The top ARE 5.0 study materials: books, courses, and practice exams

It’s entirely possible to study for the ARE 5.0 with just the references in the Handbook. But, that method can be not only time consuming, but really expensive.

A better way is to pick some good study materials. But which one?

That’s what I’m here to answer!

Best ARE 5.0 Study Guides: the Guide for the Overwhelmed series

The Guides for the Overwhelmed series are our choice for the best study guides for the ARE 5.0.

What’s good about the Guide for the Overwhelmed series

  1. They’re designed from the ground up specifically for the ARE 5.0, unlike other guides which are just converted from the ARE 4.0.
  2. They’re written in a clear, engaging fashion without typos.
  3. They succinctly cover all the important topics on the ARE 5.0, without leaving any content gaps.
  4. They include practice questions with complete and detailed explanations.
  5. At $100 for all 6, they’re well priced.

Runner up: Ballast’s PPI ARE Review Manual. While it is a mainstay of ARE materials, the most recent edition is full of content errors and typos. Plus, it has not been updated for the ARE 5.0.

Best ARE 5.0 course: the Amber Book

The Amber Book course is our choice for the best course for the ARE.

What’s good about the Amber Book

  1. It contains clear, well-animated videos on all relevant ARE topics.
  2. It comes with well explained practice questions.
  3. The lecturer is engaging and explains things well.
  4. It’s been updated for the ARE 5.0.

Now, the only thing I’d warn people about is that this is a pricey course. It costs $390/month! So, be aware of that.

Runner up: Black Spectacles. These are also an ARE mainstay, but, frankly, they can’t be your only resource for the ARE. They’re just too general.

Best ARE 5.0 practice exams: PPI2Pass

PPI2Pass is our choice for the best practice exams for the ARE.

What’s good about PPI2Pass

  1. There aren’t really many good options for practice exams, but these are the best of what we got.
  2. The questions are more difficult and more dependent on random facts than the ARE, but… they exist!

Runner up: no great runner ups. This isn’t a great option either, but it’s the best of what we got.

Overwhelmed with ARE studying? Here’s your free ARE 5.0 study plan to pass all 6 exams.

If you’re like most ARE studiers, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed.

These exams are long and hard. They test entirely disparate topics (drainage! masonry! insurance!), sometimes back-to-back.

So what are you going to do? Give up? No! You’re going to pass this thing. Here are your steps.

(By the way, I know you’re busy. You don’t want to read this whole thing now? No problem! Sign up below to get it sent to your email.)

ARE 5.0 Study Plan

Before you start studying

  1. Open the Handbook in a new tab. I know it’s intimidating, but we don’t need to worry about that right now. We just need it open.
  2. Go to the section on whichever exam you plan on taking first. My recommendation is to take the exam 1, 2, 6 then 3, 4, 5 , as there’s a ton of overlap in those first 3 and those last 3. Up to you, though.
  3. For just this first exam, go through the topics and write down the ones that are unfamiliar to you. If you want to skip this step and just get a list of all the topics on all the exams, I can email them to you.
  4. Once you’ve done this, go to the section at the end of that exam in the Handbook marked “References”. These are the books you’re going to need to obtain. Don’t worry about getting all the books, though. I have a list of just the ones you need. (Note: you can also shortcut this by purchasing guides or a course, which will be cheaper than purchasing the books).
  5. Last, dip your toe into the water by going back and trying the practice questions in the Handbook. Don’t worry if you struggle. This is just so you get a sense of how the ARE asks questions.

While you’re studying

  1. Time to crack open those books! Now, the ARE is a tougher exam than you’ve taken before. You cannot study for it just by reading through these books like a novel.
  2. Instead, focus in on the specific sections of the books. Take notes on concepts, and make flashcards for facts. If you’ve never made flashcards before, this is the perfect time to start.
  3. If you’re not sure which facts to focus on, I have an email course that lists the exact facts and topics the ARE loves to test.
  4. When you’re taking notes, make sure to recall those questions you did from the Handbook. The ARE loves to come back to a few questions: what’s legally necessary? what’s the cheapest option? what’s the most environmentally friendly option? Your notes should focus on these questions.
  5. Once you’ve finished with your notes, go back to the ARE Handbook. Your notes and flashcards should have enough information to solve the questions.
  6. If they do have enough information, but you still have trouble doing the question, put the question in an error log. Record the question, the answer, and the correct process, then make sure you go back and review the process for solving the question.

Before you take the exam

  1. Before the exam, you should have memorized all your flashcards, mastered all the questions in your error log, and understood all your notes.
  2. If you are unsure on whether you’re set, you should try practice questions from another source, like my Guide to the Overwhelmed series.
  3. Last, watch the ARE demonstration exam from NCARB before you start with the test.
  4. Enjoy the test!

