1 PDD fail, 1 PPD fail... cheers to 5.0....:(

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    Gang Chen (Edited )

    I do not think anyone can disclose to you or others how many versions of exam for each are used. That is too specific and may violate the NCARB rules.

    Back to the exam, one key tip for success is time management, do not spend too much time on any question. For example, in the ARE exams, it may be a good idea to skip any calculation question that requires over thirty seconds of your time; just pick a guess answer, mark it, and come back to calculate it at the end. This way, you have more time to read and answer other easier questions correctly.

    A calculation question that takes twenty minutes to answer will gain the same number of points as a simple question that ONLY takes two minutes.

    Gang Chen, Author, Architect, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Alissa Deneen

    Thank you for your response, I appreciate it. I will definitely take your advice and work on my timing. I think i'm spending to much time on the calculation problems and need to just flag those for later. I ordered some exam practice tests to keep me going. 

    Thanks!  

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    Matthew Dirksen

    Alissa,

    I honestly wouldn't worry about "how many" versions of the exam there are. It's entirely possible that there are a limited number of case studies which limits the testing frequency, but speculating on the number of exam types or questions (and their level of difficulty) will ultimately not assist YOU in planning to pass in three months. 

    I fully agree with Gang regarding time management, and I empathize with you about the page loading issues and crashes. The only exam I failed had to do with slow page loads and crashes, and the impact knocked the wind out of my sails at the time. I, too, felt it was entirely unfair. Regardless, I had to move forward. 

    I will offer one of the best things I did was to totally skip over every question which required the use of the calculator, and I saved them for the end. I purposefully did not flag them, so I could distinguish them from questions that required review.

    Using the exam summary window, I could quickly target all of the unanswered questions and answer them knowing that I would need to pop open the calculator for all of them. After that, I'd review the flagged questions - time permitting. 

    On that note, here's a link to my personal assessment after I finished PDD last spring, which may offer you some other advice.

    Good luck - you're almost there!

    Matt

     

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Alissa,

    I'll try to clear up two questions for you here.  First, we are continually working with our testing partners to monitor and improve the testing experience.  And second, you're correct that there are multiple forms of each division - but there is not an "easy" form or a "hard" form. They are all equally fair for all candidates.  Sometimes two forms might have different cut scores to make up any slight differences in difficulty...but sometimes they have the same cut score because their average difficulties match.  All decisions about that are supported by extensive data and in collaboration with our test consultants.

    Gang gave you great advice about time management and answering every question.  Those are excellent strategies for maximizing your opportunity to earn points towards your score.  Hope this helps as you prepare for your retests.

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    Carl Lam

    Michelle,

     

    Have you guys thought about letting us use a physical copy of the IBC codes book? It is completely unrealistic that we need to scroll through a PDF version of the IBC (thousands of pages) and are being timed while doing it. That to me is the worst part of the test. You guys got rid of the vignettes from 4.0, but added in a bad functioning case study problem. To have to jump back and forth from the problem to the IBC to the zoning, etc. makes these case study questions take a very long time. Have you thought about making the case study untimed? 

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    Allison Hora

    I am going to ditto Carl's question as well.  Has NCARB considered perhaps giving test takers physical copies of the required case study material? I know it may be more expensive to have to hand out physical pieces of paper but I am sure most of us would pay extra per test to not have to deal with the PDFs. I have lost way too much time to lag during my last two exams. It is unacceptable.

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Carl and Allison,

    Unfortunately it's not possible for us to provide hard copies of the case study resources.  We recommend using the PDF bookmarks and keyword search to more quickly find the info you need.  You can try those out in the Demo Exam prior to your test.

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    Carl Lam

    Ok since it is not possible to have a hard copy, has NCARB thought of making the case study untimed? It seems like we are right back to where we started years ago, except instead of a terrible vignette problem we have a timed research case study. Instead of a bad vignette program we have a bad fuctioning PDF viewer that takes much longer to use than a hard copy book. 

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    Allison Hora

    Michelle, would you mind expounding on why exactly its impossible to provide hard copies? I am honestly just curious. Funny how on the demo exam, I still dont get the same testing experience with the demo exams as my internet doesnt lag like the testing center computers do. 

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    James Wyatt

    I agree!

    Also, a hardcopy of plans and specs would also be nice.

    Testing center could confiscate all the materials provided after exam.

    Zooming and paning through all those plans and specs looking for information is very difficult and extremely time consuming. And after zooming all the way in still difficult to read and very blurry.

