Resource Matrix & Handbook Sections Disconnect



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    Ryan NCARB

    Hey Darguin,

    First, nothing you shared here is confidential -- it is all stuff readily available on our website.  We want people to have it!

    I am very curious to hear what other folks say about this too.  I'll just give you a little insight as to why the books on the matrix list are "assigned" to different divisions.  If a book is listed for a division in the larger matrix (pages 165 to 169) that means there are quite a few items in the item bank for that division that use that book as part of its reference or rationale.  It may have also been placed under a division because the majority of a books content is applicable to that division.

    That doesn't mean that other books on the list aren't relevant to another division.  The sample items you pointed out show that.  But also remember which division you are studying for.  For example, in Ching's book, it is much more about construction and integration which pushes it to PDD and some in PPD.  The information on setbacks can also be found/studied in some of the other books listed for PA.

    Hope this helps.

    What do others think?

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    Paula Vives (Edited )


    Information and resources will overlap simply due to the nature of what architecture encompasses, so what you said  in regards to book content is true, and I think people understand that. 

    I think what is most misleading is that a third of the sample items provided for P&A reference resources with minimal items in the item bank for that division. Why not provide a different resource that references and supports the information and is also represented in the matrix for that category?  Is it to encourage people to use  a range of resources? 


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    Ryan NCARB (Edited )

    Honestly Paula, it wasn't a conscience decision at all.  We were more concerned about providing really good sample items with clear references and rationale to give candidates a better understanding of content then we were worried about exactly aligning the references we used to the matrix provided.  I hadn't even noticed it until Darguin asked about it today!  I do think the sample items are still good representative sample items and the reference matrix is still a good representation of the material covered in each division.  We may look into updating the sample item references in the future though.

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    Darguin Fortuna


    You do see what we mean right? It's like here I am with very little material out there blindly using what you have given us which you keep saying in every post and video use the test specifications, the handbook and the practice exams along with the videos. Well we are being good fellows and listening and so far everything is impressively clear but this reference thing and a few other things I still have not crafted a full expression of my last three exams waiting to take them all by March and evaluate overall experience. We want to trust this material and hope for the best.


    Thanks for your prompt responses! 

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    Ryan NCARB

    I definitely understand what you mean.  But if I can be real honest with you...I think you might be overthinking this a bit.  I am not at all making lite of what you have brought up.  But the addition of one or two more references to study I don't think will be the magic bullet to help you pass any division.  If you go through the Handbook and study the objectives that you don't feel strong in, no matter what reference you use, you will be in a great place to succeed on these exams.  Using the references in matrix gives you plenty to study in each division and addresses most (all?) of the objectives.  More references doesn't necessarily mean more prepared.

    I bet you are more ready than you think!

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    Michael Nervik

    Ryan, Darguin and Paula,


    I can understand the frustration with this as well.

    From another perspective, with this being a new test and format, it could simply be an editing mistake. For example it would make much more sense that the reference material for P&A be Building Codes Illustrated and not Building Construction Illustrated.

    It is still confusing though.

    I am in the process of studying for this exam myself.

    I am confident things will eventually work themselves out. At this point we are technically still guinea pigs for the new test.

    Conversations like these will help to refine the test for better.


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