PCM Fail



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    Erica Spayd

    Hi Christine,

    The test isn't scored by section, but by total number of questions right/wrong - see NCARB's post here.

    That said, if you were to get 1 or 2 in all sections, you'd pass, as you would demonstrate the minimum requirements in each of the 4 content areas. When you mix in 3s and 4s, it gets a little dicey; still possible to pass with a 3 or 4 if you do well in all other content areas, but if it's a low 3 or a 4 in the largest content area, maybe not. This link is helpful in understanding your score report.

    Though it does seem nice to just know the score, a simple number wouldn't help guide your study strategy for your retake in the way that NCARB's descriptive feedback does. The sections listed on the score report correspond with those in the ARE 5.0 Handbook, so it's worth it to look back at the handbook and check how each section of PCM is weighted - focus your study efforts on the largest sections in which you got a 3, and do a refresh on content for the area where you got the 2.

    Having seen the exam once, you have the added advantage of focusing your study on areas where you most memorably struggled. Try to recall as much of the exam as possible, make notes of whatever you can remember, cross reference with the descriptions in the Handbook, and then with your study materials. You will figure out what you need to get there. Don't be discouraged! You have the tools to get through this exam.

    Also, contact NCARB Customer Service about your computer crashing if you haven't done so already. They are very helpful.

    Best of luck on your retake!


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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Erica -- you're still helping people...nice!


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    Nimesh Patel (Edited )

    I also failed PCM. I thought I did pretty well during the exam. I got 2's on 3 sections and a 3 on 1 section.  I was hoping that was enough to pass, but I guess I will try again in 60 days. My scores were

    Business operations 2
    Finances, risk, & devel 2
    Practice wide del. 2
    Practice methodologies 3

    If I had gotten a 2 in Practice methodologies, would I have passed PCM?

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Christine,

    I'm sorry to hear about your score.  Erica's comments and advice are spot on - she directed you to all the same sites I would have! I'll reiterate her point about contacting Customer Service.  Review the ARE 5.0 Guidelines for more on what to do if a problem occurs at the test center.

    I also want to address your comment "that NCARB was having a connection issue".  ARE 5.0 is an internet-delivered exam, so an internet connection issue at the Prometric test center will cause an interruption in the ARE and other internet-delivered exams also being offered there.  Be sure the TCA files a report if such an issue occurs, and contact NCARB after you leave the test center.

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    Christine Parisi

    Hi Erica,

    Yes, I know the test isn't scored in sections - but like you mentioned you can still "fail" a section and pass the test, if its not one of the larger sections. Thanks for clarifying what the threshold is like. I agree, a score only wouldn't be enough, but in addition to the break-down would be helpful, just to gauge where you actually are. The levels just seem really vague to me. 

    I guess my memory of the test is the best thing I have to go off of for preparing for next time. Studying works the best for me when I can actually test the information, but I have yet to find a reliable practice test. This is the major problem I have with AHPP. I can read 1,000 pages from the AHPP, but I just won't retain all of it. There's a lot of tips on what to study from AHPP, but any on how to go about it?

    I really appreciate your feedback. The test was hard, but the 45 minute crash made it a nightmare. Prometric filed their own report, but I will be sure to submit one myself.

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