PDD... Passed and DONE

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    Robin Kuc

    Big congrats!  Kudos to you for prevailing!

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    Aleksandar Stojkovic

    The Handbook i think states that integration of Building systems and materials is 31 to 37% and Construction documents is 32 to 38 % (so the two together is more than 60%).

     

    Code stuff is 8 to 14 %.

     

    So it makes sense that there wasn't a lot of code stuff. But good to anyways! :)

     

    Congratulations on completing all the exams!

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    Joseph Petrarca

    I want to encourage everyone to keep at it.

    This is a long process but it is very do-able.  I started in version 3.0 and have been at it for sixteen years, I have probably taken twelve of these...I've lost track.

    I will say that as you do more divisions, I believe it gets easier because you are able to learn from past experience.  A great deal of this is test-taking strategy, confidence and knowing the appropriate depth to study the resource materials.

    As far as test-taking strategy, here are my tips.

    • Know that there are going to be items that you do not know.  You cannot prepare 100% for this and you do not need to.
    • Out of the 120 questions (or whatever) on a division, NCARB puts in several "trial questions" that are not counted toward you score.  When you see the "question from outer space" that you never heard of before, it's likely that you have come upon a Trial Item.
    • You need to get the equivalent of a "D" to pass.  Given that you have all spent many years in a high-intensity environment at school and succeeded, I am sure that you can get a D at the very minimum.  Remember, nobody, including you, ever knows if you got an A or a D.  So don't be a perfectionist (like most of us are) and think you need that A.
    • None of the study materials reproduce the exact level of detail and variety that you encounter on an actual exam.  (Ben Norkin's Hyperfine comes close...and is a bit more in-depth than you will encounter...which to my mind is exactly perfect)) Just know that if you study adequately, you will have the resources to pass (even if it looks like your actual exam questions seem to relate more to another division than the one you are taking!).
    • Watch out for "time sucks".  These "Quicksand Questions" can be a major trap as they can take a long time to complete.  Sometimes the reality is you don't need to do actual calculations to arrive at an answer- there's a more global way to think about the problem and narrow down answers using reasoning.  Sometimes you just have to do a long series of fairly complex calculations.  Here's the thing: These questions are just one point, just like the one that asks "what are the dimensions of a 2x4?".  Think of it as a video game.  You shoot the flying saucers as they go past.  The big fat slow ones are easy to hit and they are one point.   The fast little ones go up and down and they are hard to hit.  Your strategy? They are all one point, don't bother wasting your time and getting frustrated with the little UFOs.  Keep hitting the big ones, your confidence and your score will go up.  As soon as you see a question that looks like it will take more than three minutes, decide on an answer in ten seconds or less, mark it For Review" and move on.  Never leave a question blank.  When you have time at the end, go back and tackle these more challenging ones.  it is very likely, at that point, that you hav4e already passed, so feel good as you tackle these.  If there are a few that just seem crazy...that's OK! Take a guess and don't feel badly.  I did this on several code questions that required looking up multiple points of information in BOCA and make a decision.  I knew how long it would take me and that my odds of success were not high...mark it 1Hour, or whatever, and move on.
    • Now, that being said, there is an upcoming change to the ARE. I have not seen it on the NCARB website but I have this from a reliable source.  Starting soon, if you take a break, all of the answers you have completed at that point WILL NOT be able to be reviewed or changed AFTER your break.  So a major part of my test-taking strategy is thrown off.  The obvious first approach is to not take a break.  Or decide if it's worth it or not.  This is being driven by the fact that Prometric is going to give you a green locker key (instead of the yellow one we now get).  This means you can access anything on your break, including cellphones, notes, books, etc.  but, you then cannot revise anything that you have already answered (or left blank)
    • Obviously most of you know about the new NCARB ARE "whiteboard" software being mandated and that paper and pen will no longer be allowed.  All your neat little diagrams and calculations will need to be done on the Etch-A-Sketch so practice on that thing (see the NCARB sample exam) until you figure out how to write equations and diagrams as you normally do on paper.
    • As you study, make flashcards or cheat sheets, making diagrams wherever possible using "your own brain thinking".  Not normal flash cards like "Q:  What is a firewall?  A:  A fire-rated partition that extends to, or above, the roof deck and effectively separates the building into two distinct and separate buildings"  Instead, draw a firewall, make diagrams, point to things that are important.  Use different color pens to highlight the critical stuff or to distinguish certain elements.  As you later study and are reviewing these, keep a pile of those that seem to be super critical, or topics that are challenging for you".  This is your go-to pile at the end of studying.  Keep reviewing THAT pile until you're comfortable and the pile gets much smaller.
    • You can do it!!!
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    David Kaplan

    Congrats on being done!!  

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    Kathryn O'Regan (Edited )
    • Out of the 120 questions (or whatever) on a division, NCARB puts in several "trial questions" that are not counted toward you score.  When you see the "question from outer space" that you never heard of before, it's likely that you have come upon a Trial Item.

    That's interesting if true, because I recently got a few questions on CE and PjM that were literally word salad to my brain.  LIke, ZERO comprehension, no better than random words. "If the contractor does X, the architect should: 1) eat parking space lapdog 2) benign contract 3) bowl 4) put up a tree."  I'm not kidding. OK, obv that's not from the test but that's how it came across to me.

    if you take a break, all of the answers you have completed at that point WILL NOT be able to be reviewed or changed AFTER your break.

    This is true.  NCARB staff confirmed this during the Zoom chat yesterday and there are numerous posts.  Funny, I never thought to skip ahead to the Case Studies #smrt :P  My advice would be to try to not take a break.

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    Joseph Petrarca

    . "If the contractor does X, the architect should: 1) eat parking space lapdog 2) benign contract 3) bowl 4) put up a tree."

    Kathryn,
    That is HILLARIOUS! hehehehehe

    Yeah, I tried one to take on the case studies first. It's not for me. If you start with the hardest stuff, it's easy to get discouraged. That's just me.

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    Tony Rambrich

    So if I mark a question, but do not answer it, go on break and come back.  Will I still be able to answer that question?

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    Julia De Vito

    Tony,

    Once you've viewed a question, even if not answered and flagged, it will be locked after the break.

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