Studying for the California Supplemental Exam (CSE)

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    boris shirvanian

    Hi Emily: Congratulations on your passing of the ARE. 

    Although you will be officially called an architect in any of 49 states, obviously each has their own requirements of paperwork, regardless you have reached your destination, however, California is quite singular in this approach, as you may have found out that for yourself.

    Welcome to CSE path.

    There are many facets to this exam. 

    Let me know how I can be of any help for your prep for the CSE.   

    boris

     

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    Lilia Grigoryan

    Hi Boris,

    Are you done with CSE or still studying?

    I am also done with ARE and studying for CSE, planning to take in next two months. Any advise.

    Thank you for help,

    Lilia

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    boris shirvanian

    Hi Lilia and Emily: I took the exam about two weeks ago, and I was unable to pass it.

    Apparently, the first section of the exam; Project Scenario binder which is provided at the exam center did not display the correct information with questions asked on the screen.  I had to look for it and some valuable time was lost due to this error.  Anyhow, by the time the administrator and I looked through the booklet, there were three project scenarios and mine was at the end of the booklet.  That caused me a huge setback.  Basically, it is suppose to have (2) scenarios not 3.

    My advice, try to spend a minute for each question, obviously you will have some leftover for quick review.  

    I have couple of books for the exam and each addresses the exam quite differently with lots of information.

    I will be more than happy to discuss about the exam and study material.

    thanks

    boris

    818 679 0786

     

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    Lilia Grigoryan

    Thank you Boris and Gang!

    Gang do you have new materials or book on CSE?

    Your book on Amazon dated 2014 but CA website for CSE references updated 2017. Please advise.

    Lilia

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    Gang Chen (Edited )

    Updating my CSE book is on my to do list, but the basic materials for CSE stays pretty much the same over the years. I still get many feedbacks from people thanking me for my CSE book helping them pass the latest version of CSE.

    My plan is to do one mock exam book and one guidebook for each of the ARE 5.0 division. I am done with the mock exam books for all divisions and guidebooks for 4 divisions, and I am working on the guidebooks for  PPD and PDD, once I am done with them, I’ll be updating my CSE book.

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

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    Jiacheng Li

    Hi Emily,

    I'm a recent grad and I am taking my CSE soon. I've started studying and would love to hear your experience. It's been pretty difficult finding good resources. Please shoot me a message 3472055800 www.linkedin.com/in/jc-li-016758122

    JC 

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    Sanaz Amindeldar

    Hi all, 

    Is anyone currently studying for CSE? I am looking for a study group and would appreciate it if you could let me know about such a group. Please email me if you are interested to study together 

    deldar.snz@gmail.com

    Thanks,

    Sanaz 

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    Mehran Shahverdi

    Hello all,
    I took the CAE exam today and I failed for 2nd times.
    I would be happy to share my experiences/study materials and do study group in LA or West Valley.
    Mehran

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    John Bellisario (Edited )

    Hi Mehran- Sorry for the bad news. If you are up to it, I would love to hear about your experience, as I prepare to take my exam. Thank you!

    John@studioprimeinc.com

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    Meldia Hacobian

    ​I passed the CSE with the amazing help of the CSE Bootcamp. 

    The CSE Boot Camp Coaching Program - Young Architect

    I also used the CSE Prep and Woo's study guides.

    Then I used the CSE Infographics which are diagrammatic and visual notes. This study aid allowed me to organize the information I was learning with visual cues rather than pure memorization. It is organized by color and geometry to help you understand the relationships between the content. Not only was this a great additional source for studying, but it was the only source I needed for reviewing the last few weeks before the exam.

    CSE (cseinfographics.com)

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    Esther Lee

    I am looking for study partners. 
    Do you still have the study group?

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    Meldia Hacobian

    The CSE Boot Camp Coaching Program - Young Architect

     

    This was super super helpful! I HIGHLY recommend this, you get an amazing community to study with and great resources! 

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    Jian Liu

    Hi everyone, I would like to join a CSE study group. Please feel free to contact me through liujian19@g.ucla.edu

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    Fernando Mingo Jozami

    Hi all,

    I also would like to join a CSE study group in Los Angeles. Please send me a private message if you like.

    Thanks.

    Fernando

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    Esther Lee

    I am studying twice a week in zoom meeting.
    Email me at eleejy@gmail.com if you are interested. I need your email to send zoom link.

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    Devina Parbhoo

    I made a YouTube video explaining all of the best resources to study for the CSE as well as my study schedule. Check it out here and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any future videos! https://youtu.be/hfUeGUUkELk

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    Pedro Espinet

    Hello! 

    I'm writing this after passing the CSE on my first try on Friday. A little background: I'm a licensed architect in Texas, I was recruited by a firm in Northern California and after moving began to plan and study to take the CSE. Like most people, I dove straight into the CSE Test Plan and quickly realized how cumbersome and time consuming it was going to be to read through each one. I would highly recommend the study guide produced by Archibald Woo, it is extremely comprehensive and connects the information provided to each of the Task and Knowledge Statements listed in the Test Plan. The Practice Test by Archibald Woo was super helpful as well, it was much more difficult than the exam itself. If, however you have a limited budget, i would recommend BYoung Design's reference materials, Brynn does a great job of putting together some reference materials including notes from someone named Carol Allen Chacon (a licensed architect in CA). These notes are basically the digest version of the Woo study guide. It is a great place to start. I would also recommend reviewing the AIA Standard Contracts (although the Woo Guide does a good job of condensing each party's responsibilities in reference to each document). It is extremely important to understand what Agencies will have jurisdiction over certain project types and locations as well as what Acts empower and authorize these Agencies to administer them. Be sure to study CEQA and its workflow until you know it like the back of your hand. Beyond that, you will be leaning on a lot of the information you used to pass the ARE's. It was a much less daunting test as the questions are all multiple choice and will only ever ask for one single answer (not 'check ANY that apply' like the ARE's had on some items). Another good thing to know is that the cut score is 74% so aim for that number and you'll be sure to pass! 

