PA Fail



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    Derek Mason


    I failed the PA exam too. Actually, 3 times. The first time I took it, it was my first 5.0 exam (I took CDS, passed and transitioned over) and was taken aback by the questions and case studies. I just about ran out of time. I took it again and felt I knew the material and was better prepared for it. Nope. The 3rd time I felt stronger and prepared. I felt that I didn't ace it, but did well enough. I got the "likely fail"notice at the end. Just like you, very deflated and defeated. 

    Some of the questions were repeats and I was better prepared for them, some I just couldn't. I know one of the drag and drop site question I screwed up on. Don't know if I got it right the first two times or not, but I didn't provide the line of sight it asked for. I know that is a fail for the question. I realized it after the test. Read the question and provide what it asks for. Don't over think. 

    I am pushing forward and will take a different re-take next month, then other exams. I think the PA will now be my last exam I take. Although I want to take it again right now while information is fresh in my mind. I read on this form that some cross over information is in the PPD and PDD for the PA. 


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    Monica Ximena Gutierrez Lopez

    Hi Danielle, 

    Did you have any luck with the Amber videos?  I want to subscribe but have had trouble getting any response from them.  

    Good luck with your PA retake! I read on another NCARB post that reading the Site Planning and Design Handbook was very useful so I'm off to do that!


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    Danielle Sturman

    Hi Monica!

    I have decided to take a break for the summer so I have not tried the Amber videos yet. I am still trying to figure out if they are something I want to spend the money on but that is interesting that you are having trouble getting a response from them. 

    Let me know if you do get a subscription and what you think about it! 



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    Monica Ximena Gutierrez Lopez

    Will do Danielle.  Enjoy your summer!

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    Osman Bilger

    I purchased a month subscription for Amber. Not useful for PA at all. The most important takeaway I got for PA, which was site analysis, could easily be learned from the site planning and design handbook. To that point I do suspect it will be very helpful for PPD, PDD due to the in depth explanation of systems.

    Others on this board have reported studying for PPD and PDD and then taking PA. I believe the content of these exams will help reinforce the concepts of analysis required at the programming stage of a project. 


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    Monica Ximena Gutierrez Lopez

    Thank you Osman,

    That's useful insight.  I think you may be right about Amber being most helpful for PPD and PDD.  I have the PA scheduled for next week so I'm just going to go for it and if I fail I'll take your advice and re-take it after PPD and PDD.  For now I'll stick to reading the Site Planning and Design Handbook.

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    Monica Ximena Gutierrez Lopez


    do you recommend giving priority to any specific chapters in the Site planning book? My exam is 1 week away.

    Thanks again for your input.

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