PcM Fail (Business Operations)

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16 comments

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    Lorenzo Franchina

    I am sorry to hear Chelsea; just keep going and don't let it get you down. I am currently studying for the PcM/PjM/CE exams and have followed the same course of action that you have, and a lot of the information didn't seem to stick until I actually started doing practice questions. I have been studying for a number of weeks, reading and re-reading the recommended materials, which helped, but when I started to do the questions and then seeing where I would go wrong and given the explanation, that is when I would say that certain things made more sense and would stick. This seems to be working for me and could be another angle if you haven't tried it already. Good Luck!  

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    Adriana Santa Cruz

    Hi Chelsea,

    I'm in the same boat with you. I took my PcM exam Monday and failed on Business Operations. I'm planning on sitting down with either HR and account admin personnel at my firm to have them help me figure out the concepts in real life. For some reason there's a disconnect that I need to figure out. Best of luck!

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    Chelsea Hoffman

    Thanks Lorenzo. Since I have to wait 60 days to retake PcM I think I'm going to start studying for PjM so I can finish up with reading the AHPP. I figured I would re read some of the chapters that would pertain to PcM on my way through. Ideally I'd like to take both of them pretty close together then. Fingers crossed. What practice questions would you recommend? I had taken Ballast 4.0 PPP and CD practice exams and I agree, reading the explanations was definitely helpful. I'd like to find something geared more towards 5.0 instead of cherry picking from 4.0, but I've been hesitant to buy the Ballast or Brightwood material because of the reviews.

     

    Hi Adriana - sorry to hear you had a similar experience to me! It's so frustrating. That sounds like a good plan though. I hope that offers some clarity. I think once I re-read some chapters and pin point some areas I struggle with I'll have conversations with people at my firm as well. Good luck!

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    Lorenzo Franchina

    Chelsea, I agree with you on the Ballast material, I hear so many people having not so great experiences citing lots of errors and erroneous questions, which probably stems from Ballast just taking the 4.0 questions, revamping and moving them to a new book.

    So far, I have used Black Spectacles and Designer Hacks practice exams. I would not use Black Spectacles for 5.0 at this time. They are nowhere near where they should be with the practice exams. They advertise that they have the same questions types, ie. drag and drop, case studies etc...not the case; and I found multiple errors, things like pick 3 and the answer listed 4, spelling mistakes and even questions that I answered correctly marked wrong. The videos are ok, very conversation like, but again, not anything I would say gives you the confidence to sit for an exam. My feeling is that they are some months away from getting their site to a point where I would feel more comfortable giving them a positive nod. Designer Hacks has an exam package with a huge bank of questions. Its multiple choice, check all that apply, etc. and I feel a good buy as far as price and putting your reading to the test. I am still in search of other options, I hear ARE Exam Prep is coming out with a set of practice exams soon, but again, I feel like all of these companies are rushing to get their product out and keep up with the transition from 4.0 to 5.0. There are plenty of people on here that have put out some great info and have passed using the NCARB recommended materials and methods we are following, so I have the confidence I can too; just have to keep working at it and not give up or get discouraged...Hope this helps. 

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    Randall Hunter

    Chelsea, sorry to hear about the fail but don't be discouraged, it happens. When I was studying for PcM, I read chapters 7 and 10 in the AHPP several times each and made note cards for all of the equations. When I was studying the notecards for the formulas, I forced myself to not just memorize the pieces and parts that made up the equation but to actually go over in my mind where those variables were coming from and what it actually meant to plug those numbers into a formula and get an answer. 

    In the past I would just simply memorize the formulas and then when the test comes around and the information that was given was a little bit off or a piece of the puzzle that normally was given wasn't, I would be lost because I only memorized the formula and didn't understand fully the concept behind it. I hope that makes sense. Basically, you should be able to look at a formula, understand what the formula is solving for but more importantly understand where all of those variables are coming from as well and also what the answer means when you finally have it.

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    Chelsea Hoffman

    Thanks guys, this has been helpful and encouraging. I was really disappointed this morning ha. I plan to scour the PcM and PjM boards tonight some more so I can come up with a new game plan and start studying again tomorrow.

    Lorenzo - I'll look into the Designer Hacks bundle. I did the free one a few times a couple of weeks ago and debated if it was worth paying for the full version. I did think the format of the questions aligned with the exam. And I agree about the third party study materials. I think everything was super rushed, so I've been relying on the matrix in the handbook and everyone on this forum :)

    Randall - Agreed about the formulas. I would also just memorize them, which wasn't helping me in this case. I finally started understanding the concept of them the night before the exam, which was a little late in the game, but also a bit of a relief. I definitely still need to review them a few more times and how they apply in certain scenarios.

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    Buyachi Ndengu

    I agree with using Designer Hackers. I purchased the PcM bundle. The only things missing are case studies. They have great customer service. If you find a question is incorrect just provide a comment. I have received replies within 48 hours. 

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    Kelly Duignan

    Chelsea and Adriana,

    In the same boat as both of you about taking the PcM exam and failing last week. I didn’t really come out of the exam super confident, so it wasn’t a huge surprise. I’ve been considering studying for the PjM along side of this for the retest.

    My takeaway about “what happened” - I haven’t studying for an exam in years so the whole process has felt really new to me. I’m relieved that I made it through one though (even with the fail), because it gave me a more solid idea of what I’m getting myself into. Not that there were a whole lot, there were more equation questions/concepts than I thought there would be that I didn’t grasp too well. I gave myself enough time to get through the material (same stuff Chelsea mentioned in original post), but not enough time to review concepts I was having trouble with. I’m not great at reading fast and wayyy underestimated the amount I needed to read and the time I’d personally need to retain things. I have a feeling it will stick better the second time around since I will have a general background of what I didn’t have before.

