Project Management Second Fail - Looking For Advice



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    No shame in failing, when these exams first unveiled I took all of them and didn't pass one! They're tough- not so much the questions but the quantity of and quality off the questions given plus the daunting case studies at the end when your head is already pounding after answering 80 or 90+ questions. My recommendation for PJM- start the exam by warming up with 10 questions at the beginning, then jump to the case studies with a fresh mind, since the case studies are always more time consuming than the regular questions (mostly). Then go back and finish the test skipping over any calculation or fill in the blank questions and flag the 'un sure' questions. When you reach the end you'll probably have an hour left to answer the calculations and thumb through the flagged ones as well. This worked for me and it's the way I will approach the beast that kicked me down PDD ! (next time around). Stick with it!

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    Derek Mason

    I just go my result back and I failed. 

    I agree that it was a tough test. I flagged a lot of questions and spent a good amount of time reviewing them. There were more math questions then I thought would be. 

    Taylor, I used most of the study materials you listed and spent lots of hours going over them. Again, it was the math that got me. So that's where I'm weak. 

    I'm going to schedule a retake as soon as I can.

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    Austin Fox


    As RJ said, there is no shame in failing. I've failed every exam of the ARE 5.0 at least once. I failed my first four attempts back to back! I ended up passing CE-PJM-PCM afterward, I'm currently tackling PA-PPD-PDD(PA retake next week). My advice goes back to the contracts and understands who is responsible for what. Study for this exam with CE as the information overlaps.

    Don't look at how far you have to go, look at how far you've come. I'm right there with ya, you're not the only one. If need be, take a couple of days to clear the mind and then come back even stronger. If you have any questions or curious how I passed, just let me know!


    Best of luck!- Austin Fox.

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    Derek Wendt (Edited )

    What did your score report say on content areas you need to work on? Were they the same areas as your first fail? I got Level 3s on Contracts and Work Plan. I decided to try again in 60 days (end of May or June) but wanted to keep the momentum to take another ARE. I did CE last week and passed- I worked my butt off on contracts, contracts, contracts. I asked a couple of CA questions in office to hear some real world experiences. Hopefully this would prep me for PjM.

    Also, I noticed you didn’t mention Schiff-Hardin lectures- I’ve been brushing that advice for years until studying for CE. I’d have to say that everyone’s advices were right- Michael Hanahan helped a lot! Just listen to his contracts sessions and he’ll walk through almost EVERY provisions in A201 and B101.

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    Taylor Hohertz

    Thank you guys for the insight!

    RJ - I will try that next time. I thought that this time around I did a better job of managing my time (I had about 45 min. left to review questions). The only thing is that I did get caught up in spending too much time trying to think about the right answer for the regular questions. I think I moved too fast through the case studies so that I could go back and review the others, which in hindsight might not have been a good idea. Good luck on PPD!

    Derek M. - I agree that the math questions can be a bit strenuous. I'm glad that I took some Construction Management classes back in school, which helped with those sudden conversion questions like yards, acres, and so forth. But at the end of the day they take up too much time (in my opinion) for the time we are given to complete the test. Good luck next time! 

    Austin - I'm going to start studying for CE within the next day of so. I've heard that CE and PjM overlap, so maybe going a bit in-depth with this next test will help when I retake PjM. I spent a bit of time going over contracts when I took PcM back in October, but I think that I didn't do myself a favor by not going back through them like I should have for this test. And yes, I'm not going to let this get in the way of how far I've come (even though for me one pass seems a far way off). I'll keep trying again until I get there! I might take you up on reaching out for some advice on future tests.

    Derek W. - I haven't gotten my official score report yet. I read from my provisional feedback that i most likely failed, which is the same feedback that I received from the last time that I failed PjM. According to NCARB the provisional feedback is an accurate representation of whether you passed or not. I will definitely be checking to see when my score report comes in so that I can compare them. I'm hoping that this time I did better (which would be progress, at least) so that I can brush up on the sections that need more attention. I have listened to the SH lectures before but not this time around (as I remarked to Austin, I should have probably spent more time on them instead of assuming that I remembered them from PcM). Congrats on passing CE! I think I will progess to that one next and see if I can get another pass! Hopefully afterward I will be more prepared for this re-take. If you are able to, let me know how your re-take goes and what you thought.

    Thanks again for the support and insight guys! I really appreciate it!

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    Ruth Brooks

    Hey Taylor! I'm very sorry to heard you failed PjM again. I know how bad it feels to fail an exam. I passed PcM on my first try but failed PjM afterwards and it was tough getting back into studying and convincing myself that I was capable of doing it. But I was and I passed PjM this past Saturday on the second try! And you are capable as well! Just like others have said, you are not alone in this struggle. Don't give up!

    Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice was my main source for studying this time around, something I didn't use as much on the first attempt at PjM, and I must say it makes a world of difference! Yes it's a lot to read but it goes into a lot of detail that you just don't get from some of the sources you listed. And don't skip the little gray blurbs!

    Also like others have previously mentioned, Schiff Hardin lectures really are helpful! Plus you can listen to them while doing something else. I mostly listened to them while driving b/c I'm usually in the car for a couple of hours at a time almost ev weekend so I was like might as well use my time wisely!

    Anyways, just wanted to encourage you not to give up! You got this!

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