I’m a little dumbfounded right now and grasping for anything or anyone that’s able to make sense of this. This is my first time failing an exam twice in a row and it’s infuriating.
So far I’ve passed pcm, pjm, and ce. Switching to these last 3 feels a little like starting over because they’re on an entirely new set of information and study materials. I took PA for the first time in June and immediately during the test knew I was unprepared. I had studied ballast, site planning & design, plural sight, designer hacks, and problem seeking for 2-3 months. Not only was I unsure of material, but I got A LOT of interactive drag & drop, hot spot questions. I felt that each question was an intensive exercise in itself - so time was an extreme issue and the last couple questions I answered without even reading them. (And don’t even get me started on the case studies - I probably needed an hour for EACH). I knew I was going to fail. To my surprise however, I actually passed the code section...
Since then, (3 months) I studied on my weaknesses, filling In the holes, and practicing my speed. I tried as many application type questions I could get my hands on. I did the black spectacles videos since my office had started a subscription. I took two Black spec tests, my best score was a 70 which I thought would be enough. Not only that but I was getting 60s on ballast (which I’ve never scored higher than a 55 for the other exams), and 85-90 on designer hacks. I even studied straight from the code, Ada, building codes illustrated, & space planning and design (in which I did the programming exercises in the back and set a timer for 5 minutes for each). I researched other themes I saw on the test with literally just googling them. Needless to say - I was a lot more thorough and felt prepared (albeit scared from my 1st time), but ready.
During the test, I felt confident - I was ahead of the timing goals I set for myself and felt like I KNEW what the test was asking of me this time. I knew the vocab and felt like I could pinpoint where the test was trying to trick me (multiple answers seeming right, key words in the question, etc). I may have gotten an easier test than the first time, but still I felt really good about my answers. I finished the 75 questions before my case studies with 1 hour 30 minutes left which was my goal. Then I took my break and was feeling pretty good, thinking - I totally got this this time.
After the break I started the case studies. The first one I had on my last exam and should of had a leg up but this particular case study is intense as well as poorly written. Without getting too specific - what programming spaces are called in the prompt does not match the clients programming goals page which also does not match the questions! I don’t have time to sort through errors in writing...but I had to, which is bs. Is there anywhere you can report a question for having an issue with the writing?? Anyway...I tried to not get tripped up by this case study since it was only 10 questions and I kept moving. The second case study was easier. I will say they were definitely the hardest part of the exam if I had to point out where I must’ve went wrong.
I still thought I was going to pass so seeing “likely to fail” was crushing. I got my score report this morning and now I’m just angry. I got level 3’s in every category. And this is what’s really baffling me: how did I feel better & know more, but do WORSE?! And of course all I have to rely on for my future studying are these little dots...like that’s telling me ANYTHING. I mean couldn’t we get a little more of a breakdown of each section, even just: you got 9 out of 20 right in this section and a passing grade was 11??? Or how about the cut score? I mean if this was in fact an easier test than the first one I took maybe I had to get more right...but again, with just a dot to go off of I don’t know if I’m way off base or just missing it by a couple questions? I’m ranting now, but you get my gist. Any thoughts on what happened or advice to keep me sane would be much appreciated :)
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