Practice Exam for PcM

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8 comments

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    Brian Chanda

    Hi Sanaz,

    I bought the Designer Hacks bundle and it has worked out pretty well for me so far. It gets kinda repetitive and questions are great with understanding concepts. I am also studying from Ballast Practice Exams.

    Always looking for more too so I can be ready for this exam!

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    Sanaz Ghahani

    Thanks! Brian for your response. I am studying Brightwood manual and their practice exams. 

    How many questions do they have in Designer Hacks bundle? Brightwood practice test is 95 questions.

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    Scott Barber

    Design Hacks has "3 exams worth of questions" so they should have 185 questions for PcM. 

    I bought the entire Designer Hacks bundle around a holiday (they usually have a 10 or 15% off coupon around major holidays, plus a discount for buying them all) and used it for all 6 exams. It's a great tool for the price, but don't expect it to be identical to the exam. It helps you identify your weak areas and stay fresh for all the content, but it doesn't have the different types of questions you'll see on the actual exam (although I don't think many practice exams are identical in that regard).
    As Brian mentioned, the Designer Hacks exams can be repetitive - but I didn't think that was a bad thing. I mostly did the 10 and 25 question quizzes when I had a few minutes to spare, and it helped me stay on top of the different material. I don't think I ever did the full 95 question exam, but I'm sure I got through all the questions several times. 

    I also used the Ballast practice exam and practice questions, which was helpful to a degree but ultimately they test you on their material, so take it with a grain of salt. It seems most people think they're harder and that was my experience as well, which I think was a good thing. I was probably getting 50-65% on the Ballast practice exams the week before I passed the actual exam.

    Ultimately, I'd suggest not relying on practice exams/questions too heavily. They're a good tool but not necessarily a perfect indicator of your knowledge. I used them to help identify any weak areas primarily, and then at the end when I was losing steam to keep reading. 

    Also: make sure that you understand each question if you get it wrong (and make sure they're giving the right answer!). I liked Designer Hacks a lot because they gave an explanation for the right answer. Ballast was incorrect on a couple answers so that made me a little more nervous to trust their practice exams.

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    Sanaz Ghahani

    Cool suggestions. Thanks

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    Michael Lawson

    I'll add that I have used the Black Spectacles practice exams and liked them. They're hard, but not in the same way that the real test is hard. As Scott said, you don't want to rely on them, but let it guide your efforts. I scored in the 70-80% range on the BS practice exams before passing each of PcM, PjM, and CE. 

    I also used Design Hacks (the 25 question version) and the Handbook example questions. The most helpful thing for me was getting a question wrong that I had put a lot of thought into, and having the correct answer explained. This way, I could remember the correct answer more easily, while connecting the correct line of reasoning. 

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    Sanaz Ghahani

    Do we need to memorize all the AIA contracts names and numbers? I see sample questions like this and was wondering if it was required for the exam. Thanks

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    Michael Lawson

    I would say you don't need to memorize each and every one, but it does help to identify ones that are important. For PcM that may be more focused on the B101, but when you study for PjM or CE, you'll see more discussion about Design Build, or Change Orders, and many other important contract documents. Even then, you might not have to recite what a contract's number is, rather, how to apply the given document's information to a situation.

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    Samuel Blythe
    I just wanted to let off some steam about my PcM fail.  I received 95% on my last designer hacks PcM 80 question mock exam. I really loved using the software and taking the quizzes showed me where my weaknesses were and helped me to study material further. I was using the Ballast review manual as my main study resource, and it was very easy to see how the designer hacks question content linked up to the review manual and the ARE 5.0 handbook. I studied relatively thoroughly and I was confident before I took PcM.  What was even more bizarre was that I was confident that I passed the exam after I took it.  This made it devastating to find out that I failed.
     
    I couldn't blame designer hacks, and it wouldn't make me happier to get my $40 back. But I would like to say, in my opinion the questions on the software were NOTHING like the actual exam.  And honestly I don't know how they could have been because the exam questions were so out of this world.  I haven't ever taken an exam like this before and was totally blind sided. The hardest part about this is that I don't know where to go from here because I was so sure that I passed! But lots of people do pass so it cant be impossible.
     
    I feel like the answers to the designer hacks questions are the subjects to broad concepts that you should know backwards and forwards. In addition to those, I think knowing CONCEPTS in the contracts & NCARB code of conduct/ AIA code of ethics are vital to having a chance at this exam.
     
    Any thoughts?

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