ARE 5.0, DECODED

ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby mermann » Fri May 19, 2017 7:50 am

I took and passed all six ARE 5.0 exams on the first attempt (I was tied for first in the country to do so). Below are 9 takeaways from my experience.

1. The content is similar to the ARE 4.0 content. I attended an “Exam Prep Provider Invitational” at NCARB’s national office in Washington DC in advance of the ARE 5.0 release and they let us know that they would still be using the 11,000 items from their bank of ARE 4.0 questions.
2. There are, of course no vignettes, and there is far less content in the area of structures. There is more content in what I call the “professional practice basket.”
3. NCARB attempted to shed what they derisively call “architecture trivia” questions and climb higher on Bloom’s Taxonomy. On that front they were moderately successful. I had a question in ARE 4.0 that asked the name of the equipment shown on the screen. I saw the same image in ARE 5.0, but the question this time asked what the equipment does. Bravo, NCARB.
4. Of course the way the questions are grouped in divisions is completely different. Take a look at the graphic I made and attached to this post. You can take two exams after studying the technical content, two exams after studying the professional practice content, and two after studying both the technical and professional practice baskets of content.
5. My advice is to study all the content and take all the exams at once. I took all six exams in six consecutive available Prometric slots: including a stint of four exams in three days. This is daunting to people, but getting past that will give you the highest likelihood of passing in the least amount of time studying. There was always content overlap between divisions, but now it is too extreme to ignore.
6. Failing an exam is not a big deal: just reschedule it for two months later and keep at it. And passing an exam but over-studying has a cost because you could have spent some of that over-studying time instead studying for the next exam, and still passed the first exam with less studying.
7. Stop telling people that you are studying for the exam, stop posting on social media that you are studying, and stop updating your colleagues on your licensure progress, and instead just tell them after you pass an exam. I believe the fear of looking foolish to people who know your exam schedule is the most common cause of over-studying for an exam.
8. Content first! Don’t fetishize testing strategies, or fixate on question types, or spend much too time on boosting your psyche, or memorize obscure facts, but rather spend your time striving to own the concepts. It gives you the highest probability of passing the exam, per hour of studying you devote (and it is more fun then memorizing, and it will make you a better architect than learning testing strategies). In fact, you shouldn’t spend much time looking at posts like this one. Spend the time learning the content instead.
9. Use the search feature in the case studies. Don’t spend too much time on any one question unless you’ve answered all the others.
Good luck.
-Michael Ermann, The Amber Book
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby cloudyy » Fri May 19, 2017 10:48 am

Taking ALL the exams together is extremely daunting, especially that I'm on the greener side of experience. I only have two left anyway, PPD/PDD, but I am taking and studying for them together and do immensely see the benefits of grouping tests together thematically.

#7 hits home. It's sometimes hard for friends to understand that I have to be in the library all the time and it's hard for me to hear them convince me otherwise. It's even harder when I fail and they ask me about it, especially when I'm generally used to excelling.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby Coach » Fri May 19, 2017 10:57 am

cloudyy wrote:Taking ALL the exams together is extremely daunting


There was a time when you didn't really have a choice -- 9 division over 4 days!
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby cloudyy » Fri May 19, 2017 1:32 pm

There was a time when you didn't really have a choice -- 9 division over 4 days!

Oh my god...what a time to be alive...!!!
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby vrcat25 » Wed May 24, 2017 8:44 am

mermann wrote:
7. Stop telling people that you are studying for the exam, stop posting on social media that you are studying, and stop updating your colleagues on your licensure progress, and instead just tell them after you pass an exam. I believe the fear of looking foolish to people who know your exam schedule is the most common cause of over-studying for an exam.


That's ridiculous. So you're suggesting people have complexes related to telling their friends, family, colleagues? My employer needs to know if i'm going to miss a day of work and i'd rather tell him the truth. Also, I don't feel foolish for telling somebody that i failed a test and I don't think it has any bearing on how well i do, but I would feel foolish for hiding it. Also, you're assuming that over studying is a problem for people. I don't think it's possible to "over study". It's more likely they are "cramming" or simply haven't studied enough.

That being said, you did make some other valid points so, THANKS for sharing those.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby vrcat25 » Wed May 24, 2017 8:53 am

cloudyy wrote:Taking ALL the exams together is extremely daunting, especially that I'm on the greener side of experience. I only have two left anyway, PPD/PDD, but I am taking and studying for them together and do immensely see the benefits of grouping tests together thematically.


