Study Materials and Required Study Time?

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    I found another thread that is very good as well:

    https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/115000341288-Reading-material-Chapters-to-focus-on- 

    In particular, Daniel S.'s post.  Thanks, Daniel!  Again!

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    Daniel Ostfeld

    Hi Kurt,

    I've been going thru the same the last couple of weeks. I've been focusing my studies with the 3 main references.

    1. Building Codes Illustrated: Chapters 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 & 18

    2. Site Planning and Design Handbook: Chapters 1,2,3,4,7,8,9 & Appendix A

    3. Problem seeking, an Architectural Programming Primer. Read thru the whole book in 3 flights. Very easy reading.

    4. Supplementing with blackspectacle videos & Architect exam prep audio companion(for the commute)

    5. Practicing every day with Ballast 5.0 Practice questions & exam as well as Architect exam prep Omces.

    My timeline to study for PA is 3 weeks to read thru all the references and 1 final week to review, practice and take the exam. So from start to finish around 3 to 4 weeks. I'll take the exam next Wednesday, I'll let you know if it was enough time or not LOL

     

     

     

     

     

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    Erica Spayd

    Hey Kurt,

    I read through SPDH, focusing on the chapters Daniel S. recommended in that post you referenced earlier. Be prepared... it is a long, boring book. Toward the end I was skimming more than reading.

    Problem Seeking was useful, particularly pages 96-125. I read through the whole thing, but those pages seemed to be the most test-relevant.

    I also skimmed through Sun, Wind, and Light to refresh on sustainable design concepts. I work in retail design and we don't do a lot of this in practice, unfortunately, so I felt I personally needed to brush up on this material.

    I didn't pay much attention to the codes - I use them every day, and I felt comfortable with them. I did, however, read through some local zoning ordinances to familiarize myself with a sample and make sure I understood key terms in context terms.

    Ultimately, I kind of ran out of time studying for this one. I gave myself 6 weeks, and planned to study 8-12 hours a week, but life got in the way and I ended up putting in maybe half of that time. Needless to say, I was super stoked when I found out I had passed. :)

     

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    Kurt Fanderclai (Edited )

    Erica and Daniel -- As always, thanks!  Since I've been following just behind you two, I appreciate the advice!

    I'm planning about the same study time as you two -- 4 weeks (which will probably turn into three total).  If it doesn't work out -- at least I'll know where I need to hit harder on a retake.

    Erica, given your description, I now look forward to spending time with the "long, boring book" (SPDH)!  Funny.  It's encouraging how you did it -- does not sound like you overstudied, but instead hit only the parts you thought you needed to -- nice.  And congrats again! 

    It sounds like you two hit a lot of the same materials.

    Daniel, thanks very much for your awesome outline.  That really helps as well. I did buy the AEP for PA, and will definitely pay attention to the BCI and the chapters you noted in the SPDH. Also have Problem Seeking. I was given a 4.0 Ballast, and the sample question booklets -- there are a couple chapters that seem to directly apply --  so I will make use of that as well.  Good luck on your PA exam next week!

    Thank you both!   

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    Timothy Magner

    Hi all, thanks for the heads up. I'm taking PA tomorrow (first test!) and have had a hard time figuring out what to study. I feel pretty comfortable with ADA and site planning. I bought Ballast 5.0 and was referencing Ballast 4.0 beforehand. Feeling nervous about the Problem Seeking questions and Case Studies thanks to all the other threads about time. My biggest issue will be IBC; a vast majority of my work in 7+ years has been in Chicago, one of those pesky places that writes their own code (stricter than IBC!). 

    Fingers crossed, and thanks for all y'all have posted!

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    Aaron Reddick

    Hi All, I took PA on Monday (05/22) and received a PASS the following morning! This was my first exam and based my study strategy on a lot of what I have read on these discussions.

    I work full time so I spent approximately 2 hours in the evening for 4 nights a week and 4 hours per day on the weekends. I studied for 5 weeks totaling somewhere around 60 hours. I didn't use any 3rd party material. I solely focused on NCARB's matrix. Focusing mostly on the PA References (at the end of PA section in the Handbook): Programming Primer, BCI, Site Planning & Design Handbook. As well as skim reading: Planning & Urban Design Standards, Professional Practice, Space Planning Basics. I didn't read any of these books front to back, but instead focused on the relevant chapters.

    Good luck to you all!

    PPD is next for me!

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    Timothy Magner

    Test wasn't bad at all. For anyone who regularly has to reference codes to review construction types, area/height limitations, and zoning rules you'll feel pretty comfortable. One particular thing to study would be the programming relationship matrix that NCARB uses. Adajacent/Near and all that.

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    Rachel Gubser

    Timothy, congrats!  and thanks for posting your experience re PA. I need to schedule my retake and thinking about how to go about studying for it. I couldn't believe how fast the clock ran out for me on that one- I didn't finish several questions! but now I'm realizing part of my problem was as you describe above, practice with code reference for construction types, area, ht, etc.  In the past 6-7 years I've been heavily involved with CA aspect of projects. Which explains why CE, Pjm PcM were acheivable for me. I wish there was a practice test I could purchase that is entirely code related questions/ practice.....if anyone has any ideas please share! I've read bldg code illustrated cover to cover (before taking PA) but I need examples to practice my speed/ competency referencing IBC

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    Timothy Magner

    There is! I purchased a book on Amazon by Ballast "ARE 5 Practice Exam". Now, I haven't received it yet as it apparently takes a couple weeks to arrive. I'll have to compare it to the actual exam now. Hopefully it's a good resource for the rest of the tests as it includes a practice exam for each.

    For PA focus on Chapters 3, 5, and 6 of IBC.

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    Rafael Enriquez

    Tim or anyone, what is the "programming relationship matrix that NCARB uses" that you are referring to in your post?

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    Timothy Magner

    I was referring to the "Adjacency Matrix" which I had never encountered before. It's referenced in Ballast and did come in to play on the exam. If you don't have it in your study materials just do a Google Image search for "Programming Adjacency Matrix".

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    Rafael Enriquez

    Oh, I got it! Yeah it was new to me, I misread it as if if there was some NCARB guide or something about it. Thanks Tim!

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