    I'll be checking back and I'll be glad to answer any questions you guys might have. Best of luck to you all!

    Cheers,

    Pedro E.

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    Alexis Briski

    Than you for taking the time to share your experience. I will pick up the Woo exam and study guide., A

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    Jennifer Hamrick

    I just passed the CSE today on my first try too! 

    Thank you everyone for the info posted above, it was incredibly helpful!

    Here's what I ended up doing:

    I listened to the Whole Enchilada and took extra notes along the way in the study guide always looking further into the source material he links to. Read the flash cards once, then read all the study guide notes a second time before taking the Whole Enchilada practice tests and Project Scenarios. After that I tested with the Woo Practice Tests, since they are the hardest. The general consensus seems to be any score over 50% is good for these. Next I moved on to the Designer Hack test (mid-grade in difficulty, I got 85%). Ending with the OMCES Practice Tests by the Whole Enchilada. I recommend going through the Category Tests first w/ comments, then moving on to the mixed question tests (I was getting 95% on these).

    Take your time looking over the questions you get wrong on the practice tests. I found using the 3 resources for the practice tests helped me see where I was less competent for topics that might not have been covered by the Whole Enchilada. Also, keep in mind that you should approach the questions in a similar way to the ARE's. Sometimes it isn't necessarily about finding the right answer, but crossing off the wrong ones. 

    Good Luck Everyone!

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    James Kehl (Edited )

    I believe the 'Archibald Woo' / 'CSE ED' exams are inferior to the 'Whole Enchilada' resource. I personally found many of the former's mock exam questions and answers to be poorly worded, plus a minority of the answers have an explanation in the exam version I purchased.

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    Heather Tipton

    James, while yes, I agree the typos in the Woo practice exams are a bit annoying, I found I was not adequately prepared for the rigor of the exam questions through using TWE alone. (As even Doucette admits his practice questions are meant to be easy/straightforward.)

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    James Kehl

    After having passed the CSE exam on my first go, I will double-down on my previous statement. My impressions of the exam are that it's basically an ARE exam with a 'slice' of 'California stuff' thrown in. If you're going to purchase a resource to study for it, you need just one that is comprehensive and clearly, straightforwardly explains the material unique to CA.

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    Mahshid Ghaeeni Hassaroeeyeh

    Hi,

    I am looking for study material for CSE exam. Can anyone help me with the material?

     

    Thank you

     

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    Sogol Alesafar

    Hi All,

    I was wondering if someone can clarify the structure of the CSE exam. I haven't found much clear information about it online so was hoping someone who has taken the exam can help. I wish they had demo exams online just like the AREs so at least we could become familiar with the interface/ format. 

    1) What are the exact number of questions? I see some sources say there are a total of 130 questions out of which 100 are scorable. There are 3 sections, 2 Project scenarios and 1 multiple choice section. Is that correct?

    2) Do each Project Scenario have 30 questions or 30 is combined distributed between the 2? And how are they timed? We have an hour for the total of 30 Project Scenario questions and 2.5 hours for the 100 multiple choice questions?

    3) Will there be a digital whiteboard like the AREs or we can use paper to take notes etc.?

    4) I've heard many people get a wrong set of project scenario questions, can someone explain how this works and what's the best way to know which one pairs with our questions to avoid wasting time?

    Thank you!!

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    Mariana Diaz

    Hi Sogol,

    There is a CSE basics youtube video from Brynn Young that is pretty helpful.

    1) This is answered in the CSE handbook.

    2) Project scenario is around 30 questions combined.

    3) They give you something to take notes with, no digital whiteboard.

    4) The booklet is not wrong, it is just not in the same order as how you get the project scenarios in the exam, so you have to look at the title of the PS and find it in the booklet.

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    Alan Yang

    Hello:

    Is there anyone who is in a group that I can join or start a new group together, to study virtually together for CSE?

     

    Alan

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    Sogol Alesafar

    Hi Mariana,

    Thank you so much for taking the time & answering my questions :) 

    Best,

    Sogol

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    Melanie D'Souza

    Alan and Sogol - would either or both of you be interested in studying for the CSE together? I am assuming you are still working towards the CSE. If so, please email me at melanieedu@gmail.com  

    Thank you & all the best!

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    Sanaz Amindeldar

    Hi all, 
    Is anyone still looking for a study partner to study virtually together for CSE?? Or do you know any study groups? Thanks for your help!

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    Cesar Diaz

    I am looking into starting to study for the CES Exam, anyone looking to start a virtual Study Group? I'm located in Houston, Texas. Also, did anyone here recently take the Young Architect Bootcamp program? Did it help? Would you recommend it? Thank you in advance!

     

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