Major software issues with PDD exam

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    Ryan NCARB

    Darryl,

    If you experienced troubles in the test center then you need to contact NCARB Customer Service.  See pages 16-18 of the ARE 5.0 Guidelines.

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    Darryl Jackson

    Ryan,

    I sent the same message to customer service at ncarb.org. Haven't heard anything from them yet.

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    Ryan NCARB

    Darryl,

    Our offices were closed Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the Thanksgiving holiday.  They were catching up yesterday and will get in touch with you soon.

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    BG

    I had a similar problem. I took Practice Management yesterday. every time I clicked next the page it would take about 4-6 seconds to load up into the next one.

    At one point I went into my test summary and when I clicked to go to a particular question, the screen froze for about a minute and I got an error message, that said error and it had the option to click go back. I clicked to go back and it went back but it took another 10 seconds to load up. I ran out of time to answer 3 questions. I think NCARB should increase the time on these exams. These scenario questions they give now takes a lot of time to answer and find information.

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    Darguin Fortuna

    With Practice management I had the exact same issues but thought it was normal and didnt pay much attention to how long the issues took. As a result I did not finish the exam unfortunately. 

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    BG

    Darguin,

    You should also send an email to ncarb reporting this problem. Every minute on this exam counts.

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    sandeep sopori

    Hi Guys,

     

    Hope you did well. What books or souces did you use for Practice management? I plan to take ARE 5.0 in coming year.

     

    Thanks.

     

    Sandeep

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    BG

    Hi Sandeep,

    I used the new 5.0 Ballast book. and I don't feel that it was enough material covered.

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    Erin Rensink (Edited )

    I was really bummed when I was navigating through the material in the case studies. The reference material took awhile to load, didn't save my spot if I navigated away from a tab, and zoomed in to 300% on graphics if I pressed the little magnifying glass with the plus symbol. What I mean about taking forever to load is looking through a set of graphics I usually can scan through a set of materials quickly if it is a PDF - but here each page had to load individually and if the information that I needed wasn't on that sheet I had to wait for the next one to come up instead of just visually scanning the sheets quickly. Also in the online practice exam I never could get the highlight or strikethrough to work and it was the same on my exam. I only needed it a few times (Chicago unfortunately uses a completely different building code than the IBC so it would have really helped me there.)

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    Darryl Jackson

    Erin...yes, the 300% zoom issue...had that one as well.  Very time consuming glitch.

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    Rebecca Phipps

    Wow! This is making me think twice. I have not switched over from 4.0 yet, but have been studying for 5.0.  Seems like a lot of backpedaling since PPD is so broad and the same exams in 4.0 are more focused.  Any positive experiences out there?  On the fence, but I was hoping to take the exam in a few weeks..

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    Ryan NCARB

    Hey Everyone -

    We talk about some of the latency issues over on THIS thread.  Hope this is helpful.

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    William Callahan

    Rebecca,

    I had decent experiences taking PPD & PDD. I like the format much better than ARE 4.0 exams, and I prefer the case study questions over the 4.0 pass/fail vignettes. I had plenty of time (20-40mins respectively) to review my marked questions at the end of both exams. My advice is simply to test efficiently without allowing yourself to get bogged down on any particular question. Mark questions that require more than 1-2 calculations and save them for last.

    In my opinion, these tests do seem to require more mental stamina. You will likely use the full allotment, but you have full ability to manage your time. Lastly, your job experience in the architectural profession may very well have prepared you for the ARE 5.0 exams better than the ARE 4.0 exams by virtue of analytical ability. 

    Hope this helps!

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    Rebecca Phipps

    William,

    Yes, it helps a lot.  I don't think I can turn back to the 4.0 efficiently at this time, I just needed a glimmer of hope that there are some positive experiences with the change.  I'm hoping that practicing with the demo test will get me used to the lag time so I can strategies how to use that time to my benefit.  I appreciate everyone's input.  Hope to be able to share my experience in  few weeks.

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    Erin Rensink

    Having no vignette was a great experience! That might have outweighed the other issues I had when I tested yesterday. I just scheduled PPD so I hope my second pass at a 5.0 exam goes more smoothly. Good luck Rebecca!

