Amber Book - HIGHLY RECOMMEND

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    Joseph Stainbrook

    Great to hear Amber Book worked so well for you!  I also got Amber Book to prepare for my last 3 exams- PA, PPD, and PDD.  I feel like these vidoes are great for all the reasons you stated but I always get nervous about the case studies.  Do you have any advise for these?  I seem to always scramble with these and run out of time...

    Again, congrats on passing 4 exams in such a short period, that's huge!

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    Dorisa Nelson (Edited )

    Thanks Joseph! With my experience the best advice I can offer is know how to look things up in the code book excerpts. The more familiar you are with it the smoother it will go. And don't forget there is a search function that helps save time. If you know how to use the code and the resources they give you, you can (usually) find all the answers. 

    This has been how I've done my tests so far:
    I go through all the non case study problems answering what I can and flagging any I can't solve quickly or I'm unsure of. It is often about a third of them, maybe more, that I have to revisit. I then go back and review all of those and when I have answers for this section complete, I take my break. I stretch, get a drink of water and remind myself that I'm good at my job and I know what I'm doing. Cheesy, I know, but I think your confidence has a huge influence on your ability to test well. Ideally I like an hour and a half to work with for the case studies. I've never left a test with more than 12 minutes on the clock.

    This is going to sound crazy, but I don't read the scenarios, this saves time. I read the tabs across the top to know what resources I have to work with and then go right to the questions. I find that they give you too much information that you don't need and I get hung up on pointless details. Sometimes they give too much information in the questions as well, you're probably already aware of this. Read through it once and if it is packed with info, summarize what exactly they are looking for to help focus.

    I know some recommend that if you are too worried about them, do the case studies first but it's important to remind yourself that each question in the case study is worth just one point, like every other question. Don't beat yourself up if you get stuck on one. Move on and start fresh on the next one.

    My worst experience with a case study was on my CE exam- it was just killing me. I think I flagged 8 of them to revisit. And regardless of my effort I felt like although I knew exactly what I was looking for, they didn't give me the required information for this particular client for me to decide. The whole thing felt like maybe it was a "pre-test" case study. It was very painful and really brought down my confidence. Luckily it was at the end.

    I hope this helps you. I loved PA- it had more common sense material than any of the others I've done. I'm not going to lie, PPD and PDD are exhausting. I felt confident before and during, and obviously excited after learning I passed, but afterward I felt like I had run a mental marathon. I don't tell you this to scare you. They aren't (and probably shouldn't be) easy, but remember they cover stuff you do every single day (assuming you are currently working at a firm). You know this stuff. You've already passed 3 exams, and now you have Amber Book. You've got this!

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    Joseph Stainbrook

    Thanks for sharing your testing experience Dorisa, it definitely helps!  I've been feeling confident about knowing the information...I'm just a horrible test-taker.  I keep telling myself pass or fail, I'm gaining experience with each attempt!

    My plan of attack is getting through all the amber videos, work on timing with practice tests, and scroll through the ARE 5.0 mock exam case study section a few more times.  Hopefully that will help with my timing and navigation at the end with case studies.

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    Pegah Jalaly

    Hi, did any of you get the Amber book materials recently? 

    Me and my friends have been trying to purchase it and we have sent several emails to the email address that is provided in their website to order but neither of us has heard back yet and it has been 2 weeks!

    Just to make sure, is this  the email address that you used to purchase?  online@amber-book.com

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    Joseph Stainbrook

    Yes, that is the email address used.  It took a couple days for a response but I received the material.

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    Kristin Perry (Edited )

    Same experience with me Pegah, it took a few days, maybe a week but I did receive everything.

    And thank you so much for this post Dorisa. I struggle so much with test anxiety. My first attempt at PDD was miserable, not because I didn't know the material, but because I had a meltdown and couldn't collect myself mentally. I've always been a nervous tester, but I'd never done that before or since! (I've taken and failed one other exam since and several before those.) My confidence is sort of shot but I'm helping calm my nerves by reading through posts about Amber book and how many people have had such positive turn-arounds with it. I finished all of the videos and actually finally feel like I understand concepts I have been trying to learn this whole time. Even if I don't pass I can wholeheartedly say that this course has helped me become better at my job and I would still recommend it! 

     

    EDIT: 8/12/2019 

    Just got home from my PDD exam and received my "likely to pass" result! I scheduled my (hopefully) last one, PPD, in 2 weeks (which will be my 3rd attempt). If I fail that one I'll have to wait the 6 months to try again, but here's hoping I can just be DONE. 

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    VIRA KRAVTSOVA

    Dorisa, It is so so inspirational!!! Is it really that possible to do at that pace?  Congratulations to you!! Is it a possibility to connect to you via LinkedIn? 

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    Dorisa Nelson

    Sorry I've been absent from responding. After I passed my last test I took a vacation and have been catching up at work ever since. 

    Kristin- I'm so glad to hear that you gained confidence going into your test and that it made you better at your job as well. Congratulations on passing PDD! Good luck on PDD! Those 2 are brutal. I hope you can be done as well! It is such a relief.

    Vira- I'm glad you felt inspired by my post. I did end up passing my last two tests so I completed the entire ARE in less than 2 months. So yes, it is possible! There is seriously SO much overlapping material that to me it just makes sense to do it quickly. Feel free to connect with me on linked in- I should be easy to find.

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    Kristin Perry

    Thank you for the well wishes! I'm so SO happy and relieved to say that I'm DONE! I received my official Pass on PPD this morning and I could not speak more highly of Amber Book. It helped my knowledge, my test strategy and time management. Well worth the money and I wish I'd found it sooner! Best of luck to everyone testing. You can do this! And congrats to you as well Dorisa!! 

     

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    Seth Wiley

    I would agree that Amber is well worth it. I bought the videos and book to prep for my final 3 exams: PPD, PDD, and CE. I paid out of pocket for mine, and actually paid for 2 month's, but I think it's worth it. It did improve my prep test scores. And I was confident enough to complete those 3 tests in 1.5 months. So I'm actually done with the ARE now. As well, Michael at Amber is very responsive to questions - very quick to respond and very clear.

    In comparison I did buy Black Spectacles to prep for an earlier exam. I found it to take too much time and not to be very in-depth. I also bought PPI - printed materials - which I found good overall EXCEPT for structures sections. PPI for structures is really poorly explained and borders on a waste of time in my opinion.

    One side note: for structures, I recommend this book: "Structural Load Determination 2018 IBC and ASCE/SEI 7". I think it does a great job of explaining structures which applies to IBC - not overarching theory, not in-depth mathematics, not just diagrams - straightforward applicable structures load combinations. Very good book in my opinion.

    Good luck all.

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