When I began studying for the ARE 5.0 Exams I thought that after 6 years of college and multiple internships that I would be equipped with enough knowledge to try my luck at an exam before getting too involved with purchasing study material or joining online subscriptions… Boy was I mistaken! It only took me 2 tries at Practice Management to understand that I was far from ready to take on the ARE 5.0 by myself! I started by purchasing a license to Designer Hacks online and found that the material was helpful at first but realized I was simply memorizing the questions and answers after taking the quizzes and tests a few times. I then purchased the Ballast Study Guide and the Ballast Practice Exam (on a Black Friday Special) since I had heard that was a good resource. However, after working all day the last thing I wanted to do was sit and read a HUGE book about contracts and details! Needless to say I would fall asleep reading and knew that I had to find another way to study. I began looking at posts on the ARE 5.0 Community and saw people suggest Black Spectacles as a surefire way of passing the exams. After looking into their material and hesitating on spending $200 a month on the Pro-Subscription, I decided that this was an investment in my future and in myself and that it was worth trying out for a month to see if it would help. Within 30 days I had passed Construction and Evaluation and decided that Black Spectacles was the real deal. I quickly moved on to Programming and Analysis and was able to study and pass within 3 weeks (rushing to finish before a well needed vacation). I took a few weeks off to acclimate back to work and life and signed up again and passed Project Planning and Design that next month. The trend continued with each exam and a month for studying followed by a successful pass! The overall order was as follows: Construction and Evaluation, Programming and Analysis, Project Planning and Design, Project Development and Documentation, Project Management, and Practice Management. Black Spectacles provided a regimented schedule of what videos to watch on what days and when to take the provide practice exams. This allowed me to stay on track and schedule in times for studying around my busy schedule. Also, I could sit down and complete a nights worth of studying and not feel guilty watching TV knowing that I was able to balance both! The practice exams are identical in format to what we are tested on at the testing center and allow you to become comfortable with all the buttons and tools for test day! The practice exams were tough and I felt they accurately prepared me for test day even though I averaged +/- 55% on the practices; I was successful in passing each exam!
It may seem overwhelming and especially if you have spent a lot of time studying and come up short on test day. However, I felt that I was studying a lot but it was more about the quality of the material than the time invested. After finding a quality resource I was not only passing the exams but also learning the concepts and applying them to my daily practice. I am truly thankful for the Black Spectacles Team and the quality of their product.
I know that not everyone is able to afford the subscription and that it may not benefit everyone as it has me, but I urge you to strongly consider investing in your future and finding what best helps you!
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