PcM thoughts after taking the exam

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    Kirsten Cowan

    P.S. In case it's not obvious, my "architect shoots self in foot" example was meant to be patently ridiculous and shouldn't be taken literally as an example... I've tried to be careful about respecting the confidentiality provisions!

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    Brad Behne

    Thanks Kirsten.  Great information.  I am taking the PcM in a month.  I have lots of reading to do...while balancing a full time job.  I don't think I will be able to get 1-3 hours in every day...but I am trying.  Any other advice?

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    Brad Behne

    I'm trying to be efficient with my studying.  I don't want to waste my time on stuff that won't even be touched on the exam,...any advice on that?

     

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    Kirsten Cowan

    Hmm, I know, I had the same concern. And it's not alleviated by feeling that some of the questions actually tested outside the ARE PcM Objectives. (In my opinion, anyway.) But since you can't predict those and you can't really study for all six divisions at once, my own approach was to: re-read the PcM objectives every time I sat down to study, to figure out what to skim and what needed to really be attended to carefully. Underline everything that seems important and objective-related, and re-read the underlined text at least once. There are chunks of the AHPP that I didn't look at, based on Kevin G's table of contents, which did save some time, and I cross-checked that with my own list of chapter headings that corresponded to each phrase of the objectives.

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    Randall Hunter

    Congrats on the Pass Kirsten! I just wanted to ask, you were not able to type in numbers on the calculator? I heard this was the case maybe waaay back when 5.0 was rolled out but on every exam I've taken I've been able to use the number pad on the keyboard for the onscreen calculator...I've been testing in 5.0 since June.

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    Emily Mader-Holvick

    Thank you for the info! I am worried about the financial portion of this exam. Did you feel the exam went in depth into the performance indicator calculations and the finance calculations?

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Kirsten,

    Congrats on your passing score!  Glad the NCARB videos were helpful.  Here's a link to the ARE 5.0 video series so everyone else can find it easily.

    I want to respond to a few of your comments.  Like Randall mentioned, the onscreen calculator does accept keyboard input.  I just verified that myself to confirm.  You can try that out in the demo exam before your next test.  As far as Prometric passing out calculators to other test-takers - keep in mind that Prometric offers exams for many different organizations, which could all have different security requirements.

    I'm sorry to hear about the conversation you had with the Prometric TCA prior to your test.  You should absolutely raise your hand during the exam if you're having technical difficulties.  Regarding your other comments on case study reference materials - know that we are continually working with our partner vendors to improve the testing experience.  We always need to balance the security of the exam against other factors, so no, it is not possible to download the various references onto Prometric computers.  The time it takes materials to load is built into the overall time of the exam, and we encourage test-takers to use the bookmarks and search features within each reference.

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    Joseph Osborn

    Hi Michelle,

    Can you elaborate on the time it takes materials to load being built into the exam?  I had an incident with my exam loading site plans.  While taking a recent 5.0 exam, I had site plans that took a long time to load.  I stood up to track down a prometric employee by raising my hand, the whole time I waited for them to come in the room the site plans where still loading!  Not to mention I had to wait the same exact amount of time EACH time I came back to the site plans for information. I can't imagine that this is "built in".  not to mention the undue stress it causes.  

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Joseph,

    Since ARE 5.0 is a web-based exam, the information you see needs to load when you advance to a new page - just like on a website.  One big difference, of course, is that for security reasons we can't cache information from one page to the next.  That's why the plans needed to reload for each new question on your test.

    We were aware of this when we switched to this type of exam delivery, so this loading time was one of the factors taken into account when we set the testing time for each division.

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    Steven Tenzel

    Kirsten, congratulations and thank you for the insight.

    Brad, and others trying to narrow down the breadth of study info, I can't say for sure because I have no more information than the next hopeful test-taker, but I don't think that's entirely possible.  I have a couple things to base this on:

    I have only taken 3 different ARE 4.0 exams, and just transitioned to 5.0 for PPD & PDD, but I have read a lot of comments and questions like this on the forums.  I can say that ALL of my exams have had multiple questions that were not within their specific study materials.  I am pretty convinced I failed my first exam because there were enough of those questions of other topics and I had only studied for the one exam to that point.

    My next inferences are from a podcast I listened to hoping for inspiration while studying.  The AIAS President who hadn't yet worked in an architecture firm but did have A LOT of Architecture knowledge from his position with AIAS, had just graduated from grad school the year before (had the pros of still being within his study groove, but the cons of no real world experience), and decided to take the 7 4.0 exams in 7 days!  He studied for 7 weeks, but he also had all study materials at his disposal from his office.  Against all odds and realistic expectations he passed all 7!  Now, after we all get over our envy, my takeaway is to study for my final two exams together and to not wait too long from now after having just taken PPP and CDS...

    I'm sure it's possible to do it another way, but in an attempt to not be caught off-guard by questions I have no idea about I'll try covering more material (like Kirsten's skimming vs. thoroughly reading suggestion) it'll give me a greater understanding overall.  Sorry for the rambling, but I hope this helps some others out there.  Good luck all!

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    Andrea Aguiar

    Hi Kristen! Congrats on passing the exam!

    I'm taking it in 4 weeks, I'm following Kevin G's chapter outline but I was wondering if you could share your outline as well? I'm also using Amber Book videos and Schriff Hardin lectures. I have heard mix feelings about Ballast but seems it worked well for you! 

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

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