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    Layne Hunton

    So I assume you've taken 4.0 tests. But the questions were fairly similar, the format and style of question was exactly what I've been used to.

    However I did like the mini-vignettes a lot better than the full vignettes, and the case studies took a good chunk of time but the majority of that time is trying to orient yourself and understand the scenario.

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    Valentina Gaglio

    Great! Did you get an idea of content, and how it relates to the 4.0 BS, SS, BDCS. I didn't get the 5.0 guide yet, trying to study with old material.

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    Layne Hunton

    Without divulging anything too specific per NCARB's rules, I'd say it's more or less the same information on those sections plus or minus. In theory I think they are either the same or fairly similar questions.

    By studying those sections you'll have a good head start to 5.0 material and will absolutely overlap.

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    Valentina Gaglio

    Great, thanks. I'll keep posting after my test next week.

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    Ryan NCARB

    Hey Valentina...I highly recommend downloading the ARE 5.0 Handbook to guide your studying with ARE 4.0 material.  It's free!

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    Valentina Gaglio

    Thanks Ryan, thats the first thing I did and it's very helpful. I guess I am wondering where the SS exam falls in the 5.0 sequence. I'm guessing we should expect some conceptual/budget related questions in PPD, probably not calculating a moment of inertia?

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    Ryan NCARB

    Correct!  Selection (PPD) vs. Integration (PDD).  THESE VIDEOS and THIS BLOG may also help.

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    Valentina Gaglio

    Thanks Ryan!

    Layne, if you are allowed to share: how many case studies and how many questions per case study? I figured we used to know exactly how many vignettes, so it shouldn't be confidential.

     

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    Ryan NCARB

    Case studies are the not the same as vignettes, so I wouldn't try and think of them in the same context.  I can tell you the number of case studies and case study items vary by exam and by division, but there will always be between 1 and 2 case studies.  Hope this helps.

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    Valentina Gaglio

    Thanks. I tested yesterday and have a much better idea. The one thing I would compare to the vignettes is having an execution strategy. In 4.0 there were entire books on how to, for example, sketch setbacks or make a matrix for the program. On PPD I Made some silly mistakes for lack of strategy/time. Hopefully didn't affect the entire test :)

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    Stephanie Dornbusch de Halfen

    Hi Valentina.  Thank you for your post.  Without divulging any specific information about the test can you tell me what type of strategies would you suggest?

    Thanks!

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    Robert Fehrenbacker

    The question about number of people is still not answered.  I took the PPD test last Wednesday.  Waiting until February for the score is going to kill me. Is there any way to know how many people have taken the test at this time?  How close are we to 600? I wish there was an official counter or some kind of information. I saw a post where people asked this same question because its been a few weeks without an email or anything to let them know where they stand.  It seems like a lack of communication on the part of NCARB. 

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    Ryan NCARB

    Hey Robert...I don't see a question about the number of people testing in this thread.  But that question has been answered HERE. And HERE. And some helpful information HERE.

    If you have taken a division, then you will now start receiving regular emails from us on the progress of each division's cut score process.  I hope it hasn't been a lack of communication on our part, but rather wanting to communicate clear and updated information.  ARE 5.0 has been open less than a month, so we have been waiting for enough information to communicate.

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    Rebecca Phipps

    Most everyone here appear to have positive feedback as opposed to PDD.  Did any of you have computer difficulty with images freezing?  Also, I'm concerned about the legibility of scanned images.  Someone in PDD also commented on this.  Has this been an issue for anyone?  I noticed the site plan in the sample test on the NCARB site was fuzzy for me

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    Matthew Wild (Edited )

    I took PPD today and was pretty disappointed with the new test format. It has lots of potential to be a really great interface (I like the simple graphics, the ability to highlight and strikeout text, and the interactive questions) but where it is at now, I prefer the 4.0 software. The screen goes blank for (on average) between 5-7 seconds after each question while it waits for the next one to load. If it's a text only question, this can be about a 3 second wait. If it's a bigger graphic, it can be up to 10 seconds. Once you start getting into the heavy attachments of case studies it gets even worse. Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm for test takers (see this thread).

    With 120 questions, depending on your ratio of graphical to text questions, this results in 10-14 minutes of your exam being completely wasted on watching a blank screen. Plus, good luck doing a quick review of your answers at the end. If you wanted to do a second pass it would take another 10-14 minutes of wait time. All the while, the only thing being displayed on the screen is the clock counting down. As far as testing methodology goes, definitely an improvement over 4.0. However, I'm personally a little surprised the software was even released to the public at its current level.

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    Layne Hunton

    Matthew, I have to think it could be your test center's computers. Obviously not that there is anything you can do about it, just commenting.

    I experienced something close to yours, except my longest wait time between questions was about 3-5 seconds for the questions with heavy graphical portions.

