A swing and a miss - round two



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    I haven't taken the test but when you said questions are not in the materials you studied, I think maybe you need some other, or more study materials. Try look at what other people are using and forget the price.... Just my thought. 

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    Brian Chanda

    What study materials did you use to study?

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    Osman Bilger

    All you need for this exam is AHPP. Id reccomend shelling out 30 bucks for the designer hacks questions too. WOnt be as detailed as the exam, but learning the content will help you apply your knowledge.


    Then use this to narrow your studies. Good luck



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    Ashley Kopetzky


    Shiff Harden Lectures

    Contracts: A101, B201, C401

    Black Spectacles (took the test three times, listened to all of the lectures)

    Brightwood book 

    I did this all twice - studied for 4 weeks for the same test for PcM at about 12-15 hours a week,

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    Brian Chanda

    Interesting... I’m taking this exam on the 16th. I’ve also been studying those things too. I also supplemented my studies with the YA Academt PcM 101 videos and the contracts. I’ll be curious to see. What practice exams did you study?

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    Norberto Loianno


    I could not agree more with your statements.

    I have over 30 years of experience in this field of beloved Architecture, hold a Foreign License, did put together a considerable amount of buildings, and so far, I failed twice to pass these exams.

    So.... I don't think experience really matters... in fact I heard many times, in this forum and other places, that you should not think in the same way you work in the real world.

    I don't think these exams are a good way to measure your ability to resolve the day to day problems and challenges.

    Nobody, in real life, has to resolve ANY issue in 2 minutes or 30 minutes for that matter. In fact, I think it would be irresponsible to do so.

    I hoped 5.0 would address the big gap between exam and real practice that was so obvious in 4.0 but unfortunately it's not the case.

    Just be persistent, stay firmly in the course of action in spite of difficulty :)

    Wish you well



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    Victor Erwin (Edited )

    I just failed PcM last Monday. I very much agree with you that the exam questions seem to be on material other than what was studied. Admittedly, I started studying too late, but expected to at least be familiar with the material even if I couldn't remember the nuances enough to pass. Not the case. 

    > Black Spectacles (took the test three times, listened to all of the lectures)

    For PcM, I too used BS. I didn't find it to be relevant to the exam at all. 

    I've started studying for PjM and am going straight AHPP using NCARBs 5.0 PDF and the Wiley PDF which references what areas in the book correlate to the exam areas. 

    I've found no practice exams that seem anywhere near as difficult as the actual exams. Completely different animals. 


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    Danielle Kelly

    This was the first exam I took and I completely bombed it the first time.  The test anxiety really got to me and the only thing I studied was the Ballast Review manual. After dusting myself off, having a few drinks, and getting over it, I studied this forum to get others suggestions. Below is the list of materials I decided to use :)

    AAHP (main resource)

    Ballast practice problems and practice exam

    Shiff Harden Lectures

    AIA Contracts

    Law for Architects (Easy read, cheap and good review)

    Professional Practice (Easy read, cheap and good review)

    Good Luck!

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    Karin Bell

    As others have said, the AHPP was all I truly believe was needed for this exam. I used the Ballast Review Manual as an introduction/refresher, but I poured over the AHPP (at least 10 hours), took detailed notes by hand, typed them up, formulated them into questions and definitions, and used QUIZLET (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) to make my own flashcards and learn the content. Quizlet has an AWESOME built in learning-method that will truly help you learn the material. This was great for things that just straight up needed to be memorized - project delivery methods, contract rules, etc. I would keep the FREE designer hacks questions up on my desktop at work and answer a question here or there, I took BS exams every few weeks, and invested in Pluralsight for their videos and practice questions (their videos are INFINITELY more useful than BS - BS's videos were useless to me). I also recommend Young Architect academy's material on contracts. I just listened to the free 2017 comparative and read the contracts for myself (and made flashcards), but they have a new full course that I may invest in for PjM.

    What I find is that I need repetition. I am NOT an auditory learner, so honestly I only listened to two Schiff Hardin lectures (Contract Law and Contract Interpretation) before realizing that this just wasn't for me. Unfortunately, that meant I had to do a lot more work. But I realized that by the time I read the book, wrote notes, typed them, and then typed them into flashcards... well, I knew the material by then. 

    I also made it a challenge to start seeing this stuff in the workplace. I asked my boss how we as a firm bill consultants, if we have a business plan, how they calculated billing rates, and I read through the contracts for the projects that I'm working on at the moment. I have 2 years of experience and manage a fairly complex renovation project, so I will admit that having already dealt with the owner and contractor and having to think about liability did indeed help me on the test. So start looking out for that sort of stuff at work!

    I really hope some of this helps. You can do it, and please don't give up! Figure out what works for you, because we're ALL different. 

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    Jingyu Lee

    One suggestion I like to make is to take different test. PcM is hard exam to pass (50% pass rate). PjM and CE has ~60% pass rate, suggesting it is an easy exam...

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    Stepan Andreasian

    Karin Bell, Would you mind sharing notes you have written?

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