Post CE study notes

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Julie,

    Congrats on the passing score!  Thanks for sharing your study strategies with the Community.

    And thanks for the comment on Building Construction Illustrated.  As for the AIA document numbers: the top 10 contracts are listed on page 175 of the Handbook, as commonly used abbreviations.  A "remember" level question on a contract would be something like "What is AIA document B101?"  But the ARE assumes you already know that, so the questions are focused instead on understanding the content of each contract and how it's applied throughout a project.

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    Julie Kidder

    Thanks!  I would understand if the question was about one of the 10 main contracts listed in the handbook, but I did have a question that depended on knowing additional contract numbers.

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    Deborah Graw

    Hi Julie.. I just took the CE exam today and I agree with everything you said, including the "Remember" level question.  Unfortunately I received the "likely failed" exam result and am completely disappointed having felt confident going into the exam.  I studied Ballast 4.0 & 5.0, Kaplan 4.0 and reviewed NCARB study guides and numerous other study notes.  Knowing what I know now, I don't feel like any of the study materials truly prepared me for the exam.  I felt as though it was a comprehensive Architecture exam rather than an exam strictly geared towards CE.  Going forward I will definitely study more Wall Sections and Construction Schedules.  Hopefully more people read your post so they have a true idea of what the exam can potentially cover, rather than the less relevant study guides some of the more popular companies try to sell.  Congrats on passing the exam!

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    Julie Kidder

    Hi Deborah, I'm sorry to hear that, and thank you for the congratulations!  I studied the Ballast 5.0 CE section, including the chapters it referenced in other sections, and I agree with you that it wasn't sufficient.  I feel like only a quarter of the exam, at best, was addressed in the Ballast.  Part of it may be that the study material expects you to take the tests in the order presented by NCARB, and assumes you have read everything by the time you get to CE.  This exam is really heavy on contracts, and the 3rd party material doesn't go though any of that (the Ballast just mentioned you should read the A201 before the exam).

    Your comment about being a comprehensive exam is interesting, and reminds me that I thought it was odd to have questions on hand sketches that seemed more appropriate for PPD, where I'd expect the the same question in a CE exam to be regarding a construction photo, construction documents or an ASI/RFI.  

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    Melinda McAra

    Hi Deborah-
    I completely agree with you. I was doing well on the practice exams, but on the actual exam, a significant number of questions were about building construction systems and assemblies, nothing like the study guides. Feels like this exam was a trick!

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    Deborah Graw

    Hi Melinda.. I'm sorry to hear you felt the same disappointment as I did.  This was my first attempt at any of the exams so I can only assume all of the exams will cover a good amount of material from each of the divisions.  I just purchased "Building Construction Illustrated" which Julie had recommended and I definitely think it will help with the wall sections and building systems portions.  As this is a new version of the exam and handbook, I do feel there are some kinks that need to be worked out.

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    Alicia Liebel
    • Look at construction photos, especially if you don't have a lot of construction observation experience.  Even better, find photos of key construction details/sections and compare them so you can identify them in either form.  (Is there a book or resource that does this?  I haven't run across one.)

    Based on this observation I have been working through some of the suggested resources for PPD and PDD, I sit for my CE exam next week. Based on my CA experience, the construction photos provided in the Fundamentals of Building Construction are a decent resource for letting you see what sheet pile with tiebacks looks like during the foundation and excavation process, for example. I should have used this text back when I was studying for the SS 4.0 version.

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    Barbara Cipriani

    Hi, how much is to go deep for CE in the MASTERFORMAT ™ and is there a particular edition? I have 2016 but somebody said I should look at 
    2004 EDITION NUMBERS & TITLES?

     

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    Julie Kidder

    The ARE sample questions give you a good idea of how deep it will go.  Just know the division titles/numbers, particularly for those elements that are normally in the architectural scope.  It would also be a good idea to skim an example specification if you don't interact with them often so you understand what information is in each section (General, Product, Execution).  I think as long as you have a version with the 48 divisions it will be sufficient.  I'm not sure which version the test references, but I don't think the major divisions have changed recently.  This link has a 2016 version.

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    Barbara Cipriani

    Thank you Julie, do you have the link for the ARE sample questions?

     

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    Julie Kidder

    They are in the ARE Handbook.

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    Briana Jones

    Hi Julie,

    Congrats and thanks for your post! I took PcM (pass), PjM (fail) and CE (fail), in that order. However, finished CE w/ an hour to spare and was really close to passing according to my score report. Study material wise contracts in and out, schiff, any relevant notes from AHPP, CSI CA Practice Guide, and Ballast and Gang Chen practice exams. Exam day I use highlighter, cross out, etc tools like a mother, but perhaps next time I should ensure I've got all my bases covered. Essentially, I too am taking the CDT exam March 30 and earliest I can retake CE is April 10, and I was wondering what are your thoughts on how much time do you think would be sufficient after CDT for retake? I know this varies per person, but I am going back and forth between is 2 weeks after CDT too little, or more like 3 weeks? I worry 2 weeks being too little but also maybe what I need, but 3 weeks being too much knowing how close I was before. Do you think 3 weeks after CDT for a retake is too much time between if I'm going to be mostly reviewing practice exams, old notes and maybe one or two new items at most?

