This is my first post on the ARE Community. I have found the advice of so many exam veterans on here helpful to my process that I thought I might add some experience myself.
I took my first test (PcM) in May of 2019 and failed. I was horrified after spending so many months preparing for this exam. I knew the longer I waited to take the test again, the more wigged I would be when I finally took the exam again. I scheduled a retake in August (just after the 60 day waiting period had ended) and passed. At the end of that exam I had thought I had failed again, so I don't have any grand ideas about how to pass after a failure, but I listed my study resources below.
- AHPP - I found this was a must. I didn't take this as seriously the first time I took the exam and found it incredibly helpful as I prepared for this exam and for the following PjM pass
- Read B101 and C401 - I found actually reading the contracts beneficial to allocating risk between parties - If you are a great audio learner (I am not), the Schiff Harden Lectures are a fantastic resource. I found that the info often went in one ear and out the other, but pure lecture format isn't my ideal study method.
- Ballast ARE Review Manual - this is great for the gist of the material, but is by no means a great single tool for success - I do not think the complementary practice exams are a good assessment for how well you will do on the exams, but they are helpful in determining which topics you may need to work on before exam day
- Review multipliers, ratios, and expense equations
- Know different project delivery methods and business models and the pros/cons of each
I took PjM last week and passed on the first try (thank goodness). I took about a month off after passing PcM to refresh myself before diving into PjM. I use a 2 month study schedule - the first month is to familiarize myself with the material, but I don't dive too deeply into specific subjects, at the beginning of month two, I ramp things up, going deeper into topics I didn't understand the first time, and then I really ramp things up as I enter the last two weeks before the exam - trying to figure out what gaps exist and how to tackle the beast that is the ARE. At the end of this exam I felt far more confident that I had passed the exam compared to either of my previous exams (I still wasn't 100% sure and it felt great to see that provisional pass).
- Again, the AHPP is extremely helpful - I do not think I would have passed the exams without it
- Ballast ARE Review Manual - Read chapters 4&6; I skipped 5 because I knew if I was going to understand the contracts, I was going to have to review them myself
- Memorize the conversions between feet, yards, and acres - the math on this exam is significantly easier than PcM and I didn't encounter any questions that required memorizing equations, but you do need to know these conversions - including those values squared and cubed - see sample item number 9 in the ARE Handbook for details.
- Read A201 and B101 and know them like the back of your hand - I cannot emphasize this enough: you need to read these contracts and determine the architect's responsibilities during different phases of a project. Know about how IDP works, but don't analyze the whole contract. I didn't read any of the contracts apart from A201, B101, and C401.
- The exam didn't have much on project delivery methods, apart from traditional D-B-B and a few on IDP, but it is worth spending a bit of time reviewing those concepts
- Understand scheduling and the many forms it can take and make sure that you are answering what they ask - it is easy to trip up and give the answer for a phase of the project that differs from what they are asking.
- Review the difference between different types of specifications (ie: performative, prescriptive, etc.)
General Notes: I highly recommend taking the exam on a Monday. Take a practice exam during the week prior to the test to gauge how successfully you understand the information and what areas you need to study more vigorously - do not focus on the score. Use that weekend before to review all concepts thoroughly and focus your energy on the gap areas identified in the practice exam.
Each exam is different and some are more difficult than others - sometimes its luck of the draw. Don't get discouraged if you don't pass the first time. Know that there is a whole community of people going through this process with you.
Best of luck to all of you.
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