How I passed ARE Exam 6, Construction and Evaluation, with no construction experience

Summary

This is a report from Clarissa Hoskison from the ARE 5.0 Community.

She studied for ARE Exam 6 for 4.5 weeks, studying 2-3 hours a day during the weekday, and 4-6 hours a day during the weekend.

She took a practice exam every weekend day.

Her preferred materials were Hammer and Hand, Building Construction Illustrated (Chapter 7), the Schiff Harden lectures, and the actual AIA contracts.

She took the Ballast exams twice.

For more information, check out my guide on how to study for the ARE Exam 6, Construction and Evaluation, or read on for the original post.

Original post

I just passed CE this week after passing PcM and PjM late in 2018! These three exams have a lot of overlap, so make sure to take these three together before moving on to other exams.

3 down, 3 to go! Gotta keep pushing forward. I have found a lot of help from the NCARB Community, so I’ll continue to post here after my exams to give any tips/tricks I have come across along my way!

Study Schedule

I studied for 4.5 weeks (starting over the holidays). I managed to study 2-3 hours a day (1 hour during lunch and 1-2 hours after work) during the week. During the weekends, I tried to study anywhere from 4-6 hours a day. I would study 2-3 hours and then take a practice exam on each day of the weekend.

I would mix up the below study materials each day to make sure I touched all my bases for this exam.

Few pointers I would recommend to those who don’t have as much construction experience (like me). I made sure to review construction photos and construction details everyday to get a better sense of what to expect. I still felt a little underprepared for this exam, given my limited construction administration experience, but I managed to use my limited knowledge to answer the exam questions.

I always take my exams on Mondays to give myself a full weekend away from work before the exam.

Study Materials

https://hammerandhand.com/best-practices/manual/

Use this website to explore construction details and construction photos. Really helpful to get a grasp on how a detail translates to real life.

Building Construction Illustrated

CH 7 – Thermal and Moisture Protection

Really helpful to understand at flashing details, weep holes, vapor retarder locations, etc.

I used google a lot as well when BCI was not as detailed as I wanted it to be. BCI is a great tool to understand basics, and then google as necessary to find more detailed descriptions.

CSI Masterformat

I didn’t buy the books recommended for this since they were so expensive. I just googled the basic format of the subgroups and divisions. Really helpful to understand basic divisions in the Facility Construction Subgroup.

The Building Construction Illustrated also has CSI Masterformat information on the pages.

Ballast

I read through the Ballast review material twice. Once throughout my 4 weeks studying and the last time right before my exam. This is a helpful last reminder of the material without getting too much into the details of the material.

Ballast Practice Exam

I take this exam twice throughout my studying timeline. Once at the very beginning to understand where my weak points are and once the weekend before my exam to understand if I have any final reviews I need to do. I find these exams to be a bit long-winded, but very helpful.

Ballast Practice Problems

These practice problems test basic knowledge over the chapters in the Ballast Review guide. I went over these a few times throughout my studying.

Architect Exam Prep

I read through this once to see if there was any new material apart from Black Spectacles and the Ballast review. It gave some better examples on the AIA contracts.

Schiff Hardin Lectures

for B101 and A201 (Lectures 6-7 and 10-11)

I cannot stress this enough – these lectures are amazing! They give great examples for the contracts and he’s pretty easy to listen to. I listened to these twice before every exam I have taken so far. I would listen to them in the car during my commute to and from the office.

AIA Contracts

A201, B101, G702, G703, G701, G711, G714, G716, A305, A701

Focus on A201 and B101 (but mainly A201). The rest of the contracts are important to understand (especially the Applications for Payment, Change Orders, etc).

AHPP ch 9, ch 10

Great review over project delivery methods and construction administration tasks.

Black Spectacles

A lot of people find Black Spectacles too broad, but I really enjoy these lectures. They give me a great foundation to understand the material and then dive deeper as I feel the need to understand a topic more.

The flashcards are more detailed and you are able to make custom flashcards at any time. The exams are set up to reflect the interface of the actual ARE set up. This is really helpful to get any exam jitters out before the exam. I am normally scoring upwards of 75% on the practice exams before I take my actual exam.

Day of the Exam

The day before of the exam, I don’t study. I relax and go do something with friends. If you don’t know the material now, cramming won’t make you know it at this point.

The day of the exam, I read through Ballast once more and then go take my exam. I first go check the case studies for any helpful material that may be useful while I’m taking the exam and make note of this. Then I go through the exam as quickly as I can. I take my break after I finish answering all the questions to get some water, and stretch my legs, and each some “Brain” food, like almonds or dark chocolate to keep my energy up. Then I’ll go back through my exam and review any “marked” questions before reviewing the other questions. If I still have time on the clock, I continue to go through the marked questions until time runs out.

Hope this helps! Best of luck to everyone studying!

