How's it going? I just passed my CE exam today. So back on September 7th, 2020 I posted passing PcM, and PjM:
and how I flamed out on CE. Second time around, while still challenging, I felt that if I didn't pass I was going to lose my S*!T. As I look back, I can say without a doubt, that the biggest mistake I made was to go through the questions as quickly as possible, just to have extra time to do the case studies. I said it back on my PcM, PjM post and I will say it again. That is a not a strategy that worked well for me.
The test is long. Spend every minute you can taking your time and thinking about each question. Treat each question as a self contained problem, only for that question. Pay attention to how it is worded. DO NOT RUSH yourself. Role play in your mind what should be happening.
As with with PcM, and PjM, I did not complete all the exam answers, I had 2 or 3 blank with 15 seconds left on the clock..oh well, that's life...I flippin' passed. You can too. I will say that when I finally arrived at the case study questions I had 1 hour and 35 minutes left. Yeah the case study problems eat time. Just sayin.
Ok what to expect on the test, having now taken it twice.
- Study Details...like know them. I spent the last two nights before the exam, actually hand copying details from Building Construction chapters 3 & 7...just the sections..not the axons...Also copied from details from Building Construction Illustrated, Chapter 21...and then anything I could on the internet.
- Know your contracts. A101, A201, B101, A701. That means listen to the lectures, and yes, read them as well. During the lectures, I read along, however before the night of the test, I went and read them again. ( not totally true..I just didnt have the gas to re-read the A201..its a beast) I did not just glance at the contracts...I read them..out loud actually. Trust it me helps.
- Know how to identify the lowest bidder. The Ballast ARE 5.0 Exam ( Recommend buying/using ) has an excellent example.
- Understand and Apply ADA, ( I used ANSI ICC A117i, Building Codes illustrated, Building Construction Illustrated, and ADA guidelines) especially for Egress ( think doors and stairs )
- Know how to read shop drawings...honestly you just have to be able to read and thinking critically, understand what you are looking at.
- Know how to read schedules
- Understand how to read a Gant Chart, and how moving items can impact specific delivery times
- What to expect on a job site, in terms of construction and be able to identify what is going. I will say this, I haven't been to a job site in 15 years...and I last swung a hammer, 20 years ago. So don't stress out about this...I mean really it's common sense stuff, but if you are reading and studying, you will pick it up without even realizing it.
- Study figures 9.1 in AHPP and figures 17.1- 17.6 AHPP
- Be comfortable reading site plans and floor plans. I know, sounds like a no brainer. However when you are under the gun for time, if you dont stay calm, this could eat you alive. Again, take your time, you need to...or you will totally screw the pooch.
- Ballast ARE Practice Exam 5.0 ( at the minimum, take the day before the exam...but dont take it too early, or else what you learn, may start to fade from memory. Frankly I always did mine the night before...I would say the results were satisfactory.)
- AHPP Wiley PDF...AHPP15e_ARE5_CE.PDF. Comes with the book if you bought the book..if you're resourceful, there are other ways to obtain it. But you still need to book, or else its fairly useless.
- Building Construction Illustrated Chapters 3 & 7,
- Building Construction Illustrated, Chapter 21..really anything to do with wall sections and penetrations
- Harden-Schiff Lectures...although mine also say Hanahanahahan...or something like that. These are a must. Very insightful and articulated.
- Last but not least, ARE 5.0 Community forum.....I heart you.
After you pass, and you will, hop in your car, pump your fist...maybe shout an expletive, call people...tell a random stranger ( from 6 ft away )..celebrate your non-idiocy, then hop on the forum and share your experience. Oh...have a beer...or glass of wine...or a shirley temple.
Be you, be awesome.
Dont forget, this test is about getting so many answer correct. You are scored for the totality of correct answers and not by a certain amount of questions per each area of expertise. With that in mind...there will be several questions where it might just pay to skip it, (looking at you case studies ). Hit the low hanging fruit first. In fact, read all the case study questions first, decided which ones you can do easily...and save the hard stuff for the end.
Best of luck!
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