PA is my fourth exam, and I found it super challenging. After failing the first time, I had to reevaluate my approach. This is what I did differently to pass
1 - WHEN TO STUDY. I studied in the morning before work. This was critical for me. I found that at the end of the day I was too tired/out of brain space. Making this my priority (instead of work), meant waking up early, w/ phone on airplane mode, making a cup of coffee and STUDYING. I studied in bed, I studied at my desk, I studied when it was still dark out, I studied in my PJs. All that mattered was that I studied first thing in the morning.
2. TIME/DURATION/CONSISTENCY: I studied for one hour. Consistency is what I focused on. It was better to study half an hour every day than 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I set a timer for an hour and when it was up, my time was up and I went about my day
3. SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS. Ballest and Brightwood were good overviews of the material, but I supplemented that knowledge with the following:
- Actually reading the 2015 IBC code (Chapters on Occupancy, Heights/Areas, Egress, ADA, Construction Type); supplemented this with Building Codes Illustrated which really made it easy to understand,
- Actually reading the ADA 2010 Standards,
- Site Planning and Design Handbook, CH 1,2,3,7,8,9
- Sun, Wind and Light -- I enjoyed this book...it's not too bad of a read and it breaks down complex topics clearly
4. WRITING, ORGANIZING, WRITING
- I find I retain info best when I write it, so thats what I did when I studied. I made so many flashcards...like so many...and then a month before the test, I rewrote all my flashcards and categorized/color coded them into within each Objective and subcategorized them further. EG. Yellow cards represented "Environmental and Contextual Conditions," within Yellow, I subcagorized flashcards further...there was a group for Sun, a group for Wind, a group for Noise etc. I took a look and checked myself to see if I had the distribution right...for example, around 40% of my cards should be for Building Analysis and Programming since that is how the test breaks down
- This helped me feel in control, and like I was creating something...because just sitting and reading is so freaking boring.
Man, I studied like hell for this test, I still didn't feel fully prepared, I still felt like I barely had time to finish...and I still thought I failed. Theses exams are a mind-f*ck, but don't give up....and give it your best. I hope the above helps. Good luck....practice, consistency and focus makes perfect.
Please sign in to leave a comment.