3 PPD Fail

Comments

12 comments

  • Avatar
    Claudia Baroni

    I am sorry to hear that you didn't pass. This is just another stone in your path to licensure.

    My piece of advice:

    Re-read and go deeper into some of the concepts where you might lack knowledge.

    Have you tried Hyperfine? His exercises are essential for success.

    And practice test-taking techniques.

    You will be fine.

    You can do this.

    Just persist.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Sofia Salvat Mere

    I am in your same boat. I had success in 4.0 and have also failed PPD 3x now. I agree with Claudia that we just have to keep digging and persisting. After researching into topics further, redo Hyperfine and other practice tests. You see things in a new light and notice things that maybe you didn't notice before. Just keep going and don't give up!

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Gang Chen (Edited )

    The key is of passing ARE exams is to master what NCARB wants you to learn. It is not how much you have read, but how much you have mastered that matters. For example, how about starting by spelling my name right to begin with. My name is Gang Chen, not Greg Chen. I am kidding you. 😊 (I think you may have been referring to my books, because I cannot find a Greg Chen who writes ARE exam books.)

    The following strategies quoted from my book may help:

    "...Allocation of your time and scheduling

    You should spend about 60% of your effort on the most important and fundamental study materials, about 30% of your effort on mock exams, and the remaining 10% on improving your weakest areas, i.e., reading and reviewing the questions that you answered incorrectly, reinforcing the portions that you have a hard time memorizing, etc.

    Do not spend too much time looking for obscure ARE information because NCARB will HAVE to test you on the most common architectural knowledge and information. At least 80% to 90% of the exam content will have to be the most common, important and fundamental knowledge. The exam writers can word their questions to be tricky or confusing, but they have to limit themselves to the important content; otherwise, their tests will not be legally defensible. At most, 10% of their test content can be obscure information. You only need to answer about 60% of all the questions correctly. So, if you master the common ARE knowledge (applicable to 90% of the questions) and use the guess technique for the remaining 10% of the questions on the obscure ARE content, you will do well and pass the exam.

    On the other hand, if you focus on the obscure ARE knowledge, you may answer the entire 10% obscure portion of the exam correctly, but only answer half of the remaining 90% of the common ARE knowledge questions correctly, and you will fail the exam. We have seen many smart people who can answer very difficult ARE questions correctly because they are able to look them up and do quality research. However, they often end up failing ARE exams because they cannot memorize the common ARE knowledge needed on the day of the exam. ARE exams are NOT open-book exams, and you cannot look up information during the exam.

    The process of memorization is like filling a cup with a hole at the bottom: You need to fill it faster than the water leaks out at the bottom, and you need to constantly fill it; otherwise, it will quickly be empty.

    Once you memorize something, your brain has already started the process of forgetting it. It is natural. That is how we have enough space left in our brain to remember the really important things.

    It is tough to fight against your brain's natural tendency to forget things. Acknowledging this truth and the fact that you cannot memorize everything you read, you need to focus your limited time, energy, and brainpower on the most important issues.

    The biggest danger for most people is that they memorize the information in the early stages of their exam preparation but forget it before or on the day of the exam and still think they remember.

    Most people fail the exam not because they cannot answer the few “advanced” questions on the exam, but because they have read the information and cannot recall it on the day of the exam. They spend too much time preparing for the exam, drag the preparation process on for too long, seek too much information, go to too many websites, do too many practice questions and too many mock exams (one or two sets of mock exams can be good for you), and spread themselves too thin. They end up missing the most important information of the exam, and they fail..."

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

    3
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Suchitra Van

    hi Gang Chen, my sincere apologies for misspelling your name. In my case and in this country, I have given up on people trying to pronounce let alone spell it.

    I read your advice and thanks for a different perspective and I am willing to try a different approach this time. I can relate to your last para, I work for myself, have two kids at home for the last 4 months while my wife works from home as well so I tend to forget what I study since it is all random studying patterns. That is where I have to improve so going forward I will get up very early in the morning while the city is sleeping as well as my home, study 2-3 hours focused on the main content suggested by NCARB.

