Need Some Advice

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    Christopher Hopstock

    Hi Marilou - I totally hear you!  It's frustrating to feel like you know the material, but are experiencing setbacks due to the tools available on the exam and the wording of the questions.  In my opinion, it's extremely important to practice taking the exam while you're studying, using the exact tools you'll use on the real ARE.  It's just like getting good at anything - you need to simulate the actual activity that you'll be doing when you practice.

    We offer three full-length practice exams per division (18 total) and we've built our platform with the same case studies, whiteboard, and calculator features that NCARB uses.  We also offer quizzes after each section, so you can practice without committing to a full-length exam.

    We host virtual workshops for each division every week which are taught by licensed architects - while it's not one on one coaching, you can come with any questions that you have and get help from the instructor, who will be going over some of the tougher concepts within each division.

    Lastly, our free monthly podcast, ARE Live, has been focusing on using the whiteboard and calculator lately, and we've gone over some case study examples because we're hearing a lot of feedback just like you've shared here.  Check them out on our site if you have a chance and feel free to join us on 10/20 at noon central for the next one!

    Chris Hopstock RA
    Black Spectacles
    ARE Community

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    Gang Chen

    Marilou,

    Several tips may help you:

    1. Use the Search function in case study to save your time.
    2. You are right, hone your test taking skills, especially time management during the test. Do not spend too much time on any particular question. If you are not sure about an answer, read the question carefully, use your 1st impression/instinct to pick the answer, mark it and move on. Come back to check it later if you have time left. Make sure you save enough time for case study.

    Gang Chen, Author, AIA, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Rebekka O'Melia

    Hi Marilou. Which exams have you passed? Which do you need to pass? The professional practice exams - PjM, CE & PcM are the first ones I'd tackle, in that order. It took me about 6 months to study and pass those 3. Maybe you need to adjust your expectations a bit?  You are in the middle of the process, and that's ok!

    I also don't think that you should rely on one 3rd party study resource and expect to pass all 6 exams. Use the exam-specific study materials outlined in NCARB's matrix. Get help if you need it; it's difficult trying to do it alone. Use multiple brands of practice exams.  Practice zooming and using the other tools in the demo exam in your NCARB account.  Definitely do not scroll thru resources to find the answers.  NCARB has made the underlined Chapters in the table of contents a link to each chapter. There is a shortcut key to zoom. If your testing center has slow computers, try a different testing center, and make sure you report issues within 2 weeks to NCARB. Keep studying, it WILL eventually pay off!

    Rebekka O'Melia, RA, NCARB, Step Up ARE 5.0 Courses

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    Hans-Christian Karlberg

    Try not to think that you are "no longer a good test taker", in stead consider the idea that you are in fact becoming a good test taker.

    Not every exam has the heavy files in the case studies, so your next experience might be better. I agree with you, though, that the heavy drawing sets are there and the scrolling and zooming eat away at valuable minutes. I like to think that NCARB is doing something about this behind the scenes. In my last exam a few weeks ago I was happy to see a navigation improvement in one of the drawing sets. But prepare for those heavy files by remembering how to navigate efficiently (wisely using the search function and choosing odd words such as "Room 139" from the answer, remember how to read section symbols in plan, etc). Use the plus and minus symbol, top center of the pdf, to zoom. Stay diligent with each question and try not to let your mind panic. You can absolutely pass these exams.

    Consider a study group, in stead of a coach.

    Try out the NCARB practice exam to play around with the calculator. The keyboard should punch the numbers, aside from having to click the calculator.

    I agree with others that it is useful to taste different prep material. My favourites were Hyperfine and AREquestions

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    Marilou Denum

    Hello Everyone,

    Thank you all for the good tips and encouraging words. I actually practiced using the NCARB practice exams and tools for months but still I had a hard time navigating the resources during the actual exam. I also used the search tool but it did not work much because it can't find the words that I tried searching.

    I took the PDD and PPD on the testing center. Three weeks after that I took CE online. I was an hour late because the proctor can't see my ID clearly so I called the tech support a couple of times. It was stressful not getting in the actual exam right away. The exam interface online has smaller text than in the testing center especially on the case study references which made a lot harder to see. It's pretty small. But one thing good that I like in online proctoring is the flexibility of schedule, unlike in the testing center. There's only one testing center in my area and the next one is more than an hour drive from my place.

    Rebekka, I haven't passed any division as yet. I am currently studying for PJM and PCM. What is the zoom short cut and how to bookmark items?

    Gang, I did all the tips you mentioned during the exam but still not enough.

    Chris, I actually enrolled in Black Spectacles three years ago for PCM. I like the practice tests and the interface but not a single question in the actual exam was on the Black Spectacles review materials.

    Hans, are you done with all your exams? Do you know a study group that I can join? Thanks for the good tip on the calculator. I clicked the numbers on the calculator and did not use the keyboard. It will definitely help me next time that I will take the exams. Did you enroll in Hyperfine and AREquestions?

     

     

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    Hans-Christian Karlberg

    Hi Marilou. Yeah, a few weeks ago I passed my last one. I did a mixture of remote proctoring and in-person proctoring. Looking back, I think I preferred the in-person testing, even with a mask. The test center protocols were more familiar and predictable, which had a calming effect. Everyone is different.

    I might know a small study group. Message me on facebook.

    Yeah, I did get the Hyperfine bundle and the AREquestion quizzes plus the structures videos (useful for grasping the concepts better). 

    Good luck! You've got this!

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    Marilou Denum

    Hi Hans-Christian,

    Congrats! How long did it take you to finish all the 6 divisions? By the way, thanks for all the tips. I will surely send you a message on Facebook.

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