PA - Case Study -

PA - Case Study -

Postby rbbarnh1 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:27 am

Hello All 5.0ers,
I am about to take my first 5.0 exam and am wondering if anyone can give some pointers on how to study for the Case Studies... The Ballast 5.0 book has some but wondering about any other resources. Any help is much appreciated.
Thx.
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Re: PA - Case Study -

Postby rbbarnh1 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:47 am

It seems no one has any tips or strategies on preparing for the case studies. I took PA on Monday and Failed. Spend too much time on the Case Studies. Anyone take and pass a 5.0 exam that has tips/ suggestions for the case studies?????
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Re: PA - Case Study -

Postby thd7t » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:09 am

Hi,
I took the PA exam a week ago. Case studies are a challenge, but they are more in line with architectural practice than other portions of the exam. However, for PA I found that the case studies were almost never testing the material. They were more like puzzles. You had to know where to find information, how to appropriately cross reference various documents, and how to distill information. I had a few calculations in my case studies, including one that I had never even researched, but all of the information was in the supplied documentation..

The best resource that I found for case studies was the online ARE 5.0 practice exam. It gave a great idea of which tabs would be available and what the limited code resources would be. I took the practice exam several times and would look up the answers on the 5.0 forum while taking the exam. This gave me an idea of where there might be conflicts in the presented materials and I think was instrumental in my passing.

The case studies for PA are only about 20% of the exam, so I suggest doing them last. I know there might be an advantage to having "code research" available during the exam if you do the case studies first, but they are a small portion of your score overall.
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Re: PA - Case Study -

Postby toshea13 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:48 pm

good to know! thanks @thd7t! I'm really bad with code, so I have purchased the BCI and am reading that cover to cover. Hopefully that will prep me for this exam
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Re: PA - Case Study -

Postby Calan » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:16 am

I took PA yesterday and passed. My feeling on the case studies was that they gave me a lot of information in the form of reference material - but I rarely needed all of it. In fact, I had a number of questions in each case study that were answerable without any of the reference material given. So a lot of what the case studies are is a test of your ability to focus in on the problem and know where to look for the answer, whether it's reference material, experience, or just plain common sense. The questions aren't trying to trick you - you'll have everything you need to answer the questions once you determine what the problem is that they're asking about.
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Re: PA - Case Study -

Postby jvenzor » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:58 pm

toshea13 wrote:good to know! thanks @thd7t! I'm really bad with code, so I have purchased the BCI and am reading that cover to cover. Hopefully that will prep me for this exam

I passed this test last week and my advice in regards to the code is to familiarize yourself with chapters 3,5,6,10. Don't worry too much about the other code sections, at least for this exam. Most questions I encountered had to do with allowable area and building height. Know how to calculate the allowable area as well as how to read the tables depending on the construction type and whether its sprinklered or not. Hope this helps.
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Re: PA - Case Study -

Postby Tweetlebug » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:26 am

what online practice exams? are you talking about Black Spectacles?

what 5.0 forum? the NCARB one?

thd7t wrote:Hi,
I took the PA exam a week ago. Case studies are a challenge, but they are more in line with architectural practice than other portions of the exam. However, for PA I found that the case studies were almost never testing the material. They were more like puzzles. You had to know where to find information, how to appropriately cross reference various documents, and how to distill information. I had a few calculations in my case studies, including one that I had never even researched, but all of the information was in the supplied documentation..

The best resource that I found for case studies was the online ARE 5.0 practice exam. It gave a great idea of which tabs would be available and what the limited code resources would be. I took the practice exam several times and would look up the answers on the 5.0 forum while taking the exam. This gave me an idea of where there might be conflicts in the presented materials and I think was instrumental in my passing.

The case studies for PA are only about 20% of the exam, so I suggest doing them last. I know there might be an advantage to having "code research" available during the exam if you do the case studies first, but they are a small portion of your score overall.
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Re: PA - Case Study -

Postby thd7t » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:53 am

Tweetlebug wrote:what online practice exams? are you talking about Black Spectacles?

what 5.0 forum? the NCARB one?

thd7t wrote:Hi,
I took the PA exam a week ago. Case studies are a challenge, but they are more in line with architectural practice than other portions of the exam. However, for PA I found that the case studies were almost never testing the material. They were more like puzzles. You had to know where to find information, how to appropriately cross reference various documents, and how to distill information. I had a few calculations in my case studies, including one that I had never even researched, but all of the information was in the supplied documentation..

The best resource that I found for case studies was the online ARE 5.0 practice exam. It gave a great idea of which tabs would be available and what the limited code resources would be. I took the practice exam several times and would look up the answers on the 5.0 forum while taking the exam. This gave me an idea of where there might be conflicts in the presented materials and I think was instrumental in my passing.

The case studies for PA are only about 20% of the exam, so I suggest doing them last. I know there might be an advantage to having "code research" available during the exam if you do the case studies first, but they are a small portion of your score overall.


The 5.0 practice exam is the one available online through NCARB. It is solid and gives a pretty clear idea of the type of cross referencing that they are looking for in the case studies. The answers to the regular multiple choice questions are in NCARB's exam guide, but you have to go to NCARB's ARE 5.0 forum to get answers to the case studies.

In terms of understanding the case studies and establishing a method of attacking them, this was adequate for me.
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