P.S. Here are the links to my posts on PcM and PjM. 

https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/360021128134-PjM-Pass-Here-s-what-I-did-?input_string=CE%20Pass!%20Here%27s%20what%20I%20did!

https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/360018650493-PcM-Pass-Here-s-what-I-did-?input_string=CE%20Pass!%20Here%27s%20what%20I%20did!

How I passed the ARE Exam 6, Construction and Evaluation, in 8 steps

Summary

This is a report by Huy Nguyen in the ARE 5.0 Community.

Huy spent about 50 hours over 11 days studying for this exam. He warns that, although people with construction experience may find this exam easy, he did not.

Here are his steps to studying:

  1. Read the handbook
  2. Read contracts B101 and A201
  3. Take Designer Hacks and Black Spectacles practice exams
  4. Read Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice
  5. Study Fundamentals of Building Construction, especially sitework and drainage, as well as the ADA sections of Architectural Graphic Standards
  6. Study Building Construction Illustrated (chapter 7), and Hammer and Hand
  7. Repeat Step 3
  8. Review study materials again

For more information, read my guide to studying for the ARE Exam 6, Construction and Evaluation, or read the original post below.

Original Post

MATERIALS & RESOURCES

General:

  • Ballast -> good for overview of test content
  • The Architect’s Handbook for Professional Practice (AHPP) -> Bible

http://narmourwright.com/wp/index.php/wiley-publishing/

  • Fundamentals of Building Construction -> great books with photos of real construction to see how the drawings would look like in real life
  • Architectural Graphic Standards (clean drawings & diagram, great for ADA)
  • Building Construction Illustration (great for waterproofing details)
  • Hammer & Hand (great source on construction detail)

https://hammerandhand.com/best-practices/manual/

AIA Documents:

A201 (read, take note and listen to Schiff Hardin Lectures)

B101 (read, take note and listen to Schiff Hardin Lectures)

https://www.schiffhardin.com/professionals/attorneys/d-i/hanahan-michael-j/hanahan-lecture-notes-2018

A101, C401

A701, A305, G701, G702, G703, G704

Practice Exams:

Designers Hack: Questions are way easier than the real test but a good way to remember what I read.

Black Spectacles: So far the closest practice exam to the real exam but still easier.

Materials for specific CE sections (based on NCARB ARE 5.0 Handbook):

Section 1: Preconstruction Activities  (Ballast, AHPP)

Section 2: Construction Observation (Fundamentals of Building Construction, Architectural Graphic Standards, Building Construction Standard, A201, Hammer & Hand)

Section 3: Administration Procedures & Protocols (Ballast, AHPP, A201)

Section 4: Project Closeout & Evaluation (Ballast, AHPP, A201)

STUDYING STRATEGY

Step 1

Gather study tips from ARE facebook group and NCARB ARE Community -> assemble study resources + establish a strategy

Step 2

NCARB ARE 5.0 Handbook: get the general idea of the kind of questions will be  on the test.

Step 3

Read contracts (B101, A201) and take note (focus more on the A201)

Skim other related contract & forms

Step 4

Take Designer Hacks practice exam (full) & Black Spectacles practice exam -> Determine strength and weakness.

Step 5

Read AHPP sections related to the test.

Step 6

Study Fundamentals of Building Construction (sitework – excavation and drainage)

Study Architectural Graphic Standards (ADA)

Step 7

Study Building Construction Illustration (Chapter 7)

Study Hammer & Hand

Step 8

Take Designer Hacks practice exam (full) & Black Spectacles practice exam

Step 9

Review study materials based on assessment from the practice exams.

TECHNICAL TOPICS TO BE AWARE OF

Waterproofing (flashing, weep holes, roof drain, roof vent)

Construction schedule (bar chart & critical path)

ADA (basic clearance, mounting height, ramp)

Sitework (excavation, drainage)

STUDY TIME AND SCHEDULE

I have 3 years working after graduate school, very limited construction experience. 

Total study time: 50 hours in 11 days

3 – 4 hours per day during the week

8 – 10 hours per day during weekends

MISC. TIPS

  • Take Designer Hacks short quiz (10 or 25 questions) during break at work
  • Listen to Schiff Hardin lectures (A201 & B101) during commute or at work
  • The real exam requires a lot of coordination, you have to put many pieces of information together in order to answer the questions (not just in the case studies)
  • Using mind map to take note while reading -> much easier when review later
  • The real exam is not about remembering but about to be able to apply the knowledge into different scenarios (eg. being able to determine how would a delay at a specific phase/task affect other tasks and the whole schedule)
  • This exam is not easy (at least for me). Many people told me this one was very easy and they studied for that “in a day.” So at the beginning of the process I was a little too confident. After reviewing the materials, I found out that I knew very little (apparently because of my construction experience). So better be over-prepared and over-study than under-prepared.

