Took and passed CE this morning. Ended the exam with 1 hour remaining. NCARB did a great job formatting questions to test if the material is understood rather than memorized. Few tips:
I made a week by week plan, per the NCARB Matrix of study materials and areas of focus. I studied for 4 weeks. I felt very prepared. I used the black spectacles and designer hacks tests for practice tests only. Both were a little helpful. I treated each like a real exam in terms of timing how long it took me to answer questions. (although neither could accurately emulate the content )
--I listened to the Hardin lectures every day for the month during my commute.
-- I have several years of GC experience which helped with the construction observation portion. If you don't have the site experience pick up the fundamental of building construction. You are not a builder don't go nuts, as the contracts are the main attraction of this exam. You should, however, have a working knowledge of what makes the assemblies you draw adequate for construction. (connections, materials, thermal and moisture performance)
--My best study tip is to stop yourself periodically and critically thing how the info you just learned may be applied and variations that may arise.
--Anxiety and nerves are ok. It means you care! Breath and be confident. When the test started I blanked out mentally for the first few questions. Few minutes in the dust settled and I was off to the races.
--NCARB provides contracts and administrative forms. Print them out. Learn how to use/read them (G series especially)
--This test is very situational. Read every word and understand the CONTEXT. A single word, or detail in the question can change the answer. The questions are not worded to trick you. They test your ability to apply the information in the contracts, and provide administration.
Good luck. I'm off to PJM/PCM
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