Structural Layout Vignette and Multiple Choice


Postby skyscraper99 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:06 am


Today early morning @3:41am, I found out that I passed my last exam SS. I still can’t believe that I am done with AREs. It has been long journey as my husband took his AREs for 2 years and then I started, which took 2.5 years. Here are few short stories...

I took 4 exams (pass) in 5 months and then I got pregnant with 2nd child. It was impossible to study being pregnant, working full time (w/ two crazy projects) and with a toddler. I ended up failing BS and could not even attend BDCS appointment. I decided to put the exams on hold for a while. I waited for 1.5 years to get my personal life back in control and started taking exam Dec 2016. It was a huge deal to convince my husband for support and find study time with household stuff. My study time was generally last night after kids go to sleep. (Coffee flavor ice cream was the only motivation I had.) I decided to keep this pain for shorter time and took help of Amber seminars. I took BS in 3 weeks with Amber and then BDCS in 3 weeks with Amber again. Luckily, I passed both. At this point I didn’t care about money as I thought if I don’t do it now I will never be able to do it. Now I had the last one left. I decided to pay for David Thaddeus Online Seminar as my house was going crazy without my presence. And I decided to take the test in 4 weeks. A week before exam I realized that I was not prepared so ended up rescheduling for a week later and took a week off from work to study. I gave my 200% as I was very sure if I fail, there is no support for me to retake this exam. My kids missed me too much and the house was going literally crazy. And passed SS! So, one piece of advice, PLEASE TAKE AREs BEFORE GETTING MARRIED OR AT LEAST BEFORE HAVING KIDS!

When I took BS, the Prometric centre had all new wide screen monitors and they were not adjusted to match Vignette screen proportion. I realized after 20 min of exam that my ceiling tiles and lights didn’t match my sketch. Prometric staff stopped my exam and gave me another desk to finish my rest of the vignette. It was Desk # 13. Since then I asked for #13 desk for BDCS and SS. And the funny thing is, nobody wanted #13 desk and it was always unoccupied as per Prometric staff. Huh! So, IF YOU HAVE TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY, PROMETRIC STAFF CAN STOP THE EXAM WITHOUT LOSING YOUR TIME OR WORK. (I didn’t know, I freaked out without any reason.)

Now about Study materials,

For BS
Amber Seminar – Excellent source and quality videos - Watched twice
Kaplan Q & A
MEEB for diagrams & photos - Must
Amber for Vignette

Amber Seminar – not as good as BS but with help of Grant Adams videos, both covers the most of the test material.
Kaplan Q & A
Grant Adams Videos - All – Must (I did this in office while working)
Google any concepts or topics you don't understand
Amber for Vignette
History – Notable Buildings – PDF
Jenny’s notes – great for overall review before exam

For SS
David Thaddeus Online Seminar – watched twice
FEMA – Ch 4, 5, 8, 9
Building at Risk - Wind
Google any concepts or topics you don't understand
History – Notable Buildings – PDF
Kaplan Q & A – 500+ questions – Must
ALS Q & A – these are selected questions from Kaplan. I realized later...
Please don’t underestimate vignette for SS. I had a large complicated floor plan. So practice!
Write down all basic formulas before starting the exam. It was huge help for math problems. Write down limits before starting vignette
Column – 40’- 42’, Beam - 30’- 40’, Joist - 20’- 30’, Deck - 4’-5’

I figured that I can retain more information through lectures/ videos. And it was the fastest way for me to deal with these exams. If you can afford I would recommend using Amber and Thaddeus.

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Re: Pass!!!

Postby Coach » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:55 pm

skyscraper99 wrote:Write down limits before starting vignette
Column – 40’- 42’,


Beam - 30’- 40’, Joist - 20’- 30’,

Don't worry about a min length. Be reasonable and use common sense.

Deck - 4’-5’

NO! Deck span is given in the program.
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