CE Fail - Any Tips?

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    Jessica Crouch

    Hi Farsa! If it makes you feel any better I failed CE as well and am retaking it soon. I felt very confident going in as well but there were just tricky scenario questions, I agree. I studied the BCI for waterproofing and details but it was really lacking in curtain wall details, so I recently have been studying from Keith Boswell's "Exterior Enclosures" book (can find on amazon) to improve my understanding of waterproofing at every possible type of curtain wall and wall system. Also just researching looking up more details is helpful.

    Designer Hacks quizzes are great, but overall are super easy compared to the exam. I've used WeARE as a helpful tool in past that has helped me pass other exams. Their formatting is super similar to the exams, which I appreciate, and it's around same price as Designer Hacks.

    Contracts: Honestly, just know the A201 like the back of your hand, and after that, the B101, and G701. Know what the forms look like and how to fill out the G-series. Understand bidding super well and the types of bonds - I found myself re-reading the contracts to understand the bonds/financial reqs better for the tricky scenarios NCARB likes to give.

    Drainage: I also found the exam had more drainage questions than I expected so I went back and studied roof drainage plans, scuppers, etc. BCI is light on these as well, so when in doubt I've found some helpful YouTube videos on these- super helpful if you are a visual learner.

    Practice Questions: I'm sure you've already studied off these, but I've used the following-

    • Ballast CE Practice Exam
    • Ballast CE Quizzes
    • NCARB Handbook 5.0 CE questions
    • NCARB Handbook 4.0 CDS (this has 40 questions and basically translates to CE 5.0, really helpful).
    • Hyperfine Practice Exam (he also has exercises you can find for free online or youtube tutorials)
    • Designer Hacks quizzes (easiest of any, but if you want to fly through quickly)
    • WeARE CE exam/quizzes (recommend these over Designer Hacks for difficulty closer to exam)

    Hope this helps! I'm hoping to pass CE myself soon, so wish you luck as well. 

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    Benjamin Eckhard

    Hey Farsa! I didn't see you mention the Contracts as a study resource. The study guides you mentioned are great resources, but for CE it's really important that you go straight to the primary resources, namely the A201 and B101. You should know these intimately. The bulk of these exam is really focused on these contracts, especially the relationship of various parties and their responsibilities on a job site.

    Pay special attention to methods of dispute resolution.

    When you are taking the Case Studies, be sure to use the "find" tool to quickly search keywords within the resources given.

    Ben, Archizam

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    Devina Parbhoo

    Don't give up! You can do it!
    I made a YouTube video of all of the resources I used in order to pass the exam in ONE month. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/-qPZkheCijE

    Happy Studying!

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    Saman Fattahi

    I completely feel your pain, had the same experience like a month ago. I used black spectacle exams and videos and i read the contracts but the level of questions were way harder than those study material. 

    does anyone know a good resource for details?

     I may switch to take PA exam this time because I pretty much got disappointed from my performance in CE exam , I'm not sure though if that's a good approach to take another exam when you fail one. 

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    Rebekka O'Melia

    If you are really inexperienced with construction detailing, you may want to switch gears and take PjM next instead.

    Use the NCARB handbook and the demonstration exam, which is accessed inside your ncarb account and know all that material COLD.

    Never scroll through reference materials during the exam.  You can use the search tool (hidden down in the corner) and type in a keyword - all the instances of it will pop up.  You can also click on any of the underlined chapter headings (in the Table of Contents) in the reference materials and it'll bring you right to that chapter!  (I was so mad when I accidentally discovered this!  😡 )

    I found the Fundamentals book and Ballast are helpful for details.  Anything I wasn't familiar with I looked up construction videos on industry-standard channels.  I watched videos of an EPDM roofing job and masonry with flashing.

    Hope this helps!

    Rebekka O'Melia, B.Arch, M. Ed, Registered Architect, NCARB, Step UP ARE 5.0

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