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9 comments

  • Avatar
    David Kaplan

    Rodney,

    This is my personal opinion only - take it or leave it.  Hopefully there are others out there who may be in the same situation as you that have had success.  My personal opinion: I can't imagine taking these 5.0 exams as a 2nd year architectural student with no experience at all.  So much of these tests deals with what we do every day as an architect, and unless you've actually done some of that work before, man, I can't even imagine sitting for these tests.

    Again - my sole opinion.  Don't mean to discourage you necessarily (and yeah, I get that my opinion is discouraging), but you asked.  That's my opinion.  I hope that I'm in the minority and in fact there ARE others out there who have successfully taken these tests without experience while still in school.  I might be totally surprised here.

  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    Hi Rodney, 

    Are you still in school? Not sure if that's what you mean by saying that you're in second year going into third year. If so, you can't take any exams until you've graduated with a professional degree. You should be able to see that when you log into my.ncarb.org if I remember correctly.

    If you are eligible to take the exams, I'd suggest starting by reading the ARE Handbook and figure out what content you feel most comfortable with given your experience. With the 5.0 exams I think it's a big benefit to have experience in each area before sitting for that exam, but it's not a requirement. 

    If, after reading through the ARE Handbook, you don't feel too confident in any specific exam content, I might suggest starting with Practice Management or Project Management. These exams are a little more straightforward in what they cover and a lot of people start with these (I started with PDD and PPD since I have more experience in CDs and detailing). 

    Once you decide which exam to take, I'd suggest reading through all (or a lot) of the posts on this forum from people who passed. There's a good amount of post-exam posts where people share what they studied, how long they studied, the important things to know, etc. I found this to be extremely beneficial when coming up with a game plan for each of the exams - I would spend a day or two just reading through everything that was posted on this forum and figure out a study plan. This forum is a great resource full of people who are willing to help and share their perspectives. 

    Programming and Analysis isn't a bad exam to start with, but I've seen a lot of people say they've run out of time with this exam. If you're not a fast test-taker this may be a challenge, since getting used to these exams can be a process. Definitely take the practice exam that NCARB has when you login, but this sample can only give you a limited amount of what you'll experience going to a test center and taking a full-length exam.

    Hope that's helpful! Passing these exams is certainly a process but it's worthwhile - you'll learn a lot and become a stronger professional coming out the other side. And again, use this forum as a resource to learn from others and share your advice as you move along. 

    Good luck!

  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    I agree with David as well (I think I always do whenever I see him post or comment - it's good advice). 

    If you can take an exam while in school, I don't know that it's a good idea... I think PA, PPD, and PDD are the hardest ones to pass without experience in these areas. PcM, PjM, and CE may be feasible (CE less so) if you can get a good understanding just by reading contracts and other information about office and project management. 

  • Avatar
    rodney yasmeh

    I do have the experience I'm working almost +700 H, commercial like the hospitals, church and ... but I don't know its enough or no 

    I could take it I'm in the ipal program, its new I could take the exam during my school

    thank you so much for sharing ur information and your opinion  

  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    Ah, I understand. Yeah when I graduated my school was starting the IPAL program and my firm had an IPAL student working with us for a while. 

    I think reading the ARE Handbook will be a good start to helping you understand if you feel comfortable starting with an exam. You could also consider getting a practice exam or practice questions from a third party, and test yourself that way to see what you know. DesignerHacks is an inexpensive source for simple questions. They're not to the level of detail that you'll see for the actual exam, but they cover the same content. Ballast also has practice exams which seem a little harder than the actual exams (I was getting about 60% right but passing the actual exams when taking PcM and PjM). I know there are others out there but those are the only two I've personally used. I did try Architect Exam Prep but wasn't very impressed with their content for PDD and PPD.

  • Avatar
    rodney yasmeh

    Scott Barber may I have to ask you one more question which book and you recommend buying for practice? 

    by the way thank you so much for your helped 

  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    No problem Rodney, happy to help however I can! If you're looking for a book for practice problems, I might consider the Ballast practice problems book. But I would look around for other advice too - I didn't use this very much and don't have a very broad level of experience with the practice problems.

    It might be worthwhile to create another post asking about the best resource for practice questions, to get input from others on this forum. I know some people have more experience with practice exams and questions than I do.

  • Avatar
    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Rodney,

    Talk with the IPAL Advisor at your school.  They should be able to give you advice based on your work experience, and possibly how the different ARE divisions align with your school curriculum.

    Are other IPAL students at your school starting to test, too?  Forming a study group with your peers, or recent IPAL graduates in your area, might be really helpful.  Good luck!

  • Avatar
    David Kaplan

    Rodney,

    I just wanted to chime in here again and said that now that I see the string of responses you're getting - take my reply with a grain of salt.  I wasn't aware of the IPAL thing or any of this really. 

    Where I'm coming from, I took these 5.0 tests with 13+ years of experience under my belt.  I felt sitting for these tests that my work experience really came through for me.  If I got to questions where the information was not something that I had studied, I had dealt with it in the real world, and that really really helped out a ton.  I personally don't think that I would have done very well on these tests without my work experience.  But, that's just me.

    The advice above is very good - look through the exam content and see if there's a test or two that might align with information that you feel comfortable with. 

    Best of luck!

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