Take CE 2 weeks after PjM?

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4 comments

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    Nicholas Civitano

    Hey Andy,

    I took PCM 2 weeks after PJM and did CE 2 weeks later and it was perfect for me at the time. I remember thinking CE had a lot of overlap with the previous 2, especially PJM.

    If you click my name you can read my suggestions on my CE post. Otherwise Id say study construction details for flashing and waterproofing, study construction site photos and sequencing, etc. Fundamentals of building construction is a good book for this too and a great resource later for Ppd and Pdd.

    Tatyanas notes as you said are great too.

    One strategy you may consider is taking a little bit more than 2 weeks, maybe 4 weeks, study the suggested AIA contracts, change orders, requests for payment etc etc but then start studying for PDD as well. PDD and Ce have a decent amount of overlap, although PDD is much, much more detailed, difficult and the content covered is pretty massive in comparison.

    So you could study the traditional suggested CE materials for 2 weeks and then study the site construction, excavation, soils, seismic, wind, materials, waterproofing, flashing, building assembly and CD parts of Pdd for the other 2 weeks. After taking CE you could add another 3 or 4 weeks of studying and take PDD..

    Just a thought. Many, many ways to take these exams. My suggestion after passing all 6 would be to group Pcm and Pjm as you have and then to study for PA and PPD together and CE and PDD together. Youll find Ppd and Pa have a ton of overlap in site design, building orientation and layout, wind, dust, noise, building codes etc and CE and PDD have a decent overlap in details, construction docs, site work etc. Of course each exam has separate parts all to themselves but I definitely restudied Pa stuff when taking Ppd and restudied Ce for stuff for PDD.
    Youll want to also keep Ppd and Pdd pretty close also as their overlap is the largest with life safety, codes, systems, seismic etc. To be honest, you might consider after Pcm and Pjm to do Pa, Ppd Pdd and Ce in that order. That is Ncarbs suggestion and I think its a good strategy. I would have much preferred to end with CE than PPD.. This also gives you a chance to restudy and retake Ppd and Pdd without losing time if you do fail one or both. I.e. if you take and pass Pa, then fail Ppd you could immediately keep studying to take Pdd and maybe Ce without losing momentum.

    Ive also thought that starting with Pcm or Pjm is a pretty good break in exam and then go right into an intensive 6 to 8 week study for Ppd and Pdd. Try to knock one or both of the big dogs out right away. If you do, awesome, it will only get easier. If you dont pass one you have 3 exams to study and pass for in the 60 day waiting period.

    A lot of this depends on your work and life expierence though. I was running a large multi million dollar project when as studying for PJM and much of the content was overlapping with my work at the time so it was much easier to digest and remember. I also started my own "firm" prior to starting the AREs so I felt confident in the business, insurance and accounting side of Pcm after a quick study of the AHPP and other materials.

    My background was in construction, CA and CDs so CE also felt pretty natural after studying the AIA docs.

    On the other hand much of PA and PPD felt foreign because I didn't have as much early project planning experience and those exams felt the most difficult at the time of testing.

    Anyway, good luck and if you do fail an exam keep your head held high, as difficult as it may seem at the time. These exams and this process is very difficult and if you don't quit you will pass them!

  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    Hey Andy! Thought I'd share my two cents in addition to what Nicholas said. To be honest, I spent all day building a fence and am pretty tired so I didn't read his comment, but what I glanced at seemed like good info and suggestions. I just wanted to reply tonight and share my experience, so forgive me if I repeat some of the same things as above.

    First, congrats on passing PcM! That's exciting and a great start. PjM and CE to me are the natural next steps. I wrote a post after passing each exam which has a lot of info that might help, but I thought I'd share my two cents briefly here:

    I actually studied for those three exams last, and passed them within 10 days of each other. It was a little crazy, but I think 2-3 weeks apart is a good plan. CE does have slightly different content with the details and construction administration side of things, so I felt comfortable with that info since I already took the other exams. So you may need a little time to cover that info, depending on your work experience. 

    I'll also say that the Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice and the Schiff Hardin lectures are fantastic sources for these exams. The lectures are free and you may be able to find a copy of the AHPP that you can borrow (from work, a local AIA chapter, etc) or find a good deal if you want to buy it. 

    Hope that helps a bit, best of luck moving forward!

  • Avatar
    Afxentis Christoforou (Edited )

    Hey Nicholas,

    Thanks for the detailed response. I have always had it in my mind to do CE after PjM, I have been a PM for several years now so I think I should be good with the detail portion. You definitely bring up a good point about the benefit of CE at the end of the testing cycle in case PPD doesn't work out, very interesting point. This is the first time I have contemplated changing the order up but I am a bit torn. 

    On one hand, there is something nice about all the contract tests bulked together and then all the technical exams since they build off of the contracts tests, plus CE has the highest pass rate-might be a good morale boost? On the other hand...I do want to dive into the "architecture" tests because the contract stuff is a bit dry and I would like to start reading up on other material. 

    I saw this post and listened to YA's take on the testing order:

    https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/115009094027-Recommended-order-of-exams-

    It's interesting to see everyone's opinion.

    I'll see how PjM goes and then rethink my game plan, thanks again for the detailed response. 

  • Avatar
    Afxentis Christoforou

    Hey Scott,

    I am actually quite familiar with your posts, thanks for all the great info you share and congrats on such an aggressive testing approach!

    Agreed to AHPP and Schiff Hardin, I forgot to include them on my initial post. I have been using the Wiley chart and YA's revised Wiley Chart for reading the AHPP. I have been relistening to the important Schiff lectures while commuting and at work, but sometimes it is hard to follow without looking at his slides as he speaks.

    I think once I dive into what CE encompasses I can see if my experience lines up with the technical bits. I have been a PM for a bit, working on projects from start to finish so I hope that experience covers over.

    I originally asked my question because I have found that my testing center fills up quickly, so if I don't schedule a test while I am studying for an upcoming test I have to wait about a month to sit to test. I want to pick up the pace with the test taking so I was hoping to shave "waiting" time with CE.

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