I agree! That could be dangerous advice to somebody with less experience. Many people have enough trouble passing one of these tests, let alone 6 of them all at once. I agree with most of what Mr. Ermann has stated, but will have to disagree with 5, 6 and 7.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby Coach » Wed May 24, 2017 1:56 pm

vrcat25 wrote:
mermann wrote:
7. Stop telling people that you are studying for the exam, stop posting on social media that you are studying, and stop updating your colleagues on your licensure progress, and instead just tell them after you pass an exam. I believe the fear of looking foolish to people who know your exam schedule is the most common cause of over-studying for an exam.


That's ridiculous. So you're suggesting people have complexes related to telling their friends, family, colleagues?

It's not ridiculous at all. While it can help to have someone giving you moral and other support, there's nothing to be gained, and a lot of unnecessary angst that can be caused by letting the world know.

Also, you're assuming that over studying is a problem for people. I don't think it's possible to "over study". It's more likely they are "cramming" or simply haven't studied enough.

Over studying is very real, but there are different kinds of over studying. Incessant study and delving into minutia are counterproductive. Over studying is also associated with learning by rote, which may work in some disciplines, but for the ARE it's not enough.

vrcat25 wrote:
cloudyy wrote:Taking ALL the exams together is extremely daunting, especially that I'm on the greener side of experience. I only have two left anyway, PPD/PDD, but I am taking and studying for them together and do immensely see the benefits of grouping tests together thematically.


I agree! That could be dangerous advice to somebody with less experience. Many people have enough trouble passing one of these tests, let alone 6 of them all at once.

I already mentioned how the exam was administered for decades before it went digital. There's a lot to be said for studying all content and taking all exams in rapid succession. From what I've seen of 5.0, it will be more valid than with 3.1 or 4.0 due to more overlap and less focus within divisions. It may make sense to study exclusively for SS or SD in 4.0, but those hard delineations don't exist in 5.0.


Architecture is a holistic field and it would benefit you to approach exam prep with that in mind.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby vrcat25 » Wed May 24, 2017 2:44 pm

Everybody is different. Although, I admire mike for taking the test in "record time" and passing them all, I think that's a terrible and dangerous strategy for some people. Some people are having a hard enough time passing one test in 5.0... So you think the solution is to take MORE at the same time?? Sorry Coach, but that makes zero since, as holistic as architecture is and with the overlap, I don't think that will help them any.

Nor do I believe that hiding the fact your failing tests has any bearing on most people. Again, for some maybe that helps their ego, but I could give a flying flip what anybody thinks about me for passing/failing these tests. Like I said, we are all different... For me, it has nothing to do with whether I told you I'm going to take the test and I'll continue to let everybody know whether I pass or fail. I don't think people should feel ashamed of failing and feel that they need to hide it.

Furthermore, when you title a thread "ARE 5.0, DECODED", i would expect that you would have a more objective and specific set of steps. I hardly think that there has been any "decoding" done here. Maybe some psychology, but very little decoding. I have a test Friday and now i'm worried that i should have scheduled both at the same time...j/k :lol:
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby Renaissanceman » Wed May 24, 2017 4:00 pm

@ vrcat25: I think what Mike and Coach are implying, is by telling a everyone about taking the ARE, we may unknowingly build pressure on ourselves to pass and get done with the exams. Ofcourse you need to let your boss and family know about your exams, but keeping it limited to a close circle may be more beneficial to us. There is no shame in failing any of these exams.
I think it would be a pleasant surprise to get done with the ARE and let others know that you are done with it :-) It would also motivate us to keep at it and get all the exams done as fast as we can.

With regards to taking most of the tests in groups, I think 5.0 is perfectly set up to group the exams and take them together. Since I have done most of the exams in 4.0,I cant speak for all the 5.0 exams. But seeing the way PPD and PDD are set up, It is better to prepare for them together n take them back to back. I wish I could have done that. But because of the 2 month wait period to retake a test, I am forced to take a 2 week break between PDD and PPD.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby vrcat25 » Wed May 24, 2017 4:13 pm

That makes sense. I'm planning on taking PPD and PDD within 2 weeks of each other. I think this will be close enough...The same day or week is kinda extreme. You actually motivated me to try this (taking them close together)so if it doesn't work out, I have somebody to blame....j/k :) Seriously though, taking ALL 6 within 4 days just wouldn't be doable for me since we are usually busy at work and that would cause me to miss a week of work or take a vacation. Thats a hypothetical since i only have two tests left...it wouldn't be much of a vacation either...hahaha.