My experience on other tests:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/15XW_Bh-D-Th-S8ET8ymcovJpcM651ZvM3Th_DN22_Dk/edit

How to study for the ARE Exam 6, Construction and Evaluation

Intro to the ARE Exam 6

If I had to describe the ARE Exam 6, I’d describe it as a relatively easy exam.

It’s relatively easy because most things are a repeat from previous exams. If you’re good on exams 1, 2, and 5, you shouldn’t need to study too much more for this one. 

You don’t have to memorize nearly the amount of things that you did for previous exams. You’ll still have to do some memorization, though, and some studying. 

The trick with the ARE is always to only study what you have to study, and only memorize the parts that you have to memorize. No more, no less. Everything else is your job to understand and not memorize.

What materials you’ll need for the ARE Exam 6

You should only need my guide for the ARE Exam 6. I don’t think you’ll need anything else.

Once you’ve mastered your flashcards, notes, and error log from this guide, test yourself by checking out the questions in the ARE handbook. There aren’t many of them, but they should be a useful indicator of what the test questions are actually like.

If you’re looking for alternatives, you should check my guide to all the recommended references from the Handbook.

How long it’ll take to study for the ARE Exam 6

The ARE Exam 6 is likely the easiest exam in the ARE sequence, if you’ve already taken the previous exams.

Assuming you’ve studied for the previous exams, it should take around 10 hours to study for the ARE Exam 6. 

If you’re looking to create a study plan for the ARE Exam 6, you should use 21st Night’s “My Study Plan” option to create a study plan that works around your schedule.

A complete list of topics on the ARE Exam 6

For a complete list of topics on the ARE Exam 6, you should sign up for my free email course on how to study for the ARE. You’ll not only receive a list of exactly what topics to focus on for each ARE exam, you also get advice on how to study for each exam and 10% off my Guide to the Overwhelmed.

How to learn all these topics on the ARE

Most students make the mistake of trying to learn all the topics the same way. I would not recommend that. Memorization is a separate process from understanding, and you need to treat it that way.

Memorization

The best way to memorize is to create and review flashcards. These flashcards should test one unit of information at a time (not a bunch), and include context or a mnemonic as an explanation. So, for example:

Question: “What does LLC stand for, and what does it mean?”
Answer: “LLCs are limited liability companies, which means their liability in a lawsuit is limited. The owner’s assets are protected. ”

Explanation: “LLCs offer more protection than sole proprietorships, which is why people use them.”

Understanding

The best way to understand is to create and review notes. These should not be copy-pasted from what I’ve written in my guide. Read what I wrote in my guide, then come up with your own note to summarize. Check back with my guide to make sure you’re happy with your summary.

To review notes, you can create flashcards from them, then review the flashcards. Or, you can just close your eyes, and make sure you can remember the content of the notes.

Using the practice problems

The best way to use the practice problems is to create an error log. 

What’s an error log?

Well, an error log is simply keeping track of all the questions that you have trouble with. Whenever you have trouble with a practice question, you put it in a card, along with an answer and a step-by-step explanation of the process to solve it.

When you go back to review the question, you make sure you can recall the step-by-step explanation, not just the answer.

This will help you master the processes you need for the ARE.

Studying app recommendation

Creating notes, flashcards, and an error log is easiest if you use 21st Night. 21st Night is a studying app that allows you to create flexible, powerful notes and flashcards and review them through your phone or laptop. 

It also allows you to link your flashcards and notes together, so you can easily create flashcards from your notes with a single click. Or, if you’re studying with a friend, 21st Night allows you to work together on a single collection of notes and flashcards.

Finally, 21st Night gives you analytics on what questions and topics you’re having trouble with, so you can make sure you’re studying the right way.

How I passed ARE Exam 5, Project Planning and Design, after failing the first time

Summary

This is a report from Michelle Gonzales from the ARE 5.0 Community.

She failed the exam the first time, then waited 3 months before taking it again.

She recommends using Building Construction Illustrated, Architectural Graphic Standards, National Park Preservation Briefs.

She also highly recommends flashcards (like 21st Night!).

There’s also a long list of specific topics that she recommends, which I’ve included below.

If you want more information, check out my guide on how to study for the ARE Exam 5, Project Planning and Design, or read the original post below.

Original post

This is going to be a long one so I apologize in advance!

Took my exam on Monday and passed. Finally got my congratulatory email today so I finally have closure from this long exam process, which began in early spring of 2017. 

For PDD, I allowed the three months after my first try and fail to mull over the questions and topics that intimidated or stumped me and actively studied with those in mind specifically. 

Study Materials:- I would first call on the books/resources I used to study at Attempt #1 and the ones that I eventually picked up for Attempt #2:

Pre-Attempt #1:

– BCI (Construction) – Read from cover to cover but not with as much intensity as for the second attempt. 

