Approximately (2) weeks ago, I passed this exam on the third try. I have been meaning to do a write-up to "pay-it-forward" and as a "thank you" for the help received from this forum. I struggled to pass this exam, having trouble with the breadth of the material, how topics intersect and overlap, and time management within the exam. That being said, here's what I studied as an example of what worked for me:
ARE 5.0 Handbook
- this is your base reference - have it ready to refer to as you read to limit what you do not need to focus on
- the sample questions hew closely to what's on the exam - expect that level of difficulty. Remember that as you study, so you don't review extraneous information.
Building Construction Illustrated, 3rd edition
- wall sections detailing (vapor retarders, flashing, insulation)
- parapet and conditions at grade detailing
- soils and foundation systems
- materials (see the appendix)
Olin's Construction: Principles, Materials, & Methods, 9th edition
- more in-depth focus on materials (metals, wood, and concrete)
- do not focus on material that is overly described or detailed
ARE 5.0 Review Manual (Ballast)
- read the lighting and acoustics chapters to help understand concepts and formulas
Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understand the 2015 International Building Code
- FYI - the 2012 edition was too expensive, so I obtained the 2015 version. It still helped.
- use this in conjunction with a drawing set at work (code analysis sheets, site plans, accessibility)
- This book would also be helpful for PPD
Architecture Graphic Standards, 11th edition
- I used this to fill in gaps in my knowledge - doors and windows, dissimilar metals
- good write-ups on vapor retarders, insulation, r-values, k-values, and u-values
- skip case studies within the book
- paving materials and patterns
- movement joints
ADAAG / ICC A117.1
- maneuvering clearances
- reach ranges
- Type A & Type B unit differences
Jenny's Notes for BDCS (ARE 4.0)
- used this sparingly
- used to fill gaps in knowledge, selected videos played at 2x
- practice exams are helpful, but I did not take more than 50 questions in an sitting just for review
Co-workers and project consultants
- they know things
Architect's Studio Companion: Rules of Thumb for Preliminary Design, 6th edition
- this is a primary resource for PPD, but re-reading the mechanical systems pages is worth it
- read the introductory information for structures and mechanical
FEMA 454, Chapters 4 & 5
- this is a primary resource for PPD, but worth a page-turn
- lateral stability and basic seismic design
The Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice, 11th edition
- project delivery types & cost / budgeting methods
- this is worth a few hours study
Fundamentals of Building Construction, 3rd Edition
- used to supplement topics reviewed in Olin's (listed above)
Focusing on how topics intersect and overlap was critical. Properties of concrete may contribute to a fire rating, which may connect to a specification item, and so on and so forth. Flashing items may have to do with dissimilar materials or be a detailing question. As you read, connect what you're reading with the objectives listed in the ARE 5.0 Handbook and connect the topic with other topics. You should be asking yourself questions like:
- If the owner requests a closer to be added to a door, how does that affect maneuvering clearances?
- How does insulation affect interior air quality? Can extruded polystyrene be used in Type III construction?
Categorizing topics helped in my study. I had overall topics written in my notes such as "Movement Joints". I would then parse them out to include building expansion joints, seismic isolation joints, horizontal expansion joints, and control joints. This would involve looking at two or three study sources and categorizing them simultaneously, so you will know the differences more easily.
I studied no more than 20 hours in a week for five weeks after taking PPD. This is a lot for any working professional, but I managed.
- move quickly - if you know the answer don't mark it for review! This sounds dumb, but I used to mark a lot of questions
- each question is worth (1) point, so don't get bogged down on a calculation that you are 25% sure of the answer
- raise your hand for any computer issue. Let the testing center staff deal with it.
- do the ARE demonstration exam - especially case studies to understand zooming and searching
I hope this helps and thanks again to the contributors of this forum and good luck studying.
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