    I can wait to pass and send you the good news.

    also thanks to Sofia and Claudia for your reassuring thoughts, I am taking two weeks off then get back to studying again. Stay in touch, our paths may cross.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Suchitra Van (Edited )

    Mr. Chen,

    What is your opinion about the recent demographics, 91% are white are licensed, do you think that those whose English is not their first language would have a harder time to pass?

    I know for sure some questions really throw me off, they may be simple but I get really confused. When trying to clarify studying ASC, HCL, and MEEB, they have a difference of opinions.

    any thoughts?

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Gang Chen (Edited )

    The study methods are the same in different languages.

    I think passing ARE is about having the basic and fundamental knowledge, and also being a good exam-taker.

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

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Suchitra Van (Edited )

    Thanks, Mr. Chen, I will give you the good news after my pass. Thx for all your help on this forum.

    0
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Lilia Grigoryan

    Dear Mr. Chen,

    I couldn’t hold my thoughts to not respond to your post above “NCARB will HAVE to test you on the most common architectural knowledge and information. At least 80% to 90% of the exam content will have to be the most common, important and fundamental knowledge.”

    I understand you believe the NCARB should be testing us on the most common knowledge, but the reality is that test takers coming out of the best architectural schools and putting in hours worth of their time studying go on to fail, as we see through the abysmally low 42% pass rate.

    This is lowest rate possible in the professional licensing process. Then schools or system are failing us....

     

     

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Gang Chen (Edited )

    Lilia,

    You are preaching to the choir here. There is a huge gap between the architectural education and the architectural practice. A lot of knowledge is common in the construction industry and architectural practice, yet many college graduates have never even heard of it.

    An average architectural graduate takes 5 to 10 years after graduation to fully understand the architectural practice.

    I know the facts well, and I have been trying my best to alleviate the problem, and I even wrote a book, Building Construction: Project Management, Construction Administration, Drawings, Specs, Detailing Tips, Schedules, Checklists, and Secrets Others Don’t Tell You (Architectural Practice Simplified, 2nd edition),  to help college graduates to adapt to architectural practice faster. I have been there, done that, , and know the pitfalls, and I am trying to help others to save time in their career pursuit.

    Here is a quote from my book:

    “From Architectural Schools to Architectural Practice

    A.    A Cultural Shock

    1. Why Do I Still Feel Like an Idiot in an Architectural Office, Even Though I Just Got My Architectural Degree from a Top Architectural School?

    You just spent 5 years of your life in college and two hundred thousand dollars on your tuition, and finally you graduated from a top architectural school. You just got a new job at a good architectural firm, and all a sudden, you realize that what you learned at school does NOT seem to help you at work AT ALL, and people at work talk in a language that you barely understand: Entitlement, RFI, Shop Drawings, CCD, Change Order, Punch List, etc. You feel like an idiot in your office and do not seem to know anything. This is a total cultural shock to you.

    1. What Went Wrong?

    Well, there is a huge gap between architectural education and architectural practice.

    a. When you are in architectural school, design courses mainly teach you conceptual design. In the real world of architectural practice, conceptual design is only a very small portion of the design process. All the real projects will go through many phases, including Entitlement, Conceptual Design/Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Document, Bidding and Negotiation, Construction Administration, and sometimes even Operation and Maintenance.

    b. In the real world, employees in an architectural firm are put in one of three categories: supporting staff (including administrative, marketing, and IT or CADD), designers, and management and production staff. If you are hired as a designer, you will have an easier transition from college to your job because a designer mainly deals with Entitlement, Conceptual Design/Schematic Design, and sometimes, Design Development work. If you are hired as a production employee, you will have a much harder transition, because almost everything you do in the office is what you have almost NEVER dealt with in school before. You will have to learn on-the-job.

    c.In college, the knowledge you learned is piecemeal in nature: you learn structure as one course, and architectural history as another, and design studio is yet another, and so on. In the real world of architectural practice, you can be dealing with all these elements in one single project, and you need to be able to integrate the knowledge you learned from different courses and create a synergy.

    Synergy is defined as the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.

