Proportion of Regular Questions vs. Case Study Questions



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    Nick NCARB

    Hey Patrick,

    Hopefully I can help with this question. The 95 items include both case study questions as well as regular questions. I can also confirm that all questions are worth one point since questions are not weighted on the ARE. As far as time, I will let others on the community chime in on this topic.

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    Patrick Burke

    That's perfect, thanks Nick!

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    David Kaplan


    I took three 5.0 exams - PA, PPD, and PDD (transitioned from 4.0).  It's a bit hard to explain why, but for PA I only finished all the questions in that test with about 15 minutes to spare to look over all my flagged answers.  I thought the same would happen when I took PPD and PDD and actually, it was the opposite.  I had over 90 minutes left on both of those tests.

    So why does PA take longer?  The case study questions just involve a bit more resource digging and bit more math.  Not hard - it's all straightforward - just takes time.  You'll likely be asked to review a Zoning document to find things like parking requirements, and setback limits, and might be asked as well to then go ahead and apply those to a site.  It just takes time to calculate all that.  Easy math - basic area calculations, length x width, etc. - but it a good amount of it. 

    Same thing with the Building Code, if you're asked to calculate largest size of a building based on a construction type and use group for example.  That math eats up time, especially if you're figuring frontage increases into the mix which is in itself a whole other equation.

    So - the case studies take time.  I think I had 10 questions for each of them (20 total) and yeah, it took me a good portion over an hour to get through them.  I would recommend that you really look over the case study example on the ARE website - it's going to be very, very similar.  Learning how to navigate the documents well will serve you on this test.

    All this being said, Nick is right that case study questions are worth 1 point each and are not weighted.  Keep this in mind.  Get through the first 75 questions, but watch the clock.  If you find yourself having only an hour left leading up to question 75, and you have flagged a whole lot of questions, you might want to think about what's worth it at that point: going back to get those flagged questions or continuing onto the case studies, knowing that might not have much time left to go back and review the flagged questions.

    Hope this helps!  You can do it.  Good luck.

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