PJM - Getting in the mind of the test makers



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    Lauren Tatusko

    Hey William, sorry to hear you’re struggling with test taking strategies. I passed PCM back in March and will be taking PJM (after 4 reschedules due to COVID) in August.

    A couple things I find to be helpful...
    1. Reading the last sentence or two sentences of a question first. Especially when you get the long paragraph questions. NCARB loves to put lots of pointless information and fill these questions up with words. Look for what the question is asking you first, then look at the answers. Then read the full question again and pick out what information is necessary to answer the question.
    2. I’ve being using PPI’s monthly subscription to generate quizzes for myself daily. This subscription also gives you flash cards and two full practice exams along with various readings. However, the quizzes make the difference! You can chose 10,20,40 question quizzes. I believe that while practice exams are helpful taking 95 questions in a row can sometimes be exhausting for the brain, especially if it is the only time it is seeing test questions. Break it up into smaller chunks and really look at what type of questions you are getting wrong. Hopefully that’ll help you identify where you are really struggling.

    I used multiple sources for PCM and thought PPI was the most helpful in giving me questions that felt similar to the actual exam.

    Best of luck!

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    Michael Ballard


    Thanks for this tip. I'm having the same issue as William. I am signing up for the $29 PPI for Project Management.

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    Sally Nguyen

    Hi William,

    I agree with Lauren's tips about how to approach the test questions. It's a good way to figure out what they're looking for when you're pressed for time in an exam like PcM or PjM.

    Personally, I found that the more practice questions you take the less likely you'll find yourself getting caught in missing questions. The more you practice the more prepared you are in the variety of questions that the exam can throw at you. Are you having problems with time management during the exam? That may also factor into your test taking strategies. 

    Performing top-down or bottom-up analysis usually depends on what the question is looking for. If the question is looking for the allowed project budget per week, top-down is probably the best strategy. If it's asking to compare an employee's billed fees to the allowable fee, you may need to use both.

    I passed PcM in December and just recently passed PjM. For PcM I found that Hyperfine Architecture's practice exam was the most similar to the actual exam in terms of the question types and wording. If you're an AIA member you might try Archiprep for both divisions. Archiprep recently updated with more question varieties which you may find helpful as well. 


    Good luck! Don't let the PcM fail dishearten you. 

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