2nd fail PA - what to do next?
I just failed my PA test yesterday at my second try. I passed almost all other divisions at first try, which gave me a wrong confidence. I firstly passed PCM and PJM and then I took PA at first try at the end of July and I failed. After three months study on PPD, PDD and CE and I passed them, I retook PA and I failed again with a worse score than previous one (please see attached two sores, upper is 1st try).
I feel that I understood all questions and I was "sure" that I answered at least 50 questions correctly. When I finished multiple choice part, I have 1:20 left. I double checked them and got the case studies done, finally 10 mins left. I think the case studies are easier than PPD, PDD, even CE.
What I studied:
Ballast book (carefully read thru) + practice
Sun, light and wind (roughly read thru)
Site planning and design (carefully read thru)
Amber Book videos + flashcards + practice
In order to take a break and bring something new to my brain, I scheduled LEED AP exam on Dec 2022. But talking about the 3rd try on PA, if my 2nd one has a higher score, that would be another scenario, which means my effort works. The terrible thing is that I did worse, after 3-mon study and passed other divisions. So I really have no idea where to go next. I even do not know what materials should I study. Could anybody will tell me the strategy?
I'm following up on this topic. I have my PA next and I'm also a bit lost on what material is the best. I have Ballast and Amber Books mainly and have confidence until yesterday I took the NCARB PA Practice online. I really want to know if there have another practice that is just like the NCARB Practice so I can have more "real" questions. The Ballast one is not even close.....
And, would you mind sharing your study materials for PPD & PDD? That will be my next!
I also failed NCARB practice and WeARE practice. I listed couple practices, what are popular on the market. I did Amber Book 75%, Elif's questions 74% and 73%. WeARE is harder. Amber Book and Elif's questions are similar with the real one. To be honest, I think the questions are really not hard, especially the case studies, which are even easier than CE.
The problem is that I think I did right, but I lost the score. If I get similar questions when retake at 3rd try, I will definitely do wrong again and again. Because I cannot talk the questions with others who may correct me, and NCARB will not tell me which one I did wrong.
For PPD and PDD, I think they are all easy to deal with as the questions are more straightforward. Fundamental of building construction is a must have for PDD, little helps PPD. You can only review the images and diagrams of MEEB and Building construction illustrated. You don't need to read the words of these great books because Amber Book did it for you. Michael went thru all the dry contents and converted them into funny videos to make you understand them in an easier way. After the three books and Amber Book videos, you will do practice more and more to fill the gaps.
Hope it helps.
Thanks for your response! I will let you know if I pass my PA in the next few weeks! I agree with you the questions are not that hard. I think I have other problems when I'm doing the NCARB Practice exam, I was too slow for each question and I don't have enough time to went thru all the content.
Thanks a lot for the strategy of the PPD and PDD! Good luck with your last PA exam!
PA is a harder division because it is extensive and hard to prepare for. You are getting close, just keep trying and maybe third time is the charm. Good luck!
Gang Chen, Author, AIA, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)
Ge Tang Zhenjun Zhao you guys should join us. https://discord.gg/mWDb4qau
We are here to support each other! no worries we will pass it at one point!
As you surely know, the average pass rate for each exam division sits at about 55%…so because you passed 5 on the first try and failed one twice that certainly doesn’t make you err in overconfidence! What if you had not been “overconfident” and had not scheduled PPD? As Steve Jobs says, connecting the dots is only obvious in hindsight….forward-looking dot connecting is impossible. Good luck on your retake.
Took me a third shot to pass PA. My advice is to go for it. Take as many practice exams as you can even the same ones multiple times and study from them. That’s important. The pre active score isn’t. Amber flash cards are great too.
Amber, Walker exam, Hyperfine is a great resource too.
Keep studying!! You came about as close to passing as possible!
Rebekka O'Melia, R.A., NCARB, B. Arch, M. Ed, NOMA, Step UP ARE 5.0 Courses
Hi Rebekka, Adam, Michael, Jay, Gang, Kawai,
I'm here to update. I just passed LEED AP last week and my brain has been totally refreshed. After a small break, I will start my new journey for the round 3! I plan to read 1-2 books and do practice as more as possible.
Thanks for your pep talks!
Hi Ge Tang! How did it go? …. I have a similar situation…. Took PA first and failed, then I moved to PcM, PjM, CE, PPD, PDD and passed all of them at first try …. Then tried PA and failed for the 2nd time.
I read the Site planning and Design Handbook, some parts of construction fundamentals, I had already done Amber book for PPD and PDD, hyperfine for PA, and designer hack questions, Ballast (I studies it for my first try).
My weakest area was objective 4… I also feel that the questions are lengthy but not hard and that I answered them correctly. I did get confused with some question on the case studies…. Overall I feel the questions are worded in a very weird way, not clear at all and feels more like a wording game…. But that’s NCARB, always trying to make it trickier than it should be.
I’m curious to know if there is either a different study material, way of thinking about the test, or different strategy that I should be trying out….
Advice is much appreciated!
Have you read the Problem Seeking book? Also practice using these (free!) logic puzzles, they'll help you with adjacency matrix. https://www.ahapuzzles.com/logic/logic-puzzles/
There are a few other topics you may be missing also.
Rebekka O'Melia, R.A., NCARB, B. Arch, M. Ed, NOMA, Step UP ARE 5.0 Courses
Just like what Gang Chen said, the third time is a charm. I retook PA on 01/19/2023 and I passed it. Two weeks later, I received my license no. in New York State (it is unbelievable that they are super fast).
My study strategy during the one month before the exam was:
- Watch the videos of Amber Book: site, codes, flashcard (PA/PPD)
- Subscribe one-month Elif's video: it has two parts: building system and site, we only need to watch the 2nd part
- For puzzle questions, go to YouTube and search Marina Curac, her smart video (only 1 hour) will provide you good understanding for all types of puzzle questions
- I briefly read through Site Planning and Design the 2nd time, chapter 1-10
- During the last two weeks, do practice as many as possible. I did AB, Elif's questions, NCARB practice, Ballast, AREprep, and BS. I finished all of them in two weeks (one day took exam, one day review the solutions). Actually, I've done these questions before, for my 1st and 2nd try, but I found that I nearly forgot them when I redid...
- Last but not least, NCARB practice is the key. It is 99% similar with the real one. I studied every question twice, especially the ones I answered incorrectly.
I can feel your upset due to the 2nd failure. I was lost too. One of my friends encouraged me, he said: forget taking exams, image that you will be playing a game. You already got the knowledge, the only thing you need to do is applying them during the game.
Tell me the good news two months later!
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