Testing Tips

Testing Tips

Postby Hello » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:10 am

Hi all, I took this exam yesterday for the second time. This is my last one and I didn't pass. I ran through all of it this time marking anything that had numerous steps and then went through case studies. After that, I had an hour left and didn't take a break. I ran through the marked or unanswered questions two more times and failed. The following is a bit long but if anyone is interested....

In hindsight there is always a couple of questions that I don't ever figure out, even when I'm home with all of my resources. There is also a fair amount I feel pretty good about but....? I passed PPD first try. For MC if the question doesn't seem clear I'll read through and pick out what I know is wrong first.

Tips and Info:

-On note taking during the test. The prometric said not to write down notes until I saw question #1. Typically in the past I'll dump whatever equations I've memorized on the note sheets and get comfortable with the keyboard and mouse before I begin. In hindsight they weren't any equations that would have been useful anyway.

-I think a few people have mentioned the software. Get really familiar with it before you go. I was about 3/4 through the case studies when I found the pan tool - would have been helpful to be familiar with it from the beginning. I've practiced the online software a few times but never noticed that feature.

-The scale jumps to 300% when you change whatever is given --- whatever that is when the drawings in the reference tabs are accessed. On the case studies it would be nice to be able to see things at typical architectural scales. I spent a lot of time sizing, scrolling and waiting for drawings to load to comb through. This is when that pan feature would have been helpful too.

- I struggle with not having autocad in front of me to work through all of the info and code. I've also used a foot/inch calculator for over 20 years so any math with unit conversions really slow me down. Someone mentioned the strikethrough tool being helpful for multiple choice but I couldn't get that to work. Likely user error - I'm old.

Unfortunately I've had experience with 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 --- I'm running out of reasons to pay for more exams! I've been taking them for 15 years. It's brutal. When I took 3.0 I didn't even realize that there was reference material during the exams....when my generation went to school the test was given 2X a year. I don't recall any tips from anyone because the computer testing was brand new. And after you failed the wait time to retake was 3X as long as it is now. I lost steam when I started a family.

About me: I have over 20 years of experience and have been taking these tests for 15. I have an experience mix of public, private, historic, residential, and industrial project types. I've gotten most of my resources from our library. I've done both Kaplan(now Brightwood) and Designer Hacks online tests. All of Jenny's notes. I love Ching books and have studied all of them. I used the Dorf study guides at one time. I have MEEB for in depth referencing. I have a Graphic Standards that I enjoy reading. I've read the pertinent 4.0 Ballast books for PDD. I've listened to Grant Adams and the construction attorney's lectures online.

All in all, I prefer the current format. Now, I'm planning to turn my efforts to all of the referenced materials included on the test and hope that the third time is the charm. I think moving through all of the q's as swiftly as possible is key. I didn't do that on the first time I took PDD and I ran out of time before I got through it all.

Does anyone know if they do a number of "test questions" that aren't graded? Knowing won't help me pass, I'm just curious:)
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby Coach » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:27 am

Hello wrote:Does anyone know if they do a number of "test questions" that aren't graded? Knowing won't help me pass, I'm just curious:)

Always.
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby Sarcasmo » Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:42 am

"Unfortunately I've had experience with 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 --- I'm running out of reasons to pay for more exams! "

How about this reason: You have only one exam left.

Stay on it.
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby rho » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:32 am

Don't give up! You are so close to complete the ARE. Similar to your situation, I have been taken the ARE from 3.0 and on & off for almost 17 years. Of course, I got affected by the rolling clock, when I couldn't pass the last 2 exams out of the 9 exams of from ARE 3.0-4.0. I have to retake all the ARE exams .

After breaking for couple years, I finally decided to retake my exams & started with the 4.0-5.0 hybrid (5) ARE exams. I am now inspired to be the oldest recently licensed architect, eventually.

Good luck on your next exam! Try to find a different study material or private tutor to help you to pass the last exam.
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby Hello » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:08 pm

Thanks Sarcasmo, that is a very good reason. And rho, my rolling clock expired for my passes too. I'm a procrastinator. And....I'd rather work than study. And yes, I too tell myself that I'll just die trying;) - "oldest recently licensed architect" - I like that goal too!
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby blancovero » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:27 am

Hi Hello,
Do not give up!
I am taking PDD for my third time on May 2nd. I have this one and PPD and I will be done, but if I do not pass them by December 10th I will be loosing my prior 5 tests I passed under 4.0.
It is challenging, it is boring, but we have to conquer these tests.
I gear a fellow member of this forum talked about tutors, anyone know a good tutor?
Please share the info...
Good luck to all
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby rho » Fri May 04, 2018 8:13 am

Hi blancovero,
Have you tried Amber Book & videos? I am planning to give it a try for PDD & PPD retake.
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby blancovero » Wed May 09, 2018 8:37 am

Hi Rho,
I used Amber book in the past for BS while testing under 4.0 and they are good sources. I am not sure what to do. I failed again PDD for the third time and now I am going to schedule PPD and PDD within a week for mid-July. I am re-thinking strategies, this last failed was a bit "better" than the prior two because at least I got 3 out of the 5 contents in level 1 and 2, but still not enough to pass this test.
You can PM if you would like to use the Amber book and maybe partner to buy the system and save some money.
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby rho » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:18 pm

I did use Amber Book to study for my June-July PPD & PDD. Although my scores improved, but I still failed for the 2nd time on both. I am considering doing more online practice exams, which simulate to the similar ARE exam. It seems that only Black Spectacles have Case Studies practice exams, which I took the most amount of time to read the scenario & references.
Anyone has a feedback on using Black Spectacles or Design Hacks? Any advice or strategies on preparing for Case Studies?
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Re: Testing Tips

Postby thd7t » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:33 am

rho, I used Designer Hacks a lot for all of my exams and think they're a great resource. However, my method of using practice exams is always to identify weak areas that I can research overall. The very best resource I had was a set of Archiflash 3.1 flashcards. They bullet point the most important concepts that you need.

I haven't been in this process quite as long as you have (about 3 years behind you), but I'm sure you've noticed that through the last 20 years, the actual practice of architecture hasn't changed much (except for submittal/shop drawing review, Thanks Acrobat!). This means that old sources are still pretty much just as useful as new ones. I used 3.0, 3.1 and 4.0 test questions from NCARB. I used old editions of books.

I'm also linking to a post I made after I finished up the exams, because it addresses some study techniques that worked for me in a little more depth. I do think that study styles have changed and a lot of advice that comes out about 5.0 is geared toward people who haven't even finished IDP (which was never an option when older testers started).

http://arecoach.com/coachforum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=53415
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