Hi everyone! After almost a year since passing PjM, I finally got back on the saddle and passed PcM yesterday!
I previously shared this post on the PjM discussion thread, talking about some test taking tips and tricks that I thought helped me pass, and I wanted to do the same for this exam. I pretty much followed those same test taking tips, but I wanted to add some more specific ones:
1. Sharpen your speed reading skills: from what I gathered, there are a whole lot of super long questions on this test. These scenario based questions often require multiple correct answers as well (refer to the PCM practice questions on the ARE 5.0 handbook and you'll see what I mean!) which adds to the complexity of actually getting a question correct. Because you are also running against the clock, it can be overwhelming to see a bunch of text on your screen and feel discouraged to be able to fully comprehend the question. My tip: practice speed reading with your practice tests. Whether you're using Designer Hacks, Ballast, Amber Book, or what have you, it's one thing to master the answers to those questions but it's another to master the ability to read a question very quickly and comprehend it with just a few keywords...and speaking of keywords, that leads me to my next tip:
2. Look for context clues: while I feel that speed reading helps you not spend too much time on a question, there were still a few questions that i felt that i need to really read through and understand because it seemed like all the answers provided made sense, making it harder to decide which answers were correct. my next tip would be: don't focus too much on the answers provided, but instead, focus on the specific wording of the question. I cannot stress enough how important the wording of the questions are. After taking this test, I can see how people can miss a lot of questions simply by not dissecting the questions for the key words.
3. Know the basic financial concepts: I definitely overstudied on this one but better to overstudy than not. I memorized all the ratios and equations by heart. I think though that in the end, there's no point in memorizing the ratios and equations if you don't have a grasp on the basic concepts behind them. The Amber book helped me a lot on this one!
4. Understand these other concepts: risk, insurance, business structures, project delivery methods. Best way to study for this is to write them in your own words. Or create your own charts. Really get behind the concepts and how they're all related to each other. There's no point in memorizing them if you can't discern the nuances and their applications.
4. Practice with the Demo Exam and the 5.0 Handbook - I mentioned this on my last post as well, but I cannot stress enough how helpful these tools are, especially to get you in the zone for your test day. I did the demo exam the night before my test (even answering through all the questions from the other divisions) and it honestly calmed my nerves a lot by just being able to simulate the feeling of actually taking the test. It may also help other people to take your practice tests with a mask on just to really get you in the zone and to not have that get in the way of your test taking.
Overall, I thought this test was "easier" than PjM simply because I felt that it really was more of a test of your question comprehension skills. I feel that you can get away with just studying the PCM references NCARB provided on the handbook, but of course, it never hurts to diversify your study materials!
And for those who may ask - for this test, I studied for 27 days: 1.5 hrs on the weekdays, and 3.5-4.0 hrs on the weekends. Did a good amount of reading, but if anything, loading myself up with a variety of practice tests really helped me the most.
Hope this helps, and best of luck!!
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