Walking the ARE Practice Exam

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    Rebecca Cassidy

    I had not heard this before I took it and it really took a blow to my self esteem. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks it was super difficult. I've been getting 68%-75% on other practice exams, but for this one I ended up getting a 45%. It is HARD! But I'm glad I did it because it challenged my way of thinking and dissecting the questions. I'm scheduled to take the PA tomorrow so we'll see how I do.

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    Alexandra Grabel

    Hi Rebecca, let me know you do please! I've gotten 69% on a Black spectacles practice test and two Designer Hacks tests. 20 Questions into Walking the ARE I decided not to take it in order to not dash my confidence a week before the exam. Best of luck tomorrow!

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    Michael Riscica (Edited )

    Scores on practice exams from any prep providers are completely irrelevant. None of the ARE Prep Publishers write the questions on the actual exam.

    Often times the the prep providers write BETTER questions then the ones on the actual exam, because the Publishers have lots of experience writing many questions, rather then NCARB's volunteers who spend one weekend a year and write one or two questions for the actual exam. 

    Use the practice exams as a tool to help learn the content and never as a dress rehearsal for the actual exam.  Study the practice exams the same way you study text books. 

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    Rebecca Cassidy

    Received a "likely pass" today! 

    There were a few questions on the exam that I was able to confidently answer because I had learned it from this practice exam. While the "Walk the ARE" practice exam is probably made up of the hardest questions you might get on the real exam, I still suggest going over the questions and answers for learning purposes.

    Also, the "puzzle" type questions would be good to practice with a timer. In any of the other practice exams, I would have about 45 minutes left over because I could do the multiple choice questions in about 1 minute each. For the real exam, I used every minute to the end and didn't have time to review any of the questions. I attribute it to the puzzle questions that take a lot longer than multiple choice (about 5 min each). 

    On a side note, this was my first ARE exam and the Case Study search feature was not what I anticipated, which threw me off and took a lot of my time. I was able to search one word, no problem. But if I wanted to search a phrase or two consecutive words, it would bring up every instance of each individual word rather than the two together. If you put quotes around the two words it wouldn't find anything at all because it was literally looking for the words in quotations. I tested the theory after multiple "could not find" messages. I ended up not using the search feature and just scrolling to the correct sections.

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    Alexandra Grabel

    Congrats Rebecca!! Both your answer and Michael's have convinced me to give Walking the ARE another shot, but maybe from another perspective. I might just work through the questions purely for the explanations.  Btw you're right about the word search feature - you can pretty much only search one word, so I tend to look for a very specific word versus one that might directly apply. 

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    Xiner Liu

    Congrats Rebecca!! I barely finished Walking the ARE in 3hr15min which is making me really nervous, so thank you for posting your experience! I have a question about cities and locations.. ballast usually tells us if a site is in a cool / temperate / hot humid / hot arid zone, but walking the are just gives us the name of city and state. I wonder which way the real exam is? Should I memorize at least where all the states are...? Thanks in advance!

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    Alexandra Grabel

    Xiner, I realize the above comment was directed at Rebecca but I did want to say that you probably shouldn't be too nervous in regards to the time it took to finish Walking the ARE. Because the exam was so low tech, it's rather difficult to navigate between flipping back and forth. The actual exam will not be like that. Personally, I couldn't finish Walking the ARE with the time constraints but finished multiple Black Spectacles practice exams in 2 hours. The time constraints will most likely be somewhere between that and Walking the ARE. 

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    Xiner Liu

    Thanks for the info, Alexandra! Have you gone through the mock exam yet? I feel a couple answers might be incorrect. Would love to know your and anyone else’s thoughts on questions #39 and #48. I thought coffee house is occupancy group A and I also divided (instead of multiplied) by the efficiency ratio to get the net cost per sf. 

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    Rebecca Cassidy (Edited )

    Xiner,

    I believe I heard somewhere in Black Spectacles that NCARB is going away from using specific locations and just stating what type of climate the site is in. I don't believe I saw any questions on the exam referencing a specific city or state.

    For #39, I think it is implying that the coffee shop would be small since it's on a campus. If it is under 50 people, it would be business (IBC section 303.1.1). However, this practice exam wasn't very clear with that. The actual exam would be more clear that it was under 50 people.

    For #48, I'll let someone else chime in on this one. I tried to write out what I did, but then I realized I wrote it wrong. 

     

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    Xiner Liu

    Thank you, Rebecca! #48 totally makes sense to me now with your method. I was calculating (gross) cost per net sf but I guess the question is asking for “net cost” per gross sf! And knowing that I might not need to memorize the map of the country is a huge relief - my exam is scheduled in two days. Thank you!!

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    Xiner Liu

    Oh no I think you got it. It’s just the last part where you should divide by 16000 as you did in the calculation, not 12800. If you use 12800, that would give you net cost per net sf... it’s all about how to interpret “net cost-per-square-foot”! 

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