I just took the PA exam this weekend. I did not do well. I based my study references and time management on other members feedback within this group and NCARB ARE Handbook. I don't think this prepared me well for the exam. Here is what I did:
1. read all recommended references. Ballast, ADA, IBC, BCI, Site Planning and design, Sun, Wind and Light, Historic Preservation book and notes on the dropbox link, Caroline's Notes, Jenny's Notes
2. Did practice problems from Ballast and the free hyperfine link. I should have definitely done more practice questions but there aren't many free ones for PA and I had already spent too much money. I had previously taken an exam using Black Spectacles which were so repetitive that it was a waste of money so I wasn't going to do that again.
3. I gave myself a week prior to the exam to review all my reading material notes, caroline's notes, jenny's notes, and a lot of youtube videos and googling of concepts I didn't understand.
What happened on the exam - there were questions on there that are impossible to find a single reference for. None of my reading material prepared me for this. For example, phasing of a project, I had two possible choices to go with and I am pretty sure the one I went with was wrong.
I wish there was more information on how to choose the best site to build on after the boring samples came in. I knew about soil samples and I studied these over and over again. I looked up things I didn't understand or wanted more explanation on but it still did not prepare me for the exam.
I wish there was more practice material on questions regarding placement of a building based on given criteria. I knew this was my weak point and I tried hard to find resources to prepare me for this. I think Sun, Wind & Light was very useful, but I didn't get the book until very late in my study process. I just wish I had more resources to help me practice this.
I felt very confident during the exam that I knew the content. I knew that a few of the items were over my head but I didn't think they would be weighted very much and cause me to fail but alas I did. I am going to move on to study for PPD and now I know I need more help than just the readings. I have signed up for Amber videos and Hyperfine. We will see how it goes.
I am just very frustrated that I spent six weeks methodically going over all the readings. Studying everyday for at least an hour or two and spending my entire weekends reading and taking notes.
My test focused heavily on sustainability and ESA as well as the building placements on a site. If only I was asked about soils, stormwater management and building codes I would have done much better.
On to the next. and back to this one after PPD
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