– AGS 10th Edition – Lightly read through the first 9 chapters. 

 – ASC – Lightly reread again after PPD. Was not as helpful as it was for PPD.

– BCI (Codes) and IBC 2012 – Reread. Passed this section in Attempt 1 because of these two resources (ADA experience at the job also proved beneficial.)

– Fundamental of Building Construction Materials and Methods – Read quickly. 

– AHPP – Read the section in Chapter 10 as it concerns the project manual and specifications. Passed this section in the first attempt.

– FEMA – Reread Chapters 4 and 5 after PPD.

– Youtube – I will expound further in my attempt 2, since Youtube video sessions happened sporadically throughout my PPD and PDD studying.

Post-Attempt #1 / Pre-Attempt #2:

– BCI (Construction) – Absolutely the most valuable book in this exam. Reread but paid closer attention to details.

– MEEB – A surprising addition to my arsenal this round. I was having problems finding electrical and lighting design information that went in depth enough for me to fully understand. Ended up reading all relevant chapters in MEEB and I don’t regret it. Good for slow learners on the topic but not advisable for people on a time crunch.

– AGS – Took literally one day to browse through this book, since I already highlighted all the relevant stuff the first time. 

– Fundamentals of Building Construction…. – Reread. I found it valuable but not invaluable. Some things are covered in other books. 

– National Park Services Preservation Briefs – https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs.htm – Found this helpful after seeing some preservation questions pop up in Attempt #1. Focused on cleaning, repairing and replacing masonry, but there are chances that other preservation topics would show up.

– Ballast 4.0 – Read the relevant chapters for PDD, which ended up being a lot and took some time. I’ve had a love-hate relationship for Ballast but I did see some merits in spending time reading it. It tries to comprehensively touch on everything. They even had a bit on historically preserving masonry. It helps to know what to focus on, though. Some of the systems equations are unnecessary.

– Ballast 5.0 Practice Problems – I did not use it as a template for the exam but more as a quick testing of what topics I knew well and what I needed to explore further. I had the Practice Exam book but I didn’t bother to go into that due to time constraints. 

– Youtube, e.g. DartmouthXHyperfine Architecture Dilip Khatri, just to name a few – Always helpful to get some online tutoring for structural and MEP systems. Also a good break from extensive reading. There are also some kind souls who have have been compiling their favorite videos. I might do the same when I get the chance. 

– Flash cards from all of what I covered in the books that I did not cover again during the second round – I highlight this because I found this as the best method for me to study on the go during transit to and from work. No matter on how much you read, there would be some things that you need to remember for this exam. I used the Chegg Flashcard app for iPhone (not sponsored by them, lol!) I’m not sure if you can get it with Android but I’m guessing there could be other free flash card apps out there like it. The app allowed me to take photos of details and either have them on the question side with a question like “find the water stop”, or on the answer side to a question like “what is a quoin?” Dictation on my phone also made filling out text easier – much quicker than writing actual flash cards. At the end of the process of studying, from PPD to the end of PDD (since PPD still relates to PDD), I had upwards of 1200 flash cards, all separated into different smaller categories (“Electrical”, “Structures”, “Materials”, etc.). 

After taking the exam twice, and from what I can remember, I would say imo that it would be important to know the following before you take the exam (without giving away actual exam info, of course):

– Mechanical – Thermal comfort indicators; coordinating around mechanical systems and directing detailed mechanical changes based on the design.

– Plumbing – Coordination of plumbing systems with other systems. 

– Electrical and Lighting – Reading line diagrams; knowing different types of bulbs (incandescent, fluorescent, etc.) and their properties (CRI, Kelvin, efficacy, etc.); knowing the appropriate amount of voltage for certain circumstances; zonal cavity method. 

– Structures – Knowing seismic and wind design terms; moment and shear equations and how they relate to different design/construction decisions; and consequences to certain design decisions on the structure of the building.  

– Partition types for different circumstances, i.e. modifications to conform to acoustical requirements, fire rating, cost, etc.  

– Vapor barriers and locations in different climates 

– Coordination of different systems and knowing where the responsibilities lie in correcting certain issues. 

– Contract documents and administration items that would have been covered in CE and PjM, e.g. questions on changes to project scope and its repercussions. 

– Historic preservation

– Flashing, and all about it (location, connections, etc.)

– U- and R-Value calculations (and remembering that one is the inverse of the other)

– Matching details up to the correct conditions.

– How to read a construction set, especially for the case studies. This also includes knowing how to read civil, landscape, MEP and structural drawings, and where certain aspects of the design would be found.

– Cost estimation – There were no resources I found that really capture the kinds of questions I found in these exams. All I could suggest is just make sure you read the questions well, figure out what exactly they are asking for and do the best math that you can. Don’t forget to change to the correct units for your calculations. 

