CE Pass - 4th Attempt
I just received a passing score on my 4th attempt on CE! I never thought I was going to pass, but after a year of waiting, I finally received a Pass! Below are some of tips that helped me finally pass after receiving 3 failing scores.
1.) DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE FIRST HAND RESOURCES
I believe this was the biggest reason why I failed the previous 3 tests. I was heavily relying on 2nd hand study material (Amberbook, Black Spectacles, Hyperfine, WeARE, Schiff Hardin, Quizlet etc.) to potentially "shortcut" my way to a pass. But the there's really only one way to pass these tests and its knowing the first hand resources front and back, which are all laid out for you in the ARE 5.0 Guidelines.
i first started out with the AHPP. I read, then re read, then re-re-read the AHPP (Chapters 9+10) over and over again to make sure there was nothing that I didn't know. I religiously studied A201 and B101 line by line everyday to make sure I knew EXACTLY how the flow of information between parties was, who PREPARES and who CREATES certain actions (submittals, RFIs, substitutions etc.) and how the contracts interprets certain scenarios. I reviewed Building Construction Illustrated (Chapters 3+7) and made sure I was familiar with key foundation shoring scenarios, mastic locations, flashing types and locations, where weeps holes go and became familiar with Curtain Wall construction. Also become familiar with the other contracts that were listed in the ARE 5.0 Guidelines (A305, C401, G701, G702, G703, G704, G710, G711, G716)
A thing that really helped me out on this test, compared to the others, was making my own physical flashcards as I was reading AHPP, A201+B101. I would take notes as I was reading the contracts and AHPP. Then I would re-read the contracts and AHPP to make sure I didn't miss anything. Then I would read my notes and then make flashcards from my notes. Then whenever I had downtime at work or at home, I would quiz myself until I memorized all my flashcards.
2.) SECOND HAND RESOURCES ARE COMPLIMENTARY
After spending countless hours on the ARE 5.0 Community Boards on trying to figure out which secondary website I should spend my money on (I've bought pretty much all of them lol), nothing will ever compare to the recourses, books and contracts that the ARE 5.0 Guidelines layout for you to study. But below are some of my favorites which I believe helped me.
Amberbook really helped me out on passing the PcM and PjM, and definitely helped me out on CE. I loved the Black Spectacles practice tests and wasn't to happy with their videos. Hyperfine was awesome and loved his homework style CE course, but there are some conflicting information I found on his worksheets that didn't exactly align with the A201. WeARE had great practice test and loved the questions. The XQ App was a HUGE help. I pretty much replaced my mindless Instagram scrolling with doing practice questions everyday.
3.) TESTING STRATEGY
For first 3 times I took CE, my testing strategy was to spend the first hour and a half on the multiple choice, take my break (10-15 mins to walk, get some water, grab a snack, go to the bathroom) and the remaining hour and a half on the Case Studies. With this strategy, I always felt like I was running out of time trying to finish the Case Studies. With this time crunch at the very end, panic would start to set in... That panic of not having enough time to effectively look through all the resources and drawings ultimately led me to fail the test 3 times...
After taking a year off, I knew I needed to come at this test with a new strategy. My new strategy was not to take a break, spend the first 30 mins on the multiple choice, then use the next hour and a half on the case studies and then proceed to use the final hour on finishing the rest of the multiple choice. If I came across any questions that involved math, I would flag it and come back for it at the end of my test.
Not taking a break was pretty intimidating at first. I always enjoyed taking my break, walking to get water and using the bathroom. The but the thought of not having the ability to look at questions previously opened questions before taking the break, ultimately led me to opt out of taking a break.. So the morning before my test (I took my test at 10:30am) I had a good breakfast and limited my coffee and water intake to one cup each. When I got to the testing faculty, I used the bathroom a couple of times and was ready for the test.
The first 30 minutes of the test were used to get in the test flow and was able to finish about 30ish questions (marked the ones that I didn't know the answer to immediately or was a math question and would revisit them at the end of the test). Once the 30 minutes were up, I moved onto the Case Studies. I'm so glad I did the Case Studies in the middle of the test (and not at the end) because it took me an hour and forty-five minutes to finish. I'm not sure why CE requires a little bit more digging through the resources, but it actually took me a little bit longer than originally planned for. Once the Case Studies were out of the way, I was so much calmer and was ready to tackle the last 30ish questions of the multiple choice. I was able to get through the last set of questions in 30 minutes. which left me about 15 minutes to review all my flagged or incomplete questions.
4.) Do not second guess yourself and change questions last minute!
I have had a habit of doing this on all my tests and changed multiple answers last second and I felt like it always has hurt me in the end. Trust your gut. Your first original answer is always usually right!
If you ever feel down after a test, take a couple of days or weeks to re-strategize, because a fail test result is not the end of the world. Believe me, it sucks to fail. I have failed many more times than I have actually passed the tests. But getting back on the horse, studying harder and eventually getting that Pass result is worth it.
Hope this helps!
Please sign in to leave a comment.