PA Fail, some advice



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    Ryan Lewis (Edited )

    Wow, I cannot relate more to what you said. I took PA in October and failed. Prometric shut down for 2 hours in the middle of my exam and I swear I actually lost about 20 min of time between leaving the testing room and getting back in it afterwards. I had the report from Prometric saying that I lost time but NCARB didnt care about that either, I was just kept getting pushed around to different people and having to explain the situation over and over until a manager finally said sorry that is just how it is going to be. I was quite mad too and it took me about a month to start up studying again.

    Again like you I had way more soil questions than I thought, I just got SPaD too. The historical question kinda hit me hard too. I just didnt study that info enough though.

    I used Sun Wind Light and I felt that helped me alot in general.

    The case studies kinda got me though and the time killer that they are. 

    Anyway I hope to retake shortly after the holidays. Studying when I can now and I will do a 2 week cram after New Years.

    Anyway Good Luck

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    Theodore Diamond

    A heads up about long shut downs during exams.  I took PA about a year ago and there was a nationwide NCARB crash.  After 30 minutes, Prometric told me that I could reschedule without charge.  In this instance, NCARB also provided a free seat.

    In terms of what to study for PA, don't focus too much on soils.  It's a minor part of the exam.  The best study materials I found for PA were ARE 3.1 PreDesign items.  The exams are really similar (except predesign has contracts), but PreDesign was a little more clearly explained (these materials are cheap or free, because they're so old).

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    Elif Bayram

    Hi Sylvia,

    I am gonna take PA in a week too and I agree about your comments regarding soil types etc. and I was also having hard time to find a good source regarding. I read SPDH but still didn't feel prepared. Recently I have read another book from the ARE Matrix called "Site Engineering for Landscape Architects", I think it was really good at explaining soils, storm run-off, topography, etc. I strongly recommend, it has a much simpler and easy language compared to SPDH. And I just started to scan through "Building Construction Illustrated" which looks like another good read for PA, so I will try my best to read as much as possible before my exam. Besides if I pass this I will take PPD and PDD so I think that is gonna be great study for both of them anyway. 

    Good luck to us all and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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    Isaac Ocasio

    Hi Sylvia, sorry to hear that you had such a rough time with the exam. I took and failed PA back in August. It was pretty upsetting because I scored level 2 in three areas (environmental conditions, site analysis & programming, and building analysis & programming), and then scored a level 3 in code and regulation. I have 4 years experience working at my current firm and thought I had a pretty good grasp on code and regulations. To study for that particular exam, I only used the Brightwood/Kaplan study book for PA. I have 3 exams left, PA, PPD and PDD. I plan to retake PA here in the next couple weeks. Hang in there, these exams are not made to be easy. Just keep pushing forward and try to stay positive. Good luck!

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    Yi Li

    Hi Sylvia, 


    sorry to hear that you fail. I was wondering for soil, how much detail do we need to know? is the material covered in SIte Planning Book enough? 



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