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    Liliana Ninaquispe Romero

    I had the same problem, the pdf take a long time to load, on top of that, 40% of my test was calculations, which took a considerably amount of time. I tried at the beginning to skip the calculation questions thinking that I was going to have maybe 15% calculation questions, at the end skipping them was not a wise decision since they were a bit chunk of my test, and to come back for them was more time consuming. I am not sure how asking me the same type of calculation question is going to show that I know an specific chapter, it only took away my time. My concerns with the test is that the time is not well calculated with the amount of calculation questions that take more time, if the computer has issues with loading why is not possible to increase the time for the test to account for this? Giving more time is only going to produce well though answers which should be a win win. Also account for the testing loading deficiencies.

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    Alissa Deneen

    Yeah, agree. They could simply add an additional hour to make up for the lost time until they fix the reoccurring  problem....  That seems like a very reasonable solution. 

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    HYUN JU KIM (Edited )

    Agree with Alissa/Carl

    Is answering every single MC questions in 2 minutes easy? for 70-100 questions?

    The questions are complicated, extensive, and thoughtfully designed and organized with graphics, drawings, and diagrams... after all, most of calculation questions takes more than 10-15 minutes, only couple questions are straightforward that you can simply answer them. So some people suggest to skip all the calculation for time management purpose and come back later just in case you have time left. Yes, you can come back later but might not be completely solve these marked ones. Why ? run out of time... 

    Case study is time killer and this makes 5.0 unbalanced test between MC and Case study as time distribution.

    After fast heart beating speedy MC questions, you have to be able to manage saving 2 to 1hr 30min minimum for only 20-22 Case study questions for at least you can click the button to the possible answer. You might be so shocked realizing you only have little time left now, and will starting anxious when you looking at the clock after reading some of materials on the tiny computer screen, zooming in and out in and out to read drawings and texts in the pdf version of IBC.

    The case study takes time to read all the given references like scenario, zoning, IBC, drawings for understanding what is going on here and preparing or guessing answer for the questions. This unlikely happening in real architecture world. We architects usually meet clients, listen what they want to build, we research good amount of time, and allowed to propose options for them and start to produce drawings to build. Overall, architecture is through and thoughtful process for better outcome or good buildings not to mention it is time consuming profession. Even though the Case study has been designed practically more realistic/smarter approach as an alternate for some drawbacks of Vignette from 4.0, the time issues need to be addressed as lots of candidates pointing out. In fact, the architecture registration exam should not be so restrictive with time for judging candidate's architectural ability. Never heard that bar exam for becoming lawyer and exam for becoming doctor run out of time failing many times after transitioning to a new test system.

     

     

     

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    Raphael Santos (Edited )

    Hi all,

    I feel the sentiment of all the frustration surrounding these case study questions. I myself had a rude awakening on my first ARE 5.0 exam, after feeling like I had just mastered the antiquated 4.0 vignette software. I've recently passed all my exams and have become licensed, and would like to share a piece of advice on this.

    Here's the scoop. The percentage of items you need to get correct to pass ranges between "57 percent and 68 percent." Even on the hardest version of your exam, you are being asked to show knowledge of 2/3 of the material. This really gives you some flex room on what questions to devote your time to on the exam. I know during the exam it is extremely difficult to try and keep this in mind, but I suggest you use the "flags" to help you skip those time consuming questions.

    As far as those case studies go, the real secret is knowing what is relevant. I feel like I'm playing devil's advocate here, but I truly believe that being familiar with a few chapters in the IBC is crucial to not being overwhelmed when looking at it in PDF form. I might be the minority here but I access the IBC through their web portal. I use Ctrl-F to find pretty much everything I need. Take some time and check out the IBC site and just get used to those important chapters ( 3, 5, 6 ,7 ,10 etc.).

    I think I spent almost 15 minutes on one ridiculous sqft calc related to occupancy on one exam and was pulling my hairs out looking at the clock. But, it was 1 of maybe 5 questions I had left to answer that I came back to AFTER I answered material I was more comfortable with. (Pretty sure I got it wrong anyways)

    Give yourselves some wiggle room and good luck out there everyone!

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    Alissa Deneen

    Thank you Raphael for sharing your thoughts. I've been reading through everyone's shared struggles and suggestions. I reviewed my score card results and know what I need to focus on. I have rescheduled PPD for end of February. Since, I have taken two tests I know what to expect. The reality is that the testing material, case studies, are not going to 'change' or fix itself. And you are right, the range is anywhere from 57% to 68% that must be correct out of the 120 questions. I will focus the majority of my efforts on the multiple choice portion of the exam, the questions I know I can get through and save the math problems at the end. I will go in knowing all the case study questions are in the negative.... theoretically, say the questions range from 10-20 for case studies... even if I fail all of those and got the MC right, id be sitting at an 83% which would give at least 15% i can get wrong on the MC to pass.... 

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    Raphael Santos

    Nice breakdown!

    Also, if and when you reach those pesky case study questions, apply the same principle of skipping the tough ones. You might find that some of those questions are fairly straightforward.

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