First of all, thank you to everyone in these forums who has been contributing in one way or another to the overall body. I myself have benefited from all comments and have tried to provide as much as I could to others as well. It has been a long process and it is by far the biggest challenge I have encountered professionally. The list of names is long and we all know them by now. (David Kaplan, Kurt, Kevin Griendling.....)
Now I will give my top 3 things to do to pass these AREs
1) become a scientist of the testing process and learn about testing strategies. I over did it here but I noticed that I had some issues with the mindset I went into when testing. I read some good chapters about problem solving, types of problems, and how the brain works to process information. I by default am a fast thinker and for these tests that is exactly what you should not do. You need to let your brain flavor the questions, fight with the answers, and eliminate some possible solutions. Even if you answer it wrong often times as you click next (in my case), my brain would tell me wait a minute that’s not it and I would go back and change my answers.
There is this book called Essentials of Understanding Psychology, chapter 7, Thinking, and Reasoning. It explains a lot about all of the types of problems there are and how to approach them (Each exam is aimed towards one side more than another in my opinion). Arrangement problems, inducing structure problems, and transformation problems.
If you can find this book at your local library, please read page 246 (Preparation: Understanding and Diagnosing Problems). I know this is not the type of tips you would want to hear but if you are anything like me (English is my second language, I tend to over think things or super simplify them both are bad).
In this tip one, I include also using practice tests and deconstructing questions (Designers Hacks helps in this, I did it and once I got a 91 on the long test I knew I was ready). This helps you have the mind set of testing. There is a mindset and mode that I personally need to tap into when testing and preparing. It is a stage of curiosity and spending a lot of hours on a single subject until fully getting it.
These things help you deal with curve balls and when things are not as you expected them you recover quickly. Like if somehow you are asked to calculate something that you would never have to do in the real world but applies the same rules as in the real world. Even though you know the process somehow it doesn't seem right and some people waste time dwelling on this rather than solving the problem given. I am a victim of this.
This topic deals with the mental stage but I would argue that it also relates with the physical stage. Please exercise, sleep well, and eat well. I changed my diet and sleep patterns for my last PDD. I got a bit sick when testing once and promised not to let it happen again. I even went for a run the morning of the exact to keep my active and strong mental stage. I got some gummy pills that help you sleep (They did not help me as my brain would not stop telling me all the clearances and parapet details over and over).
2) Buy all the material recommended and study it. I did it mostly because I love this stuff and I own a practice that is based on research, learning, and education. I also think you need to know this stuff regardless of testing or not. These books are amazing. I learned to navigate through them like a bible, tab them all over, highlighted them everywhere. Also focus on testable content. Even a picture of something that has the caption blah blah. learn what that is and says and be curious.
3) Keep testing even after a fail. I typically would vent in here for a day or 2 and then grab the books and try again. My PDD test was by far a test on my character as much as my commitment, and passion to finally be an architect. It was hard. I started testing in 2016 when my wife was 8 month pregnant of my daughter, I had CE the week after she was born (Passed it in the first round, not sure how). Then finished my last PDD this weekend and my wife is again pregnant and due next month. “You see a pattern here.” It was really hard with 2 kids, another one coming, and a company to run. I could not afford to fail and still did in many attends.
I have failed a lot in many things. It never stops hurting but it makes my passes taste so much sweeter that it lasts me through my next fail.
Thank you all and keep testing. See you on the other side.
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