    To help you make a smooth and easy transition from architectural school to architectural practice, I summarize my professional experience and tips in this book, which should be useful to readers.

    There are many, many things that you need to learn to work well in the real world of architectural practice, but there are only a certain number of tips that you need to know to be able to function and survive in the daily operation of an architectural firm or in the construction industry. In this book, we shall cover all the basic and pragmatic knowledge to help you handle the daily workload in an architectural office, and we shall tell you where you can find further information…”

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

    2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Lilia Grigoryan

    Dear Mr. Chen,

    I agree with every word that you said above. It shows the sad reality of the architectural profession. 

    Someone will spend minimum 50K on their education, get the professional degree but can’t be called an architect. They will start the career with 40K a year, spend 5-10 years to get a license. Finally, you are an Architect. But wait, there is a new reality... everyone can design and pull the permit on their house ( which is a huge portion of our industry), small commercial and multi family buildings can be signed by the structural engineer. 
    Maybe you as a well respected member of our community, AIA, NCARB should stand up to protect the future generation of young architects from non-architects hijacking their jobs, their titles (computer IT architect) after so many hurdles. I know this discussion goes beyond this comment.

    Suchitra , I am sure we will get licensed finally. Every fail makes as stronger!!!

    Good luck!

    -2
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Mitulkumar Patel

    To me, the problem is NCARB assumptions of "general knowledge". Most people by year 3+ have started specializing/ are working in a specific industry.  So, trying to test someone who is starting to gain (or in most cases have gained) industry-specific knowledge, on such a wide spectrum while also being very precise about what information you are going to test (some questions I have seen where I can point to a specific page in MEEB or picture in BCI (thank you Gang Chen btw for such a great book) all within 2 tests does not make sense to me. I think NCARB just wanted to say "hey look we have a fewer test now", so they crammed 80%+ of the profession in 2 tests and said good luck!

    In my experience, the key to passing these tests is not knowing everything but building on what you already know. There are some questions that are too specific or too confusing to understand. Just remember every question is 1 point and some questions are there just to throw you off and will not be counted either way.

    To comment on Suchitra Van's comment about bi-lingual/ESL test takers. I do think it makes a difference in the test. People who have spoken, read and comprehended only English their whole life will have an easier time the someone who has not; simply because they do not have to translate. I am going to assume you Gang Chen, (correct me if I am wrong) are bi-lingual; though you may understand 2 languages your brain has a preferred "default" language. Meaning when you encounter information in your non-preferred language it has to translate which can lead to misinterpretations in the worst case, but in the best case lag in your thought process, leading to slower response time. Now, how many fluent English speaking people are on these forums complaining about not enough time in the test? I agree with your statement about studying skills are not limited to language but your ability to analyze, understand and access what you have studied and correlate that information to what is being asked on the test is affected by language so any U/A level question is stacked against you. With that being said its an obstacle you have to overcome Suchitra there is no way around it. What I do when I am taking the test is go through the math, drag and drop, and hotpots questions 1st (I know I can get them), then answer all the questions which have 2-3 like questions, then the long explanations questions (mark off the info you think you don't need, and focus on reading only the relevant info, look for sentences with numbers). Remember every question is worth 1 point and the test is about answering most questions correctly.

    Good Luck!

    Mitul

    1
    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Suchitra Van

    thanks, Lilia, Mitul and Mr. Chen,

    I do think the way the tests are prepared has something to do with the low passing rates. while questions maybe B&W but answers can be in the grey area. Am I to assume candidates passing in 3.0 and 4.0 of 73% & 68% avg. know more than what we know now. Some of the candidates have 15+ years of experience. I know we have to be good test takers but I thought 5.0 was designed for candidates who have professional experience.

    I can post many screengrabs from my study resources that just does not have a clear explanation, I had my PhD English literature friends read my study resources from ASC and they say this is just not well written nor well explained and I feel the same way in the exam as well.

    Mitul, I do know when I gave PPD for the first time after studying only 2 weeks -I almost passed it, passed the 3 big sections, after rigorous studying my score kept going down.

    1
    Comment actions Permalink

Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk