CE - Ballast Practice Exams Technical Construction Knowledge Questions

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    Marta Snow

    Natalie, 

    I like your inquiry. I am contemplating taking either PA or CE next after having successfully completed PcM and PjM this summer, and I'm concerned about those technical construction details and procedures as well. My experience is predominately in residential construction, with a lot of hands-on experience at that scale. But commercial construction is pretty foreign to me. Because of this, I'm wondering if I should do PA first, even though CE is also heavy on the contracts which I just studied, and partner with a larger commercial construction firm to check out their projects during the construction management phase.

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    Kurt Fanderclai (Edited )

    Hi Natalie,

    From my testing experience, there are very few of those types of questions on CE -- which matches with the handbook outline.  Of the 35% of questions on Construction Observation, there are three subsections, one which pertains to your questions, and of that subsection only a fraction of those are of the specific type you describe.

    I would not base your study on what pops up in third party materials.  I do like Ballast, but I've only looked at it on a couple of exams, and only after exhausting the matrix.

    NCARB's recommended exam order -- see the list in the handbook -- would certainly appear to be that CE would be taken last -- the exam order is based on the way a project moves through an office in actual practice.  Now, the NCARB reps posting here have also said that this order is not mandatory or critical, but the caveat being that your particular experience or education must fill in any gaps.  The point being, if you had gone through the exams in the recommended order, you would have already become amply prepared for the several questions of the kind you describe.  There really is no gap in the recommended study materials as you've suggested. So, if you have no CA experience from your internship or job, and you are taking the exams in a different order, you may need to look at a resource from a couple of the other exams.

    CE was my first exam.

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    Ryan NCARB

    Hey Kurt and everyone...I just want to clear one thing up.  NCARB does NOT have any kind of a recommended order for the ARE 5.0 exams.  They can be taken in any order and that flexibility is so that you as a candidate can take them in the order that works best for YOU.  "Best for you" could be based on experience, comfort level, anything.  NCARB lists them in a specific order, only because they make sense.  Practice Management, then Project Management (what it takes to run a firm and run a project), then the remaining four in the order of a typical progression of an architectural project.  Hope this helps.

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    Kurt Fanderclai (Edited )

    ^ Heh.

    Actually, I already pointed that out in my post, also noting that the order of the list of exams as presented in the handbook, while not mandatory or critical, certainly would appear to make quite a bit of sense, since the order of the list appears to  largely follow the way a project would move through an office.  Also, then, the study materials follow along very logically, with plenty of overlap, and no inherent gaps.

    Is the word "recommended" too strong?  That's no issue with me -- I'll use a different word.  I have no dog in this fight.  

    Interesting -- so, then, forget my above post and go with the "order that works best for YOU" approach.  In that case, then Natalie is then 100 percent  correct -- there is an obvious gap in the NCARB-recommended CE study material.

     

     

     

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    Ryan NCARB

    No worries Kurt.  Very helpful post - I just wanted to draw the distinction between the list of exams and an actual recommendation of order to take them in from NCARB.

    We can certainly look into the recommended resources we list for CE, but the current list represents where most of the CE items in the item bank come from.

     

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    Gianna Madison

    @Ryan NCARB - where can I find this list of recommended resources? Also, what resources does NCARB recommend purchasing in order to use for study material for the exams?

     

    Are Ballast Practice Exams even worth purchasing? I have seen a lot of people talking about them in recent NCARB discussions but I want to make sure that I get the most out of the study materials that I purchase. Please advise. Thanks in advance!

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    Ryan NCARB

    Gianna,

    Everything you need is in the ARE 5.0 Handbook.  Check the end of each division for the top 3-5 references and the ARE 5.0 Reference section at the end for a complete list.

    As for the best third-party resources, I will let others weigh in.  NCARB doesn't have anything to do with those companies, so I can't really tell you which is the best to spend money on.

    Hope this helps!

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    Diana Carolina Hernandez Rubio

    I just took CE last Friday and failed it because of the Construction Observation section. Can anyone recommend practice tests or any strategy for this section of the tests? Ballast practice questions were not enough.  Any photo with actual cases practice questions would be great. 

    Thank you!

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