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    Rebecca Phipps (Edited )

    I'm hoping it's the test centers computers.  I notice that the NCARB test software has this same "LOADING" message.  Would you say the time is about the same?  For those who have not been to this link here it is.  I'd be very curious to know if first time test takers would compare the lag time as the same in the examples.  I could see if you were under stress those few seconds would seem exponential. Still hopeful, but these posts are reason for concern.  (Tried to insert link, but it won't show, check out the NCARB Demonstation Exam link on your home page).

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    Layne Hunton

    On the demo exam (ARE 5.0 Demonstration Exam), I just looked at again, the lag time is about the same as what I experienced.

    3 seconds on image related questions, up to 5 seconds on big case studies. Normal questions were maybe 1 second each?

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    Ryan NCARB

    Hey everyone - 

    Thanks for your feedback on the exam, particularly the delay issues some of you have experienced.  We are looking into this with Prometric and may reach out to some of you individually for further information.

    Layne is correct that it is likely an issue with individual test center's computers or internet connection.  We do not believe that it is an issue with actual software.  ARE 5.0 is delivered over the internet (vs. ARE 4.0 which is housed at each test center), so each time you advance to a new question it is being loaded.  We did extensive testing of this prior to launch, including at multiple test center locations across the country, and also experienced small amounts of latency between questions.  Those delays in time were then accounted for in the overall testing time window.  Right now it doesn't appear to be a widespread issue, but as I said, we are actively looking into it!

    Rebecca, about your concern on the legibility of scanned images -- for all of items we do a pretty extensive check of the images that are used.  Some of those images are scanned, some are photos, and some are digital drawings.  There should not be an legibility issues.  We do not experience any legibility issues when we use/review the Demo Exam.  Could it be a computer issue?  If you do experience any problems in the test center, please let us know, but I wouldn't let that keep you from testing.

    Hope this provides some clarity and we will keep you updated.

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    Rebecca Phipps (Edited )

    Ryan, in response to the legibility, see the demonstration exam  site map, specifically the text for "University Avenue", I had to squint and zoom in and then it still was not clear.  I am not young :) so I'm becoming accustomed to enlarging the text, but it did make me panic when I determined this could be an issue.  I know some images don't scan well and we've had problems in our own documentation with getting reproducible that are clear.  It's getting easier with more electronic documents, but for image clarity I would recommend for the test that images not be scanned but pdf's of electronic files.

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    Matthew Wild

    Ryan,
    Thanks for the explanation and the update about how NCARB is looking into the delay issues. It's good to know this isn't a widespread issue. I am taking my next exam (PDD) in 2 weeks at a different test center and I'm hoping it will be faster. Either way, I'll note the difference. I have passed three 4.0 exams and I will say that time was never really an issue for me on those. On PPD, however, the time was an issue, but this could be attributed to the extra delay at my testing center. I sent an email about it to NCARB's customer service department.

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    Brendan Reilly (Edited )

    I experienced the lag in question time as well. It allowed barely any time for review. I was able to review only 20 questions at the end and a goo chunk of that time was wasted on a blank screen.

     

    Should we be reporting this to NCARB Customer Service? Or is this a broadly known issue that will be taken into account? It seemed like those seconds add up.

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    Valentina Gaglio

    I had a similar lag time issue in the Chicago location for PPD and PDD. It does add up and it is distracting. It wasn't a big issue for the firs 100 questions. During the case studies, some questions require checking drawings and different sources, so the lag time per question is multiplied.

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    Ryan NCARB

    Brendan,

    If you feel the time between items functioned differently than the ARE 5.0 Demonstration Exam, then you are welcome to contact NCARB Customer Service.  However, as I noted above, a small amount of latency between items has been accounted for in the overall testing windows.  Timing, both by item and overall, is tracked on ALL administrations.

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    Daniel Clavijo

    Ryan, Et al.

    The clock does seem to be an issue. Today was my fourth ARE 5.0 Exam and it is very possible that something similar happened before; I felt the countdown go a bit faster than it should but only really noticed it in this case because I really paid attention to the timer after reading these comments these past few days. 
     
    Earlier today I took the ARE 5.0 Project Management Exam there definitely seemed to be an issue with the timing clock of the exam. As I took the exam I raised my hand, told, and showed the issue to one of the staff members of the Prometric exam center. I've also sent an email to NCARB customer service and Prometric.
     
    Unfortunately, there are no clocks in the test room and watches are not allowed, so it is impossible to to accurately state how off the countdown clock on the exam might be but there was a skipping of seconds when going in between questions (often times it seemed to decrease by 4 seconds when it may actually have been 1 or 2). The biggest change however was when I navigated from a Case Study question to the exam summary and then to a regular question. The actual one or two seconds were discounted navigating from Case Study to the exam summary but then when I selected a non-case study question what was really one or two seconds was discounted as 10 seconds. This seemed to happen a few times and mainly after I took a break. 
     