So have you rescheduled your tests yet renaissanceman? You don't have to tell me if you don't wanna. ;)
Last edited by vrcat25 on Thu May 25, 2017 2:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby Renaissanceman » Wed May 24, 2017 4:49 pm

Yes, I have. I will be testing in a week.
Just finished flipping through MEEB - Lighting and Fire Protection chapters. Want to revisit Thermal comfort concepts and HVAC systems from MEEB in the next few days. I also went through Caroline's PPP notes and ARE 5.0 practice test.
Keeping the last few days to go through my own notes and flash cards and Archiflash cards, codes
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby arkistan » Thu May 25, 2017 1:40 pm

Wait a second. You are Michael Ermann, author of the Amber Book ARE prep lectures. You've been holding seminars on the ARE exam for years. How could you NOT pass the exams in one try?
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby Coach » Thu May 25, 2017 2:35 pm

arkistan wrote:Wait a second. You are Michael Ermann, author of the Amber Book ARE prep lectures. You've been holding seminars on the ARE exam for years. How could you NOT pass the exams in one try?

First of all, I don't care who you are, failing is possible.
Secondly, until recently, he only dealt with building systems, which is his specialty.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby nidagm » Sun May 28, 2017 4:45 am

mermann wrote:I took and passed all six ARE 5.0 exams on the first attempt (I was tied for first in the country to do so). Below are 9 takeaways from my experience.

1. The content is similar to the ARE 4.0 content. I attended an “Exam Prep Provider Invitational” at NCARB’s national office in Washington DC in advance of the ARE 5.0 release and they let us know that they would still be using the 11,000 items from their bank of ARE 4.0 questions.
2. There are, of course no vignettes, and there is far less content in the area of structures. There is more content in what I call the “professional practice basket.”
3. NCARB attempted to shed what they derisively call “architecture trivia” questions and climb higher on Bloom’s Taxonomy. On that front they were moderately successful. I had a question in ARE 4.0 that asked the name of the equipment shown on the screen. I saw the same image in ARE 5.0, but the question this time asked what the equipment does. Bravo, NCARB.
4. Of course the way the questions are grouped in divisions is completely different. Take a look at the graphic I made and attached to this post. You can take two exams after studying the technical content, two exams after studying the professional practice content, and two after studying both the technical and professional practice baskets of content.
5. My advice is to study all the content and take all the exams at once. I took all six exams in six consecutive available Prometric slots: including a stint of four exams in three days. This is daunting to people, but getting past that will give you the highest likelihood of passing in the least amount of time studying. There was always content overlap between divisions, but now it is too extreme to ignore.
6. Failing an exam is not a big deal: just reschedule it for two months later and keep at it. And passing an exam but over-studying has a cost because you could have spent some of that over-studying time instead studying for the next exam, and still passed the first exam with less studying.
7. Stop telling people that you are studying for the exam, stop posting on social media that you are studying, and stop updating your colleagues on your licensure progress, and instead just tell them after you pass an exam. I believe the fear of looking foolish to people who know your exam schedule is the most common cause of over-studying for an exam.
8. Content first! Don’t fetishize testing strategies, or fixate on question types, or spend much too time on boosting your psyche, or memorize obscure facts, but rather spend your time striving to own the concepts. It gives you the highest probability of passing the exam, per hour of studying you devote (and it is more fun then memorizing, and it will make you a better architect than learning testing strategies). In fact, you shouldn’t spend much time looking at posts like this one. Spend the time learning the content instead.
9. Use the search feature in the case studies. Don’t spend too much time on any one question unless you’ve answered all the others.
Good luck.
-Michael Ermann, The Amber Book


First of all, I want to say huge thank you for Amber Seminar. Such a wonderful resource. Now that you saw what exactly exam look like (the way they ask the questions), will you be producing 5.0 study material? It is so very difficult to find quality material for 5.0. I was hoping to see more about that when I read 'decoded'. The chart at the attachment doesn't say something we already didn't know. Thanks for your time.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby Coach » Sun May 28, 2017 8:26 pm

nidagm wrote:Now that you saw what exactly exam look like (the way they ask the questions), will you be producing 5.0 study material?

He already has.
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Re: ARE 5.0, DECODED

Postby kerzzo » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:16 am

I have mixed feelings on taking all the exams. perhaps I have been working very hard time and a half or two full time jobs right after school and that has taken its toll with my time etc. I have learned quite a lot in real life, but it does not necessarily mean it helps in the ARE.

In all honesty, I wished I had a lot of time and funding to take all the exams at once starting Monday and ending Saturday, but it is not the case in the real world today when employees don't really pay for your days off and let alone the exams. we are condemned to test on weekends only as missing some payments does not fall into the options for survival. Anyone that has the opportunity to do this, I'd say dare to do it---

I do plan to take the 3 left I have PA, PPD and PDD as close together as possible...even if 1 week apart would be something i contemplate...knowing we all want to get this over with.
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