That’s my PDD mind dump. I am thankful for all the contributors to the community; I have learned a lot on here. My hope is to give back with this post and possibly help anyone who was struggling like I did during this process.

Good luck and if you fail it, don’t give up! 

How I passed ARE Exam 5, Project Development and Documentation, on my first attempt

Summary

This is a report from Esther Campbell on the ARE 5.0 Community.

First, she warns that the exams seem to vary drastically from person to person, so she’s not sure how helpful any specific topics are for any specific exam. However, she still recommends studying specific topics (like those I put in my study guide), rather than any topics in general.

She’s happy that she took the exam, as she was considering rescheduling it, and found it very helpful to study for exam 4 and exam 5 simultaneously. In fact, she took exam 5 only four days after exam 4.

Her main materials were Architect’s Studio Companion, Building Construction Illustrated, and Ballast. She has a long list of topics she focused on, which she wrote down below.

She warns that her test lagged, so test-takers should be prepared for some technical glitches. Also, she wants to let everyone know that, although failure is tough, this information is still useful in an architecture career.

For more information, check out my study guide to the ARE Exam 5, or read below for the original post.

Original post

Passed PDD on my first attempt!

THIS IS A VERY LONG POST so just skip to the sections you want to read!

I felt it important to include my whole experience for those who are struggling to get through this process — YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

<< PROLOGUE >>—————————————————————————

I transitioned from 4.0 with the 3+2 path. I studied and took PPD (my 1st 5.0 exam) last Friday – a week before I took PDD this past Friday. I chose not to look at the provisional pass for both exams… and just let myself unwind after the exam. As a friend of mine said, it feels even more devastating after 5 hours of stress to feel it all explode at once with a heartbreaking fail… might as well give yourself 24 hours to enjoy the accomplishment of simply FINISHING the exam because that IS a feat in and of itself so give yourself some credit regardless of the result! But on Saturday night, seeing the big red FAIL letters was a huge punch in the gut and I just need at least 2 hours of no-judgment crying. I felt like I prepared as best as I can given the time and circumstance I was in. After a whole day (Sunday) of feeling totally beaten down, I was ready to pull the trigger and spend the $80 and reschedule my PDD exam. The wise counsel of people around me (my husband and my parents) encouraged me to just take the PDD exam… and if I fail, at least I would have run through the exam once and know how to better study for the exam the next go-around. So I knew I need to just buckle down and think of a game plan for the 4 days I had left before my exam on Friday.

<< MATERIALS I USED >>—————————————————————

(again, I studied for PPD prior to taking PDD, so this list includes all the things I studied in preparation for both… because a lot of my PDD studying is just refinement on the foundations laid in studying for PPD)

  • Architect studio companion — Cover to cover
    • PPD — read and took thorough notes via pen and paper
    • PDD — honestly didn’t have time to review any notes taken from this book, but it helps to have had read it though it a couple weeks ago just as a good foundation
  • Building Construction illustrated — cover to cover
    • PPD — Read and took thorough notes via pen and paper
    • PDD — re-read specific section mentioned in the list below.
  • Architectural Graphic Standard
    • PPD — Read the chapters I felt like were relevant
    • PDD — re-read specific section mentioned in the list below
  • Ballast 5.0, PPD & PDD sections
    • PPD — Read and typed up very through notes
    • PDD — re-read specification sections mentioned in the list below
  • Dug out some 4.0 Materials to review and re-read notes that I types for CDS prep:
    • Ballast 4.0 CDS
    • AHPP

<< THE GAME PLAN … if you’re in a time crunch >>—————————–

In the 4 days, I had before my exam, I decided to just scour the forum and make a list of every topic that people felt like they encountered during the exam, and just focus my review on those specific topics. I figured if I knew those specific topics inside out… at least I would be able to answer those questions correctly. This method was good and bad at the same time…

This was a GOOD method because I didn’t feel overwhelmed about having to re-read BCI or AGS, just find the topics on the list, and read and take notes on those chapters. You open those books and you don’t even know where to begin… it’s like “I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING…”… but realistically… you can’t eat and digest everything so that it can be of some use during the exam.

This was a BAD method because all the exams are different! I got barely any lighting questions, which is what a lot of people stressed so I studied everything about lighting the most… and I got a ton of Door and Window questions – a section that I always just glanced over and never really took notes on in all my studying.

This list is a compilation of what Kurt Fanderclai, David Kaplan, Elise LaPaglia, Michelle Gonzales, Kristen Charters advised to focus on and I just organized it so that I can just tackle a few sections a day.

FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS

  • Fire/smoke detector types and best location of
  • Different types of system

PLUMBING SYSTEMS

  • Coordinating plumbing system with other systems
  • Invert distance

ELECTRIC SYSTEMS & LIGHTING DESIGN

  • One-line diagram — how to read them, how they are arranged and simple concept behind them
  • Electrical distribution
  • Know the different types of bulbs (incandescent, fluorescent…)
  • Their properties (CRI, Kelvin, efficacy)
  • Know the appropriate amount of voltage for certain circumstances
  • Zonal cavity method
  • footcandles on a work surface

MECHANICAL SYSTEM (HVAC)

  • Thermal comfort indicators
  • Coordinating around mechanical systems
  • Directing detailed mechanical changes based on the design

CONSTRUCTION DETAILS

  • Control  // isolation // construction joints
  • Water table and waterproofing
  • Vapor barriers — location in different climates
  • Flashing — location, connections…
  • Air gaps
  • Connections
  • Metal interactions

WALL ASSEMBLIES

  • Fire separation
  • acoustic separation
  • Thermal insulation

U & R-VALUE

  • How to calculate
  • How they relate to each other
  • k-value — thermal conductivity of a material

STRUCTURES

  • Moment and shear questions and how they relate to different design/ construction decisions
  • Seismic and wind design terms
  • Lateral system
  • Beam plans
  • Beam sizing
  • Equation: Fb = M/S & section modulus equation

MATERIAL PROPERTIES

  • Wood — grain patterns

COST ESTIMATION

  • Calculate the cost of a material if given a specific area/volume
    • Read the questions well, figure out what exactly they are asking for and do the best math that you can. Don’t forget to change to the correct units for your calculations.
    • Figuring out how much of a material was required for the question and multiplying it times the cost to get your answer.  Use the practice questions in the ARE Handbook to guide you through this

CONTRACT DOCUMENTS

  • Navigating a CD set
    • Know how to read/coordinate drawings for Civil, Landscape, MEP, Lighting, structural drawings and where certain aspects of the design can be found
  • Specs & Project Manual
  • Changes to project scope and its repercussions

CODE

  • Egress sizes
  • IBC ch 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 29

HISTORIC BUILDING REPAIR APPROACHES — general limitations

MISC

  • Coordination of different systems and knowing where the responsibilities lie in correcting certain issues.
  • Watch out for units, i.e. question given in ft, answers in yards, etc.”

WHAT I WOULD ADD TO THE LIST:

  • Door and window details — read through BCI section and that should be good enough depth.
  • *** (If you are a 4.0 transition-er) STUDY 4.0 CDS MATERIAL… I had probably 5 questions that were straight from my CDS exam. A LOT of overlap!!!***    

<< THE EXAM EXPERIENCE >>————————————————————

I am a fast test taker and a generous question flagger. My game plan was to be on question 50 when the test clock was at “3:00:00” (1 hr 15 minutes into the exam) and question 100 at “2:00:00” and give myself at least an hour for the case studies… take my 15-minute break afterward and then give myself an hour to review all the flagged questions.

I really feel for the candidate that talk about their horror experience of their computers crashing…In the middle of my case study, my computer was SUPER laggy… the construction document references were not loading… and then my computer totally froze and “lost internet connection”… I tried to click on the break button just to stop the exam clock because it was still rolling but everything was offline (except the exam clock). The proctor was checking in people and I didn’t want to leave my seat and waste precious exam time to wait for him… so I just stared at that one case study question for legit 3 minutes (the longest 3 minutes of my life). Eventually, my computer started working again and I lost around 5 minutes of time. (hopefully, I got that one case study question right….) On my break, I notified the Prometric proctor… but they said since I didn’t notify them at the time of the incident they cannot officially record the issue.

SO LEARN FROM MY EXPERIENCE — If you experience a lag in your computer/if your exam goes offline raise your scratch paper and stare at the question while you wait. Maybe this is common sense… but my brain couldn’t function. Stay calm, take deep breaths… pray. Haha. and just tell yourself to keep pressing forward.

<<  A NOTE OF ENCOURAGEMENT >>————————————————–

Studying for these exams feels like a huge sacrifice on time with family and friends. But followed with a pass it is great! But followed with a fail is really really crushing. I found that changing my mindset on WHY I was reading this material and NOT just reading to pass an exam help me push through the long hours and late nights. (Although, let’s be real, reading through building codes illustrated or Ballast isn’t exactly for-fun reading that you would do if not to study for an exam.)

I studied with the mindset that once I am licensed I will need to immediately stamp drawings… would I be comfortable to using my stamp? (which is the purpose of licensure, right?) Even if you know you aren’t going to use your stamp immediately, it helps to study with the mindset that you ARE going to be running a project on your own. You are reading to make sure you can communicate with your consultants intelligently, and design, plan, manage and build a project safely and responsibly. Which again, is the purpose of licensure! Maybe this is another common sense thing.. but sometimes we get bogged down in cramming information in our head and not reading to genuinely enrich ourselves as architects.

