Managing time between MC & case study questions



  • Avatar
    Theodore Diamond

    The case studies are only around 20% of the test questions and they're not weighted any more heavily than the rest.  The multiple choice is much more critical.  However, you should definitely give yourself at least an hour for case studies.  They're more challenging than the rest.

  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    There are differing opinions, but I liked to do the case studies at the end. They're the most tiring part of the exam, so I liked being able to go through all the other questions first before getting bogged down in the case studies. 

    My approach was to go through the MC as quickly as possible, being generous with flags to mark questions I was unsure of. I probably didn't spend more than 30 seconds on any given question the first time through, and I saved all the math questions (marking them on my paper) to do together before the case studies. After going through the MC, I would go through the case studies and take more time for each question, but tried to limit it to an hour for each case study. I would then take my break, and come back to go through all the flagged questions. This approach worked well for me on all 6 exams, as I had extra time left over on each exam.

    Everyone is different, but I tell people not to get stuck on a question. If you're not sure or if it's taking you a long time, just flag it and move on. Each question is worth the same, and it's important to keep moving to keep from getting frustrated or discouraged due to a specific question or two. 

    The important part for the case studies is knowing where to look for the answer. At the beginning of the case studies, familiarize yourself with the references they give you, but only at a surface level, there's no need to read through all the text (aside from the case study overview) or study each drawing in detail yet. After you have an idea of the project in the case study and what references are there, answer each question and try to be efficient in finding the answer. You'll likely have to reference a couple resources but try to avoid switching back and forth, as they can take a while to load each time (especially with portions of code - use the bookmarks to skip to the specific section you're looking for).
    The case studies are challenging but I think they're very similar to what it's like working in an office (at least it was for me and my work experience), where you have a specific question or two and have to know where to find the answer (drawings, specs, contracts, code, zoning docs, etc). 

    If you haven't already, do the demo exam to see what the format is like and what it's like in the case studies. 

    Hope that helps! I know it's a lot of information, but it's not too bad. The exams are stressful, but I actually enjoyed taking them (aside from the risk of losing $210), with the problem-solving and critical thinking required.

    Good luck!!

  • Avatar
    Michael Lawson

    I'll just add that for the tests I've taken (PcM, PjM, CE, and PA) I make sure I get to the case studies with 1.5 hours left. So far this has given me time to go through the case study items and have around 30 minutes to review after. I agree with a lot of people who say this section is stressful and tiring, so I don't want to start with it. I do start by checking what resources are available to me, and I mark the general multiple choice questions that are relevant to those resources (eg B101 or IBC chapters), but even with ample review time, this doesn't really help. The multiple choice questions do a good job at not relying on resources as long as you know the material well enough. 

  • Avatar
    David Kaplan

    I would agree with 90 minutes being a good time to allot for the case studies.  I found this particularly be the case for PA.  For PPD and PDD, I think a little less time was okay for me. 

  • Avatar
    Michael Smith



    Where could I find additional study prep for Practice Management Case Studies, besides the NCARB Demo Exam?

  • Avatar
    Lily Jumanan

    Hi all, 

    Thank you for your detailed responses! This is really helpful as I try to maneuver through the new format. I greatly appreciate your tips and tricks. 

Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk