CE 2nd fail, advice?

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    Jelena Jegdic

    Erin, I have an identical experience as yours with this exam in everything you mentioned (apart from work experience which adds more years and some CA, yet still failed...). Would be much appreciative if someone has a specific advice for this. I have a scheduled CE exam soon for the 3rd attempt, yet debating to leave it last and take PA next. 

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    Arjun Bhat

    there is a lot of overlapping information between the pa/ppd/pdd/ce.  honestly, i'd recommend going forward with the PA/ppd/pdd in that order.  by the time you cover the reams of information there, you'll have a decent background on anything that comes up with the CE.  by then, you'll just need to review some of the procedural "pro prac" items you mentioned and you'll be fine.  Especially if you're new to the profession and don't have a lot of CA experience, you'll benefit from the knowledge of those three exams to supplement a lack of experience.

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    Jelena Jegdic

    Thank you! I actually did pass it last week, onto PA now.

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    Mike Chou

    Arjun Bhat most of the people recommend PcM/ PjM/ CE in that order, is that true? CE was my first exam and I failed it, so I'm wondering if I should study PcM > PjM > CE in that order this time instead?

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    Erin Hickey (Edited )

    Hi Everyone,

    Following up to my original post, I ended up taking CE a third time, and I passed. My advice to anyone with the same experience would be to try and take it a third time. This time, I felt that I knew what to expect based on how NCARB worded the questions and the consistency of topics that I noticed each time I took it, and I even finished with 15 minutes left. The first and second times I had run out of time.  Ballast CE Case Studies really helped me prepare for the case study portion, and also just doing practice questions every day (Ballast, WeARE, Black Spectacles) helped me get in the mode weeks before the exam. For CE, you NEED to be able to understand how to navigate all of the provided documents in the case studies.  When they ask you a case study question, your first thought should be, which of the provided documents can I look for the answer in to find the info as fast as possible.

    I also added Amber Book into the mix so that I could learn about a wide range of topics. For Amber, I specifically watched all of the Construction videos, Professional Practice videos (minus the ones related only to PCM), some of the code videos, and went through the provided Case Studies. I did not review the Systems videos and do not think that would be necessary. Amber helped immensely. CE covers such a wide range of topics since it is last in the sequence that I think having a very basic understanding of everything about codes and construction will help you navigate the exam better. Building Codes Illustrated and generally studying ADA were helpful with understanding code as well.  I also memorized wall section details from Building Constructed Illustrated so that I could draw and label them from complete memory. Diversifying my study materials helped expand my mind and get it out of any rut that it was previously in. I would not recommend CE as a first exam to anyone who has little experience with construction documentation or construction admin. Just because it has the highest pass rate, doesn't mean it's the easiest. I found PCM and PJM a lot more "textbook" and easier to pass without much real world experience--I passed both 6-9 months after graduating with my B.Arch. PCM and PJM are almost 100% business and contract based, and while CE covers a ton of the A201 and AHPP, it throws a lot of unrelated unexpected information at you too.

    I may have studied a wider range of materials than what others say you need to study for CE, but I know that it will help me in the future for the following exams and ultimately help me become a better architect...always remember that!

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    Arjun Bhat (Edited )

    Mike Chou, the CE contains a combination of materials that you'd find on the PjM and the PDD, essentially.  If you've got some experience with CA, drawing details, documentation, and interacting with Contractors, they perhaps what you described would be fine.  

     

    I took the exams in the order: PA, PPD, PDD, CE, PjM, and will take Practice Management in a few weeks.  I also tried to minimize the time between tests to a few weeks, so the material didn't fade from memory (there is A LOT of repeated information in all the tests).  I felt that this order started with the hardest tests, which, imo, force you to cover the broadest amount of material.  You'll be using this material on the rest of the tests, and I felt like i was building on the information that I studied with every test.  

    Caveat - i have 12 years of experience, so I have the benefit of living through a lot of the material on these tests.  The ballast study materials were a good refresher for things I haven't touched in a while (in some cases, since i graduated), so my perspective is impacted by that.  For what its worth, i felt that the PA, PPD, and PDD were far more intense and challenging than the other 2 tests ive taken.  Basically if you are familiar with the B101 and A201 (which all share a lot of the same concepts, by the way, so a lot of overlapping knowledge), and you have the right amount of common sense re: construction and documentation, you'll be fine for the CE.  

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