It's been almost 1.5 yr since I've taken my first 5.0 ARE exams. I failed 8 exams before I had my 1st pass with the PcM exam. I failed 3 more times before I finally passed my 2nd PjM exam. It has been a trying time struggling to find money to pay for all the primary study resources, third party study guides and just the testing fees alone. I've now spent over $5,000. I haven't been in grad school since 2010. Now I feel like I'm getting my doctorate by expanding in my ARE studies. With a large family of 6 children, and working full-time, I have recently taken a leave of absence from my architecture firm so I can focus entirely on passing the remainder of the exams. To make matters even more difficult, I had a major car accident the night before my PjM, which now my favorite car is unsalvageable. So my anxieties was worst than ever due to the stress level that accident caused and my dyslexia kicked in worst than ever. It was crazy both my passes I've had tragic incidents that kept me from focusing on the thought of the exams, but managed to pass by letting what I knew flew out of me.
Despite all that, I have been able to expand on my study habit and understand better what is take to do better on each exam. Nothing can feel so defeating when failing back to back and not knowing when it will stop, knowing you have to support a family and have limited income. BUT the one BIG ADVICE I've received and will continue to pass on is DO NOT QUIT. Keep trucking forward and bull doze all your struggles to come closer to your goal. My goal is to get license!
I passed the PjM on my 4th attempt. I took it during the late afternoon, since I need my sleep before exam. Daily I sleep only 4 hours so I needed my full 10 hr for the test. I do not like taking test on Monday, it's like a cow herd in the morning with all the test takers. I studied this test in 6 days, 6-10 hours a day. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE the testing simulators and understand why you got the questions wrong (the best study help).
- AHPP - this if your bible, no other way wrong it for me
- Black Spectacle - most helpful especially their practice exam, I didn't bother with flashcards or video
- Archiflash 4.0 CDS - extremely helpful, pretty lengthy but the best flash cards
- Architect Exam Prep - handbook help and so did the practice test (by somewhat), didn't listen audio or waste time on audio
- Ballast - great recap to help sum up AHPP
- Ballast Practice Exam - don't even waste your time on it, not much related to actual test
- Designer Hack - did only 10-25 questions when I was bored, like playing Jeopardy, not much helpful on actual test
Testing strategies (especially for those who failed many times, have anxieties, and dyslexia or maybe have drama outside of exams :)
- sleep enough
- avoid caffeine prior to test, either take 6 hr prior before or the anxieties will worsen
- take your 15 minutes break and other break if you have to calm your nerves
- read your questions, highlight, and strikethrough the eliminated answer choices (use the tools provided, to help you see better)
- skip ALL math problem and charts (my anxieties where so high, with dyslexia worsening I could not work with numbers at all), save for the end (I didn't finish 6 problems and passed)
- read the questions to yourself quietly so the words don't jump around
- let go all your fails and give yourself a clean slate
- READ the questions CAREFULLY, hints to the answers DO exist in the questions
- if you are about to overthink, skip the questions
I hope this help. Whatever the situation is, keep focus on your goal. The exams are huge milestones. Do NOT let anyone tell you to take long monthly/year breaks between exam or quit (since I received much criticism) should you have the resources and capacity to move forward.
Congrats to all who have strived forward with their studies regardless of all the fails and passes.
It's definitely one heck of feeling of worthy accomplishment after achieving a milestone one at a time.
Here's my first post about my 1st PASS in PcM
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