Ballast ARE 5 Review Manual & Ballast ARE 5.0 Exam Review

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    jay lin

    Ballast ARE 5.0 exam review is the second edition. It has 4 sections approved by Ncarb. There were quite a few updates to the contents to better meet the objectives outlined in Ncarb handbooks. If you don't own any ballast material, purchase the 2nd edition exam review bundle would be way better. If you own 1st edition, i don't know if it is worth it to buy the 2nd edition.

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    Cody Zimmerman (Edited )

    Thank you so much. That’s what I figured, it was the name change that was throwing me off. And yes I ended up buying the bundle! 

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    Michael Riscica (Edited )

    Old book on the left and the yellow (its actually an Amber color) book on the right is the brand new version of the Ballast book. I just received my copy in the mail yesterday. 

    I've spent maybe 30 minutes comparing the 2 books side by side. Here's my initial analysis:

    1. Ballast finally updated many of the blatant errors that we all know about. It took 10 years and 4 revisions of this book to see those changes happen. Victory!  
    2. There is not any major significant changes in my initial review. I have not had the opportunity to figure out if or where they added any new content.  When the ballast book updated from a 4.0 to 5.0 book there was some new information, however it wasn't significant.  
    3. The new book now uses colors to outline each different divisions and in all chapter titles. Having a full color ballast book brings zero value to this book. I personally hate the colors and think they look awful, it would have looked better if it was printed in b/w. That's just my opinion.

    Many people have asked me if they need to update their 4.0 and older 5.0 Ballast books and heres my opinion. 

    No! If you already have the Ballast book, I would not recommend spending the money to get an updated ballast book. It's all the same information. I think there are better ways to spend money on other resources to help you prepare for the ARE, instead of updating an older ballast book. 

    In 2020 with a plethora of ARE Study Materials, I feel like ballast book is becoming more of a reference guide for the ARE, rather then a learning tool. I always comparing to using a dictionary to try to help someone learn a foreign language.  Using a dictionary will help with learning a new language. However its not going to teach you how to speak a new language. There are better tools out there. 

    I see the Ballast books value as a reference guide, it is not the best tool to learn new topics. I think it's a must have resource for everyone studying for the ARE, however if your only studying Ballast i think your doing yourself a disservice. 

    I hope this is helpful. 

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    Cody Zimmerman

    Thanks for the in depth response. Yes that’s what I’ve learned from my research is that for the ARE 5.0 you need a loaded arsenal of study material and can no longer rely on only the Ballast Book.

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    Elizabeth Lagarde

    Thanks Michael for your review. After taking a year off I'm catching up with the changes. I didn't realize Ballast issued a new "NCARB Approved" edition.

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    Michael Riscica

    Yeah the "NCARB Approved" doesn't mean anything.  NCARB doesn't consider success rates with these products when they give out their stamp of approval. Which what you probably care about most. Talk to other Candidates about what study materials they have found success with before taking study materials recommendations from NCARB or the AIA.  

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    Peter Mall

    FWIW, I successfully passed all the exams using the "old book" ARE 5 - the blue one on the left. If you have the old one, no need to upgrade to the new one. Reading reviews above, noting no significant changes, upgrading is not needed. If you are starting your ARE journey, go ahead and get the newer one. The Ballast material is by no means perfect, you should augment it with your experience and additional study materials.

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    Mark Baker

    Personally, I used the FIRST EDITION (old version) and found the entire thing very helpful as a resource. 

    It broadly covers all the topics you need to be aware of, and it goes a bit deeper than surface information on others.

    I thought it was a quick helpful refresher on GENERAL structural concepts - I was terrified I did not understand.  It gave me a great overall understanding of SITE CONTEXT and design.  It was a pretty good refresher that helped reinforce all the other things I have studied. 

    That said, I studied A LOT of other things - MOSTLY SOURCE MATERIAL.  I limited my expenses because I have a family and am saving for a house.  So I did not have the hundreds and hundreds of dollars that various study programs, assistant materials, and other people's guides.  That's information for another post somewhere else.

    Mark

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    Jonathan VanderVelde

    I recently passed all 6 divisions, with about 20-30 days between tests.  Of course, I lost my job so I have a lot of study time, but I honestly spent no more than 50 hours on each test.  And here's the interesting thing: I studied NOTHING but Ballast.  I had the version 2.0 review book, the example questions and the example tests. And flash cards.   It was kind of an experiment, and it (luckily) worked out for me.  I also watched the NCARB videos on each division, and the free version of the Black Spectacles prep for each division.  Each of those videos takes about 40 minutes.

    So to all those people insisting that you need a large compendium of different source materials I say "not necessarily".

     

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    Mark Baker

    Congrats Jonathon.

    I just like to remind everyone, that probably no two of us study in the same fashion.

    But I too did not spend a lot of money buying every recommended book and study program out there.

    Mark, Archizam

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