Long time follower - first time poster.
I started my ARE journey in June 2016. After not being able to complete all 7 ARE 4.0 divisions in time before the transition (the only thing that held me back was the BDCS - roof vignette) - I forcefully transitioned to 5.0. I was able to pass PPD first time around; However, PDD took 2 attempts and after 7 fails in total(ARE 4.0 and 5.0) - here I am - glad to be finally done with all AREs.
I found out I was pregnant in August 2018 and was determined to finish the last 2 AREs before the baby comes this May. I attempted PPD when I was 10 weeks along and passed on first try; PDD first failed attempt at 13 weeks, second failed attempt at 27 weeks and now final successful attempt of PDD at 35 weeks of pregnancy. I switched study strategies and joined YA Bootcamp after 2 failed PDD attempts. Micheal Riscica went out of his way in accommodating me into his program last minute and in getting me to the finish line before my due date. I put in close to 200 hours in the last 3 months - Thanks to Michael and YA Bootcamp for teaching me how to study!
Few lessons learned along the way:
- There is no perfect catch-all study material provider. You will need to cross-reference multiple study materials to cover all bases.
- YA Bootcamp is money well spent! - Not just for AREs, but in general to learn how to organize and manage time efficiently.
- Ben Norkin's Hyperfine course for PPD/PDD and Amber videos are other resources that I highly recommend. My advice is to not sign up for Amber videos until you know the big-picture content of the exam - the material is really worth only after you have know the basics well.
- Utilize and exhaust all the free resources out there first before paying for additional materials.
- Studying for PPD and PDD together worked but taking them close together did not work for me. In my opinion they are two different exams and 4 divisions of ARE 4.0 squeezed into 2 ARE 5.0 divisions and demand varying levels of energy and attention.
- Always report testing issues/software glitches/anything slightly off in test taking experience to NCARB: even if they don't provide solutions or do anything about it.
- All ARE 3.0 and 4.0 NCARB handbook/study guides and vignettes is useful and relevant for 5.0 tests.
- Michael Riscica and Ben Norkin are great mentors. Be sure to reach out to them if you are struggling.
- Lastly, It is absolutely okay to FAIL.
- Search function, Control+ and Control - for zooming and basic browser functions works for case study but be sure to practice this on the demonstration exam in your NCARB account.
- Practice rotate tool as well along with browser functions in the NCARB 5.0 demo exam.
- For questions with calculations, use practice questions from Designer hacks to be mindful of rounding the values up/down/nearest/tenth/hundredth numbers.
- Know that you can still pass if you run of out time and do not finish the exam.
- Study and practice the formulas in reference section provided by NCARB.
- Review IBC excerpts(know which chapters are provided) in the case study before starting to attempt multiple choice.
Study materials/prep-providers I used:
- YA bootcamp (intense 10 week program)
- Amber seminar (1 month only)
- Hyperfine coursework
- Designer hacks and free questions/cheatsheets from Designer Masterclass
- Architect Exam Prep
- Ballast & Kaplan 4.0
- NCARB matrix references (BCI, Codes Illustrated, AGS, ASC)
- ARE facebook group
- Jenny's 4.0 notes
- Thaddeus course
- Grant Adams free lecture videos on materials and construction
- NCARB's ARE 5.0 community.
- Black spectacles (1 month only) : recommend for practice questions only
Code sections that I familiarized myself with:
- Building Codes Illustrated(Chapters 3, 5 ,6 ,7 ,9 ,10 ,11 ,29)
- Tables I was familiar with going into the exam:
503; 504.3, 504.4; 506.2; 508.4; 601; 602; 716.5; 1004.1.2; 1006..2.1; 1006.3.1; 1006.3.2; 1015.1; 1017.2; 1020.1; 1020.2; 1106.1; 2902.1;
- Sections: 503; 602; 708; 1010; 1017; 1019; 1020; 1106;
- all Marty Huie Youtube videos
Those still in the process - Keep at it and you will get there soon. Your score will improve with each failed attempt. Good luck all! I will be moving on to CSE post baby!
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