    At the same time I saw that clicking on "next question" sometimes actually made the timer go up by one second. Other times, a second seemed to go much faster than it should. "One one thousand" or "one Mississippi" is not a perfect metric but the seconds did go much quicker than these words could be said. In the long and short, I believe something is awry with the countdown clock and it is mainly disappointing because it keeps you wondering if the time is correct or not and there is no other way to accurately account for it.
     
     
    I hope this issue can be resolved by NCARB and wish to know what may be done to make up for this loss of time. 
     
    As a hopefully positive note/strategy, I do recommend tackling the case study questions first. I like to get the most time consuming part out of the way and some (but definitely not all) of the non-case study questions may be very quick to answer. 
     
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    Nathan Scrivo

    I also felt the LAG... I think the exam is improved with the use of many images but the lag associated was a bit ridiculous!  I did not notice how it affects the timer but I certainly gave up about 15 minutes of review time just waiting for questions to load.  Overall, I like the new format though. 

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    Sharon Rubin (Edited )

    I took the exam this past week and here are my impressions/feedback to NCARB + the community:

    This exam requires a whole lot more reading, which means less time to finish and review all 120 questions. I felt there was a significant increase in the amount of information one had to process/keep in mind/record throughout the exam - which is not inherently a bad thing, but when you factor in the issues of the lag time and that you can't use the keyboard when using the calculator (I'm sorry, but just absolutely aggravating and mind-boggling. It is almost 2017, guys) on top of that, I'm skeptical that NCARB has allotted enough time for the exam. Besides that, I like the direction the exam is going and I hope NCARB can develop updates/improvements on some of those issues - like the calculator and possibly including the option to strike a hot key in order to highlight/strike out text.

    Anyway, hope that's helpful and I'm definitely very curious if there will be any data regarding the cut score/pass rates after it's determined.

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    Rebecca Phipps

    Just took the PPD and thought I'd weigh in. Thanks to everyone's input on the lag time, I took this to heart and used it as a strategy.  Since each question was going to take longer to reload with images, I had to eliminate the reload time and make my first answer final, so I just slowed down.  This version in general warrants a slower pace as there is more information to sift through. I took my break late, which I felt helped as well, but note that the time started up sooner than the 15 minutes allotted by the testing center's clock.  (They made a note of this.)  I did however have time in the end to go over marked questions, was not sure I would, I think the late break helped me to refocus and use the last 45 min more efficiently.

    On case studies the reload starts at page 1 each time, best to remember the page number you need.

    I thought the test was much better all around than the 4.0 versions, but PPD covers so much material it was hard to focus and prioritize study areas.  I just wish that there was better study material for this. I used everything, Kaplan, Ballast, Black Spectacles, MEEB, Fundamentals, I think I would add better structural resources.  Pretty much information overload. Hopefully the burnout factor did not impact my testing. 

    For Ryan NCARB I have one note. One question came up three times, two times they were identical.  Is this something I should report  in on?  I still recall the question at this point.

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    SM (Edited )

    I didn't really experience the lag times that everyone else has been reporting at my test center. It was a tad slower than the 4.0 exams but not so slow that I could count past 1 second. The biggest time wasters were the calculator, and the case study reference material. The best tip for the reference material is to try and use keyword search anywhere you can, this method will snap to the areas your interested in much faster and you may not have to pan or zoom as much which you will quickly realize is incredibly frustrating (this is something I figured out on my second exam and wish I used for PPD).

    That being said I knew about everyone's experiences at the test center with lag times so that was always in the back of my mind. But I always felt in 4.0 that I was under a much stricter time crunch and so when taking this exam I tried to answer questions in the same manner and would mark questions for review and leave some incomplete and circle back to them if i felt they were going to take me more than 1 minute to answer. That way in the exam summary I could answer the incomplete questions first and then questions I marked for review second. And if there was anymore time left over then I would go through all the questions one last time. With this method I never came close to running out of time before I could answer all the questions. I didn't have time to review all the questions but I was able to review everything I marked for review.

    I have been working professionally for over 10 years, and I've taken all the exams in 4.0 at least once and I definitely prefer the 5.0 exam format over 4.0. The vignettes in 4.0 always felt like a gamble as to whether or not you met the expectations of the computer for a passing solution, and the multiple choice I feel like had become so polluted with obscure questions that it didn't really test health, safety, and welfare or any other aspects of architecture that working professionals would deal with on a regular basis. The PPD exam had pieces of the SPD, BDCS, BS exams in 4.0 but much more focused. I felt like the questions definitely related to my real-world experiences which was something that was rare to find on 4.0.

    I hope that helps anyone thinking about transitioning.

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