, simple, simple. Simple Descriptions and icons, simple use of subVIs and typedefs (if needed), simple front panel. There is no point in making a fancy app that doesn't pass.

Link to post

QUOTE (Red @ Mar 21 2008, 09:12 AM)

I just got my CLAD last Firday and am waiting to take the CLD. The NI rep is comming over now to administer it. I will let you guys know how it goes.

Red

Good Luck Red! Remember - Description and Tip strip on EVERY front panel object.

Link to post

QUOTE (TobyD @ Mar 21 2008, 11:27 AM)

Good Luck Red! Remember - Description and Tip strip on EVERY front panel object.

Here was my schedule for the exam,

12:00pm Open Packet start reading

12:30 Start designing application on paper

12:45 Start coding

2:00 Initial coding complete, start debugging

3:00 Application complete start documenting

4:00 EVERYTHING is documented. Test complete!

It took all of the 4 hours to complete.

I added error handlers to EVERY subVI.

All wires were straight

All wires into and out of a state machine were labeled.

All indicators and controls have tip strips

Wow. Two exams in a week. Now I am going to take a brake. At least until the results.

Red

Link to post

QUOTE (Red @ Mar 22 2008, 08:16 AM)

It took all of the 4 hours to complete.

That was my experience as well, though my approach was different. I documented as I went, and was *minutes* away from having a broken arrow when the 4 hours was over.

Good job, it looks like you are well on your way to becoming a CLD. Let us know how it turned out! :thumbup:

Link to post

QUOTE (Red @ Mar 22 2008, 08:16 AM)

4:00 EVERYTHING is documented. Test complete!

It sounds like it went pretty well for you. Nice work! Let us know what the results say.

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.