    I used the Brightwood (previously Kaplan I believe) study guide for 5.0 that my local AIA chapter has up to borrow. It gave a brief overview of a lot of concepts, but also made me feel like a few things were way more important than they ended up being. I’m not sure if Brightwood helped me or if I will use it again to study. I also have been using the DesignerHacks quizzes. I like that you’re able to do the quizzes in different question lengths and that they provide explanations for a lot if you get them wrong. There are occasional errors and I have run into a question being incorrectly marked in their site. But as Buyachi said, they have pretty good customer service and I emailed them to resolve the issues I noticed, which they seemed to have done. I will probably continue to use DesigerHacks again as a supplementary resource.

    Hope this is helpful. Good luck on your next round!

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    Randall Hunter (Edited )

    To those of you struggling with this division, hang in there, you got this. I can't attest to any third party materials other than Ballast 5.0 which I used as a review tool and practice exam only. By no means would I use it as primary study source or even a truly good example of what is on the exam. It is too general in some areas and specific in others. I can't stress enough how important AHPP was for this and PjM. I can say without a doubt that knowing the required contracts like the back of your hand and having a good grasp on the necessary chapters of AHPP will get you through this exam, along with the S/H Lectures.

    When I study, especially a large resource like AHPP, I like to take my time the first time through. Read a page 2 or 3 times if I have to so that I'm sure I'm understanding it. A trick or tip or whatever you'd like to call it that I always come back to is: Can I explain this to someone else so that they understand it? If I needed to teach about this topic for 5-10 minutes could I do it right now without resources? If the answer is definitely no, then I don't know it well enough to take an exam. After you study for a couple hours, let the material run through your mind. When you're taking a shower, or in the car by yourself, just start talking to yourself out loud about the subject. Try to recall as much as you can about what you've been studying. If you are retaining the information you should be able to ramble on about things. Even if it's just a definition of this or a formula for that, it makes you think about it without the materials in front of you. Just knowing a formula for the overhead rate isn't enough. But saying it to yourself out loud will make you start thinking about what it actually means and that is when you start understanding the material.

    Just be careful if you're doing it in public...people might stare...

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    Tyler Duncan

    I, too, failed PcM. Which Schiff Hardin lectures did you listen to/plan to listen to? 

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    Chelsea Hoffman

    Hi Kelly and Tyler, sorry to hear you're in the same boat! Kelly, I just decided to study for both PcM and PjM too. I actually just scheduled the PjM exam for the end of November and PcM for the beginning of December. I just started studying again this past week and plan to focus on the chapters in the AHPP I feel like I'm lacking in, as well as the contracts. And I think I'm going to incorporate the Designer Hacks practice exams as an extra tool. Tyler, I listened to the B101, Contract Law, and Interpretation of Contracts, Breach of Contracts, and Remedies for Breach lectures. I'd like to listen to most of the others just to break up my reading and get another perspective of the material I covered. I'd say B101 is a must though (and eventually A201, but that isn't necessary for PcM) and I recommend having it printed in front of you so you can take notes as you listen. Here's the link if you don't have it already:

    http://www.schiffhardin.com/professionals/attorneys/d-i/hanahan-michael-j/hanahan-lecture-notes-2017

    Randall - I agree about the AHPP. I'm re-reading parts of it now. It's nice to have read it once and taken the exam - it makes it a bit easier to focus on the information (silver lining I guess?). I definitely have to focus on the contracts more. I was debating on adding CE into the mix mid-December, but I haven't decided if that would be too overwhelming. I know there's a lot of overlap between the three.

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    Tyler Duncan

    Thanks, Chelsea - all of this info is helpful! I, too, am thinking of re-taking PcM in early/mid December. Did you find the contracts somewhere for free? I've only found downloads of them that cost money. 

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    Chelsea Hoffman (Edited )

    If the link below doesn't work you can find them when you go to your NCARB Record. They'll be on the right hand side under Quick Links, "AIA Contract Documents Examination Resources".

    https://my.ncarb.org/Home/Records/Examination/ContractDocumentshttps://my.ncarb.org/Home/Records/Examination/ContractDocuments 

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    Tyler Duncan

    Thanks for the quick response! 

     

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    Sean Ragudo

    I'm going back into the freezer on this, I took the exam back in March 2017.  As I recall, there's a lot of AIA B101-2007, and knowing how to run a practice.  I read AHPP (http://www.ebook777.com/architects-handbook-professional-practice-15th-edition/ ) cover to cover and also the commentary to B101 (http://aiad8.prod.acquia-sites.com/sites/default/files/2017-02/B101-2007%20Commentary.pdf).  Know the definition of standard of care and how that applies to everyday operations.  Good luck all!

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    samira sheikholeslami (Edited )

    Hi Kelly and Tyler- 

    I am so sorry to hear that and I am in the same boat as you. I took the PcM this morning and got a preliminary fail. I have studied AHPP, Hardin Lectures, Ballast ARE 5.0 manual book and test and I reviewed them couple of times! I feel that memorizing these material did not help me. I was so confident with the level of my knowledge but this exam is not all about knowledge. It is more about how to apply your knowledge into practice and choose the best answer. Also the questions were from all over the world and you cannot manage to know them all. I think I am going to take a deep breath and start going through these materials one more time from a whole another perspective. I will think about how does this knowledge help me understand who is responsible for what, who needs to do what, how to answer clients, how to run business and how to avoid risks. 

    I also noticed that this post if from almost 10 months ago, so let me know how did your journey go so far?

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