I took my first exam yesterday and passed!
I got my license in the UK in 2013, the professional licensing exam over there is very different, but has the same goals of protecting the health & safety and welfare of the public, and testing core competency. I moved to the US two years ago and have been working for a large company in Chicago ever since.
I had studied for about two months in advance - usually 40 minutes on the train twice a day during the week, then pretty much all day every Sunday. Main study material was the main AIA contracts, and material available from the AIA and NCARB, the AHPP, the Brightwood book, and the Ballast practice problems/ exam (i have a copy of the ballast 4.0 book, but i have not opened it up). The Brightwood book was great, easy to understand, but being able to score highly on the quizzes has very little to do with the difficulty of the exam questions. Best resources were the AHPP chapters, and the Ballast exam/problems. Having already gone through the process in the UK most of the concepts, language and legal/contractual issues were familiar (this is a former colony after all ), but I also had to unlearn some things that are specific to the UK.
I have to say, the exam was difficult, and byt the time i got to the end with three minutes to spare (without reviewing any flagged questions) and felt like a likely fail.. I went into the exam knowing that a fail would just be good preparation for re-testing, which thankfully I do not have to contend with.
The exam in the UK is VERY different, and from my current perspective a more realistic replication of the type of challenges an architect may typically face. I wont go into it too much, the Part III (Part I being the undergraduate degree, II the graduate degree, and III being the experience/exam in NCARB speak) but its a three day open book exam followed by submission of an analytical case study of a real project you have worked on, plus detailed log sheets of your intern hours, plus a critical self evaluation essay, rounded off by an interview with a board.
By 'open book', I mean you have available all the resources a normally practicing architect would have... books, standards, guides, internet - you just cant confer with a colleague etc! Questions are generally in the form of an email or letter from a contractor client or other and you have to compose an appropriate response.
I think both approaches ultimately achieve their goal, but its just interesting to note some of the differences. Planning on sitting PjM in maybe 6 weeks - I hear there is significant overlap in the material. Good luck to everyone else on this.
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