Hi, I just passed the exam on my first try and want to share my experience with the forum that helped me so much. I studied a couple days each week for a month, and then got more serious for two months after that. I didn't track my studying at all, but on average I probably studied 2 hours a day on weekdays and 2-4 hours on Saturdays, with more dedication the closer I got to the exam.
I started with Brightwood - read the whole book, one or two "lesson" at a time. It's pretty good, but not detailed enough to pass the exam. Being fresh out of grad school a lot of the business is still foreign to me, so a book like this, which broadly covered all of the concepts of Practice Management was really helpful.The quizzes after each lessons are way too easy - not even worth the time treating them like real quizzes. Instead I would use the quizzes as clues for information to take notes, but don't stress over detailed notes.
Next, I read the AHPP. Just buy the book, a little over $100 is a well deserved investment toward your career. The sooner you have this book, the more time you will have to read and understand it - get expedited shipping if you can because it is THAT important to pass this exam. To me, the major benefit of buying AHPP is the freedom to highlight and annotate the actual textbook, which is great for remembering the information. This way, you can write your notes directly on the page where the information is from, including questions that come up as you read, which by the way are great talking points for getting to know the principals and higher-ups at whatever firm employs you. As far as content is concerned, just reference Kevin G's post here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4BvCc3nt7PsNFVialI2WFJWNVU/view
As valuable and applicable as the information contained in AHPP is, in my opinion it's just plain boring to read. I suggest supplementing AHPP with more anecdotal literature like Law for Architects: What You Need to Know. I probably would not have passed if it weren't for this book. On top of that, listen to the Schiff Harden lectures about A201 and B101, but make sure you print out the contracts and annotate/highlight them while you listen. His notes are also very helpful whenever he starts to ramble (most of these rambles are actually very valuable stories, but some aren't).
Once I felt confident about the material, about 2 months into my process, I took a practice test from Designer Hacks and I did really poor. If this happens to you, don't feel bad. Instead, appreciate the fact that you just got a step by step guide for what you need to review - look over the exam summary, note what you got wrong and go read more about it (in AHPP, Law for Architects, whatever works best for you) until you understand it better. I repeated this process a few times, and could see my scores progressively improve until I consistently scored 95% on the Designer Hacks randomized quizzes. Toward the end of this process, rather than getting hung up on the difficult problems I just treated them as open-book.
Then with 2 weeks until my exam, I paid for Black Spectacles and took their practice exam, and again I did really bad, like 50% right. But again, I just used their exam summary to my benefit and kept researching the topics I didn't know very well, until voila, I knew them well enough to pass the actual exam.
Aside from the reading I mentioned, I made several decks of flashcards according to the different categories with quizlet and studied them on my commutes to and from work (another benefit of public transit). I tried listening to some of the lectures out there, but they were too broad for me to justify the time spent on them. While studying the financial portion of the test, I used excel and recreated AHPP's tables with written notation. This helped me see how the numbers fed into each other, which is way more important than just memorizing equations.
What I would not do is use the practice tests in isolation. Because the quizzes repeat questions, you'll end up memorizing the question rather than understanding the question. I would not focus on memorizing equations of any kind.
There you go, read the info, get to know people who are smarter than you and ask them questions, test yourself, fail, and improve from there. Be prepared to think critically, the test was by no means easy. Out of the allotted 02:30:00, I used seriously used 01:58:36.
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