Fillintheblank questions  Rounding numbers
For anyone from NCARB,
Sample question #11 on the PPD section of the ARE 5 handbook is a fill in the blank question regarding cost indexes. When I did the math I did not round any numbers and got (what is the accurate result of) $141,151.39. However the solution shows that the cost index ratio was rounded to only two decimal places, resulting in a different correct response of $140,000. Are we going to be penalized for not rounding the decimal places if we put a more accurate number? What kind of rules of thumb can we use on the exam for similar questions? I am testing tomorrow, wishing myself luck...
thanks!`

Official comment
Barbara and Elizabeth,
Unless the question specifically states a certain way to round, then no, you will not be penalized. QFIB items such as this one have an acceptable range that is considered correct in order to accommodate different levels of rounding.
However, remember that you can't have things like 3.4 toilets or 29.7 parking spaces. Rounding may not be stated in the question, but that .4 of a toilet would be pretty hard to use...

I got the same thing you did and I was wondering the same thing. What kind of rounding will be acceptable. I did notice my first method of calculation gave me your answer. Then I tried their method and get their answer. I believe it all depends if you divide the indexes first vs. dividing the cost/index then multiplying that ratio to the current year index and subtracting that from the budget for the difference.

Hi Ryan,
I have a similar question about rounding rules for Sample Item 9 in the PjM section of the ARE 5.0 handbook. The question says "round to the nearest whole dollar" however in the answer provided, the cubic yards of material were rounded up to the nearest whole number before they were multiplied by a dollar amount.
My 269.7 CY x $403 cost & materials = $108,689
The handbook says 270 CY x $403 = $108,810
Adding on 10% contractors overhead profit and calculating my dollar amount over budget gives me an answer that is $133 lower than the answer in the guidebook.I would think that if the question asks for rounding to nearest dollar amount, the first time I round up my answer is when I multiply by a dollar value, no? Would my answer be rejected in the exam? Is there a list anywhere that stipulates rounding rules in this type of scenario and similar scenarios?
Thanks in advance,
Maggie 
Hi Magdalena,
Good question! I'm not totally sure how you are calculating 269.7 cubic yards. From the question, we know that the footings are 4.5 feet x 4.5 feet x 36 feet and there are 10 locations. This totals 7,290 cubic feet of concrete. Since 1 cubic yard = 27 cubic feet, we can divide 7,290 by 27 which is 270 cubic yards.
Does this help? Let me know if you any any additional questions regarding this item.

Barbara,
Also keep in mind that when you divide 112.6 by 93.8, your answer can only have 3 significant digits (the least amount of the 2 numbers being divided), so your answer must be rounded to 1.20, not 1.200426. Hopefully, NCARB will not be that strict on us, but that is the correct way to calculate this, and probably why the answer is what it is.

Following up on my previous question, are there any other measurement conversions I should brush up on to succeed in the exams? I'd hate to fail an exam for something as silly as incorrectly converting units. Does list in the link below look correct, complete and reliable?
https://www.archtoolbox.com/measurements/imperialmetric/imperial.html

Hi Magdalena,
That is a pretty detailed list! I would not worry about a chain, furlong, or nautical mile. If you understand the other basic units of measure and conversions on that chart, you should be OK on the exam. Also, make sure to check out the common abbreviations page in the ARE 5.0 Handbook (page 164).
Hope this helps!
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