Passed!

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    Thara Messeroux

    Congrats on passing, Patricia! And thanks for writing this post! Which practice exam do you recommend, please, to get ready for the test?

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    Patricia Bourgeois

    Thanks!!

    Simply put, this is what I used and why:

    Walking the ARE – It was highly recommended. It was hard.  I sat and took it about a month before the exam.  I did poorly.  Then I went through it with the answers and really thought each explanation through.  Then the weekend before the exam I took it again.  I did much better, definitely passing.  But again, I went through each question, right and wrong and really studied what was going on.

    We ARE – Also highly recommended. It has a series of online test for each exam.  For PcM, it was another test that I took a few weeks out, then retook the week before.  It also gives explanations.  I think its about $39 for each division.  But I purchased all at once to save money.  

    DesignerHacks - inexpensive.  Easy, but very useful tool.  You can take 10, 20 or 80 (not sure, but it's a lot more than 20) question exams as many times as you want.  It pulls randomly from a good database of questions that they are constantly adding to, so each time is a different experience.  Worth it. Other people have posted about this, and have a good explanation.

    ArchiPrep - If you are an AIA member the cost is less, this was worth the money.  It has a "study program" and a series of practice quizzes which give immediate explanation, then a series of quizzes that give the score at the end and then you have to go through each one to get an explanation.  It also shows how many days till your exam... a feature I found useful, since I have scheduled all my exams.

    Then there is the Amber Book.  I bought this back in January with the full intention of following the suggested study plan and then testing all at once.  But then Covid happened, and life and I got scared, so I started using the materials listed above.  But this program, although the most expensive, was by far the best.  Michael Ermann is a gifted teacher and really explains things well.  If it weren't for his finance videos, I would have been lost on that part.  I recently discontinued it to purchase another program that I regret, and will be discontinuing at the end of this month and signing back up for the Amber book to get me through the rest of the tests.  It's worth it to me.  I'll give up other things to make this work!

    Other items I had on hand were Ballast and Kaplan.  PDF versions. I did not read the material, I only used them for the quizzes and practice test.  Once again, I really studied the answers.  Why the answer was correct and why the other options were wrong.   

    Unfortunately, there is not a lot of practice for the finance questions out there.  However, there is a post on here that Michael Ermann responded to, that was a good explanation and is in the Amber book.  I was lucky and my test had very little “math” in it.  Or at least math that I considered to be difficult (i.e., finance).  There was some, but apparently not enough to get a failing grade.  My strategy where finance equations was concerned was to just try, hopefully come up with one of the answers given and rely on the fact that I had really prepared for the other sections of the exam.  But like I said in my case, there weren’t too many finance math questions. Very fortunate there!

    On my test, the biggest item I found was about risk.  In all forms… risk management, who takes risk in a contract, risk where clients are concerned, etc… if it was about risk, it was on there.  And responsibility.  Also a few questions on staff management… what staff member should be assigned to this job and why.  Is it because of their current hour load (utilization rate) or their experience, or both.  And time management.  The case studies revolved around budget and staffing.  NCARB has you sign a disclaimer saying you won’t share what the questions were, but I can honestly tell you I do NOT remember.  I was so nervous and if my life depended on it, I could not recount what was asked.  I was just glad it was done.  Pass or fail.  But thankfully it was a pass!!! 😊  I hope this helps.  Good luck to you. 

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    Thara Messeroux

    Hello Patricia! Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation! Also, can I email you about PcM, please? My email is tharamesseroux@yahoo.com . Please, email me an “Hello” if that’s ok with you? If not, that’s fine too. I am going to try to implement all your helpful advice! Good luck moving forward 😊!!

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