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    Rebecca Phipps

    Thanks Erin and thanks to everyone, great input, much appreciated!

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    Maya Ward-Karet

    I just took my PPD exam and had similar loading issues. When I pressed "next" after completing a question, the screen would either freeze or go blank for anywhere from 2-20 seconds before either refreshing the same question (with my answer), or moving to the next question. Sometimes, the timer would reset, but not always.  I probably lost at least 7 minutes total, but more of an issue was the frustration of having to wait, and not knowing if the questions were being registered correctly.

    I am also very confused as to why the ARE 5.0 Handbook does not include any of the type of questions at the end of the exam, where example situations are given and multiple questions are asked about that scenario.  I remember reading that there might be this type of question in the ARE 5.0 discussions, but since it was not included as an example in the Handbook, I was blind sided by this type of question popping up.  Are there no NCARB practice problems for this format?

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    Ryan NCARB

    Maya,

    As I mentioned above, we are continue to look into any latency issues.

    As for the case studies items at the end of the exam, it is true that a case study is not outlined in the ARE 5.0 Handbook, but case studies have been discussed in lots of places, including here, here, and in the Demo Exam.  Hope this is helpful.

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    Kara Lynne Rowland (Edited )

    I am definitely a fan of the new test format, however, I do think more time needs to be given. There was way too much lag time between loading questions and resource materials.

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    Darryl Jackson

    I am a fan of 5.0 as well, and honestly believe NCARB did a great job with the format.  However, the most consistent comments from those of us that have taken the exam are lag time and the lack of sufficient time allotted for the case study. 

    If the load time issue is indeed a problem with the testing centers, I can't see how that's solved without the exams existing locally at each testing center much like 4.0.

    Provided I passed PDD, I would only have one exam left. What I'm most concerned with is the time allotted for the case studies.  I feel they should be separated out like the vingettes were in 4.0.  Knowing you have 4 hours for questions and 1 hour for case study, I believe would greatly help people better manager their time.  Even though its possible to jump to any part of the exam you want...not knowing the questions or subject matter...that particular option was not a benefit for me.

     

    I have faith that NCARB will figure it all out...I would just love to get my results before Jan...

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    Jennifer Hoppel

    Agreed Darryl, I like the idea of separating the case studies into a separate time segment, like the vignettes were in 4.0.  I also agree that the new 5.0 format is an improvement, but in general time is an issue.  I way under-estimated the amount of time it would take me to dig through the case study material.  Spent way too much time on the first case study without realizing it, and had to rush through the 2nd one, barely looking at the resources.  Will definitely work on better time management when I take PDD on Jan 4th.

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    William Callahan

    I personally like having it all in one section, because I felt more empowered to manage my time. That being said, my strategy was to move aggressively through the questions leading up to the case studies. I highly recommend marking any questions with multi-step calculations for review and skipping forward. Using this strategy, I typically had 20-40 mins to solve/attempt/check any marked questions after completing my case studies.

    As far as the case studies go, I personally did not take breaks for some freakish reason, but I have since come up with a strategy for them. Use the break to your advantage. Read through all the questions of the first case study and check which resources are available, then take your break. This gives you a few minutes of free time to consider where you might find your answers in the available resources. Of course, you cannot write anything down or look at materials while on your break, but you can surely think about the case study and the questions.

    The flexible break is a huge advantage. Imagine if you were able to do this on ARE 4.0 by examining your vignette, then taking a break! :D

    Once you've got a good feel for the time management process and complete the first case study, you can roll into the second one with more confidence and momentum. Hope that helps!

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    Darguin Fortuna

    William,

    Amazing feedback regarding the break. Never thought of it. But indeed it is a little shortcut into using the break as a way to slow down on this very rush time on exam sequence. I have taken two of the exams and for one of them time was very short but for the other one it was just perfect and plenty. So not sure how to evaluate it yet. 

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    William Callahan

    UPDATE: I passed ARE 5.0 PPD and am now just waiting on my score for PDD. I can now validate the feedback I provided regarding format and stand by my other comments. Let me know if you have any questions!

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