Between February 2 and March 8, I took these three divisions and passed. Everyone has different study habits, but if you find that you're overwhelmed by all the resources available and the quantity of material that's out there, consider taking a breath and paring it down. It'll keep you focused. Even in studying, less can be more.
I exclusively used
~ The Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP), 15th Edition. Critical to using the AHPP is "Navigating the ARE with the AHPP, 15th Edition" for each section.
~ Ballast ARE 5.0 books (Review Manual, Practice Problems, and Practice Exams)
~ AIA contracts highlighted in the reference matrix of NCARB's ARE 5.0 Handbook, as well as other contract docs that came up frequently in AHPP
plus, for PcM:
~ NCARB's Model Rules of Conduct
Nothing else. Be sure to download the most recent contract available. NOTE: Keep in mind that Ballast and AHPP reference 2007 contracts; NCARB recently announced that exam content is now based on the more current contracts.
There once was a link for a $20 download of AHPP, but that's now gone. It must not have been legitimate after all. Considering how much I spent on ink to print from the download, in hindsight, I should've just bought the book.
Ballast paints broader strokes than AHPP; therefore, it's more helpful to review Ballast after reviewing AHPP. Think of it as a condensed refresher course on the more lengthy material you just got through.
1. Thoroughly read your selected study material.
2. Do practice problems and read the solutions, even for problems answered correctly.*
3. Take a practice test and read all solutions.*
4. Knowing how long it takes you to get through all of the above, allow the same amount of time, and schedule the test.
5. Thoroughly read the study material again.
6. Do the practice problems/read solutions again.
7. Take the practice test/review solutions again.
* Often in the solutions, material is expanded upon and/or reasons for eliminating certain choices are illuminated. You'll start to recognize that some questions give you more information than needed to answer the question, or that the question itself already indicates some answers that can be excluded right away. In reading the possible answers more closely, you'll find hints as to why they might be excluded or included as a possible answer. Take the time to read the question and understand what is being asked, and you'll improve your practice score.
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