Amber Book Practice Exam vs NCARB Practice Exam

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    Mitchel Schulzetenberg

    I would highly recommend taking the NCARB practice exams. I did the entire Amber Book aside from the practice exams. I decided to replace them with the NCARB one because I figured they would be more similar to the real exam. I passed 5 if the 6 exams and just last month I took and passed my final exam. I think the NCARB practice exams had a good part to do with my success. They prepared me for the type of wording that is on the exam and get me ready for reading those types of questions.

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    Christine Williamson Cronin

    Thank you! And congratulations:)

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    Susan Arnold (Edited )

    IMO there's no excuse not to do the NCARB exam. I didn't have four hours at once so I took it several times for about an hour each time. The annoying thing is that the questions get reshuffled every time you take it, so you can't just do questions 1-40 and then finish up w questions 41-80, you have to skim each question the second time around. (I don't have Amber Book experience)

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    Natalia Sanchez Robles

    From my experience having taken and passed 2 of the real exams so far:

    I feel like Amber Book's practice tests have been helpful in reviewing the content one last time in a test-style format, as the answers have great explanations. However, the NCARB practice exams helped me mentally prep for the real thing and made me feel more at ease when I actually went to take the real thing. The latter are obviously closer to what the actual exams feel like in terms of type of questions, their wording, and difficulty level. If you're feeling good about knowing the content, I'd say go with the NCARB tests. I should also add I failed both practice tests when I took them... 

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    Mitchel Schulzetenberg

    Natalia brought up a good point. I only passed 1 of the 6 practice exams (all failed exams were in the high 50s or mid 60s percent range) but passed 5 of the 6 real exams. I believe the practice exams are set to a 70% or higher to pass. I could be wrong but I believe the real exams pass range is between 60% and 70%, depending on the exam.

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    Warren Wigh

    NCARB practice tests are the closest to the real thing.  Amber book is not.  He even states such in his book, his questions are meant to be thought provoking, not as a mock exam.

    But I will say that if you don't have enough time, you should reschedule your exam.  It's better to be prepared and have it take more time than to be unprepared.

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    Mark Waldo

    So incredibly helpful to hear from Natalie and Mitchel that they failed many of the NCARB practice exams but passed the real exams. I have taken four practice NCARB exams and failed each but by only a few points on each time. I can see how I can improve my scores but I have to admit feeling punched in the gut each time and wondering if I should even try after so much studying in the Amber course. These comments really boost my spirits.

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    Christine Williamson Cronin

    Mark, for what it’s worth, I never did a single practice exam start to finish from any source (for the same reasons as Susan above).

    After I had finished covering the content I set out to study, I wanted the emotional satisfaction of taking a practice exam (and passing it) so that I could feel truly prepared. What I came to realize is that none of the practice exams are really designed that way. They’re just a tool to get you more comfortable with the testing format and how ncarb frames questions. They also help identify gaps in your studying.

    I genuinely don’t think you should be discouraged based on what you wrote.

    Obviously if you’d been failing miserably in your practice sessions, maybe rethink your approach! But the practice sessions aren’t meant to be predictive; they’re just another way of covering content and learning to get into the “zone”:)

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    Mark Waldo

    Christine, I really appreciate your insights on the true value of the practice exams. I think you've nailed the truth of the situation. Also thanks for sharing, "I wanted the emotional satisfaction of taking a practice exam (and passing it) so that I could feel truly prepared." - I've definitely been in that mindset. I think Michael Ermann does a good job of trying to disassemble that mindset in his comments throughout the Amber Book, but in the end it's been hard for me to get my head around. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. 

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    Pablo Diaz

    I think the best technique, once you have a good grasp on the content, and as it gets closer to the exam, take as many exams as possible! 

    Amberbooks exams are good for content, but not for format.

    Black Spectacles offers 4 practice exams that are very close the exam format.

    Definately look into ARE Questions. They are very hard, but the format is not like the exam.

    I think its good to mix it up.

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