History of the VBA Certification Exam by Victoria Ring The First VBA Exam After I wrote the book How to Start a Virtual Bankruptcy Assistant Business in 2004, people began to demand that I develop a test so that they could become certified as a VBA. Since training in the area of preparing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions did not exist, naturally a test did not either. The closest test for bankruptcy professionals was the Certified Bankruptcy Assistant test that was given each year by the Association of Bankruptcy Judicial Assistants. However, the test given by the ABJA was designed for recognition by the federal bankruptcy court for the judicial assistants who worked within the court system.  While this is fine and good for that particular group, there was no test for virtual bankruptcy assistants who worked independently for debtor bankruptcy attorneys. In addition, attorneys will more than willing to hire VBAs but they did not know WHO to hire because there was no indication between who had skills and who did not have skills. The first test I developed was based on the principle of completing an entire bankruptcy petition and submitting it for grading. A person would download a set of Client Intake Forms and enter the information into their bankruptcy software. Next, they would compile a list of questions and email back to me for answers. After answering the questions on the telephone (to simulate a client intake interview) the person would complete the bankruptcy petition and submit it for final grading. The cost of this test was $495.00 because it took me from 4-5 hours just to go through the process with one student.  Plus, I spent another 1-2 hours of consulting time during the initial input of the bankruptcy petition. The reason for this was because I took the time to point out all the errors to the person who was taking the test so they could learn from their mistakes and improve their VBA skills.  In my mind, it was more important to take this extra time and train people properly because it would help to protect attorneys, the court system and the debtor from potential catastrophes. The Second VBA Exam Because it was taking so long to grade the first exam and because the cost was too high for most people to afford, I redeveloped the second VBA Certification Exam in 2008.  The written portion of the test became Part 1 and the input of a bankruptcy petition became Part 2.  Part 1 was an excellent exam that consisted of twelve different sections.  These sections tested the overall general knowledge skills of the VBA, such as, word processing skills, PACER and Kelly Blue Book skills, as well as the identification of different Forms and Schedules of the bankruptcy petition. Unfortunately, about 90% of the students were passing Part 1 of the VBA Certification Exam but failing Part 2.  I had anticipated this when I first developed the second exam.  That is why I made Part 2 extremely difficult to pass.  I built in several traps that most people missed unless they had truly studied and practiced prior to taking the exam.  Why did I do this?  To protect attorneys, debtors and the entire bankruptcy system.  I wanted the attorneys who hired Certified VBAs to know they were getting a true professional who would be a great asset to their law firm (or at least as close to this dream as possible).  If I had made the VBA Certification Exam easy to pass, the VBA field would be filled with poor quality work (which is the same thing that happened to the National Notary Association back in 2005.)  Because of my experience watching the NNA turn from a professional and respected organization into a money-making scheme and harm the professionals who were working within the industry, this line of thinking was simply not acceptable to me. Although the “safety net” I had originally built into Part 2 of this exam had worked properly it was still taking 2 to 3 hours to grade each one.  Not only were the exams hand-graded, I also provided the students with tips and suggestions about improving their skills for the answer they got wrong.  But this really did not help.  Very few people were only concerned with whether they passed or failed, not how to improve their skills and retake the exam in 6 months.  In fact, after six years of administering the VBA Certification Exam, only ONE person had actually studied and retaken the exam after failing the first time.  This is sad, but it is a true fact that I had to face. The Third and Current VBA Exam From my past experience with the two different VBA Certification Exams, I weighed every possible scenario in my mind to solve the problems I faced.  I needed to find a way to accurately measure the skills of VBAs at a lower cost and by reducing the grading time below 3 hours per student.  The answer: learning management systems.  LMS is “cutting edge” online software where teachers can develop tests, monitor a student’s progress, issue grades and provide feedback to their students.  There are many different forms of LMS software systems available but I choose Quia.Com. Using some of the questions from Part 1 of the second VBA Certification Exam as well as developing new questions to cover important issues in Part 2, the first online exam for virtual assistants was born on January 4, 2010.  I tip my hat to technology because my overhead costs are reduced from 3 hours to 30 minutes.  This is how long it takes to verify student scores, personalize a certificate in Adobe PageMaker, export as a PDF, email to the student and set up their membership in the NAVBA.  With this reduction in overhead expenses, I was able to reduce the price by over $50.00 compared to the second exam. Thank you for considering the VBA Certification Exam.  I wish you the best of success. All information on this website is copyright.  VBACertification.Com is a subsidiary of 713Training.Com The VBA Certification Exam can be personalized with your company or law firm information and placed online through your own Quia account. This allows you to test current and future employees as well as measure the skill level of VBAs before you hire them. Contact Us