    Also, how was CDT? I've heard it being rather straightforward comparatively to ARE?

    Your advice would be greatly appreciated so thanks in advance!

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    Julie Kidder

    It does depend a lot on your study habits, and any deadlines/life events in the middle that might interrupt studying.  I took CE a month after CDT, but if I was to do it again I would have put them closer, since I ended up re-reading much of the information to refresh.  Perhaps you can split the difference?  Of the tests I've taken so far (I have PjM on Monday and PDD in April) CE has had the most random of the questions, so you need time to brush up on how things are constructed (which CDT isn't concerned about) and all the accessory forms/schedules that are part of CE.

    CDT is much more straightforward.  There are a lot more "remember" level questions.  I ended up finishing with over an hour to spare, after going through all the questions a second time.  There is a tutorial for how there test is formatted at the beginning and you can mark questions for review.  You can even pick from 20 or so color schemes for your test interface, which is odd (I experimented with them at the end, and several schemes made the time remaining invisible).

    Applicable for both, I found a YouTube recording of a CDT lessons and watched those to study, since it had been several months since I took the CDT class. I re-watched the parts on the A201 before I took CE.

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    Marta Snow

    As I've been going through all of these exams (now only CE left), I really see how the knowledge base builds up and benefits you in subsequent exams. So, I second the comment above about study materials from PPD and PDD being helpful for CE.

    I almost took CE 3 weeks before I had PPD and PDD scheduled (1 week apart), but the day before my scheduled exam, Prometric cancelled due to an impending snow storm! Phew! The past 3/4 weeks studying PPD and PDD details, systems and assemblies definitely make me feel more confident about taking CE.

    In practice, we should always keep all scales of a project fresh in our mind for the best outcome. The Client, Environment, Codes, Structure, Materials, Details, Budget, Legal, Design, Program. . .

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    Briana Jones

    Marta and Julie,

    Thanks so much for the quick reply! I appreciate your response more than you know. The wheel spinning can be outrageous. I actually neglected to say that I started this journey by taking PPD 3x so I do have that "experience" although I have yet to pass. I thought CE was most straight forward of all 4 ARE exams I've taken. However, I truly do appreciate your remark about reality of time. I don't want to just do slightly better, my goal should be to do as best as one can to ensure a pass. That being said, I'm going to give CE the breathing room it needs and take it 3 weeks after, giving me another weekend of study.  

    My firm has been providing a nearly 2 mos long session (by the time I take my exam) for CDT on Thursdays for 1.5-2hours and I have attended most of them. Definitely helpful and will of course dive into practice delivery guide. 

    I covered nearly all of the 5.0 handbook primary references for CE, so other than teasing in detail in order to get the highest score possible any test day advice? I feel people neglect asking this advice, but I know how you read a question is 50% if not more of the battle.

    Thanks and best of luck!

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    Herman Nadal (Edited )

    Michelle,
    Just passed CE today (my third exam so far) but I’ve noticed a trend on all of them. As others have pointed out, there are definitely more AIA docs referenced by number only than just the “top 10” listed in the handbook. With all of the possible AIA docs, how would NCARB recommend going about choosing which ones to memorize.
    Thanks

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    Michelle NCARB

    Herman,

    I would focus on the contracts listed in the ARE 5.0 Handbook. Note that we've recently updated it to include the 2017 contracts as well as some IPD contracts.

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    Herman Nadal

    Michelle,

    Thanks for the quick reply, but my question is regarding the AIA docs that you don't list in the ARE Handbook, that still appear on the exam by number only. I've had enough of those questions over my first three exams (about 5-6 questions) to feel the need to ask for more clarification on how (or even why) we're supposed to memorize all of them, since the ARE Handbook leaves them out. Also, without getting into specifics of the question, they have been very "memorize" type questions. My questions isn't coming from a disgruntled perspective either; I've passed each exam. I'm just trying to hopefully make this clear for others that are studying and hopefully have the handbook updated with all of the AIA Docs that are referenced by number only on the exam. I appreciate the fact that guys are on here engaging with us actively. Looking forward to the response. 

    Thanks

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    Michelle NCARB

    Herman,

    I appreciate your feedback on this.  No, you're not expected to memorize all the AIA contract documents.  But I do suggest familiarizing yourself with how AIA organizes the contracts - the A series is Owner-Contractor, the B series is Owner-Architect, etc.  This may help if you see a contract number that you don't recognize.

    I also suggest contacting NCARB Customer Service regarding your detailed concerns.  I can't look into this further without knowing the particulars, and I don't want to put you in a position of posting exam content on this Community.  Page 18 of the ARE 5.0 Guidelines has information on reporting inquiries/concerns about specific exam items.  Your concerns will then be forwarded onto the Examination team for review.

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