We never stop learning. We may be done with the exams (and would love to have a bonfire with our study guides to rid ourselves of the memories..) but I know the depth in our architecture career doesn’t stop at licensure. We are becoming wiser, better architects and people with every project and challenge we encounter.

With my ARE failures… My father always reminds me “If you think it’s difficult – everyone thinks it’s difficult. But because it is difficult to pass it has worth. If it was as easy as passing your driving exam, then everyone would be a licensed architect. The difficulty is what gives the licensure its value.”

So don’t give up! Keep pressing forward! You are gaining useful knowledge with each read/ re-read of Building construction illustrated!! You’re not alone! (I’m still on this journey with you with a PPD retake in November.)

How to Study for the ARE Exam 5, Project Development and Documentation

Intro to the ARE Exam 5

If I had to describe the ARE Exam 5, I’d describe it as complex (although slightly less so than the ARE Exam 4), and still disorganized.

It’s complex because there’s a fair amount of info. There’s a lot of stuff to know on the surface level, some stuff to memorize in depth, and some random facts.

It’s disorganized because, first of all, they don’t warn you what stuff you need to know in depth and what stuff you need to know on the surface level. They present all the topics like you need to know them all in depth. Second of all, ARE Exam 5 is not well differentiated from Exam 3 or Exam 4. It’s easiest to go directly from Exam 4 to Exam 5, or even study for them simultaneously.

This means it’s easy to become overwhelmed and study none of the material, or become overwhelmed and try to memorize all of it.

You don’t have to do either one! 

On the one hand, if you don’t study any of it, you will not pass the ARE Exam 5. A lot of it is stuff you should already know, but a lot of it isn’t. 

On the other hand, if you try to memorize everything in every ARE book your brain will explode. You literally cannot. Trying to is a big reason why a lot of people fail this exam.

The trick with the ARE is always to only study what you have to study, and only memorize the parts that you have to memorize. No more, no less. Everything else is your job to understand and not memorize.

What materials you’ll need for the ARE Exam 5

You should only need my Guide to the Overwhelmed for ARE Exam 5. I don’t think you’ll need anything else.

Once you’ve mastered your flashcards, notes, and error log from this guide, test yourself by checking out the questions in the ARE handbook. There aren’t many of them, but they should be a useful indicator of what the test questions are actually like.

If you’re looking for alternative resources, you should check out my guide to all the recommended references from the Handbook.

How long it’ll take to study for the ARE Exam 5

The ARE Exam 5 is one of the harder exams in the ARE sequence, and it’s really disorganized.

It should take around 40 hours total to study for the ARE Exam 5.

If you’re looking to create a study plan for the ARE Exam 5, you should use 21st Night’s “My Study Plan” option to create a study plan that works around your schedule.

A complete list of topics on the ARE Exam 5

For a complete list of topics on the ARE Exam 5, you should sign up for my free email course on how to study for the ARE. You’ll not only receive a list of exactly what topics to focus on for each ARE exam, you also get advice on how to study for each exam and 10% off my Guide to the Overwhelmed.

How to learn all these topics on the ARE

Most students make the mistake of trying to learn all the topics the same way. I would not recommend that. Memorization is a separate process from understanding, and you need to treat it that way.

Memorization

The best way to memorize is to create and review flashcards. These flashcards should test one unit of information at a time (not a bunch), and include context or a mnemonic as an explanation. So, for example:

Question: “What does LLC stand for, and what does it mean?”
Answer: “LLCs are limited liability companies, which means their liability in a lawsuit is limited. The owner’s assets are protected. ”

Explanation: “LLCs offer more protection than sole proprietorships, which is why people use them.”

Understanding

The best way to understand is to create and review notes. These should not be copy-pasted from what I’ve written in my guide. Read what I wrote in my guide, then come up with your own note to summarize. Check back with my guide to make sure you’re happy with your summary.

To review notes, you can create flashcards from them, then review the flashcards. Or, you can just close your eyes, and make sure you can remember the content of the notes.

Using the practice problems

The best way to use the practice problems is to create an error log. 

What’s an error log?

Well, an error log is simply keeping track of all the questions that you have trouble with. Whenever you have trouble with a practice question, you put it in a card, along with an answer and a step-by-step explanation of the process to solve it.

When you go back to review the question, you make sure you can recall the step-by-step explanation, not just the answer.

This will help you master the processes you need for the ARE.

Studying app recommendation

Creating notes, flashcards, and an error log is easiest if you use 21st Night. 21st Night is a studying app that allows you to create flexible, powerful notes and flashcards and review them through your phone or laptop. 

It also allows you to link your flashcards and notes together, so you can easily create flashcards from your notes with a single click. Or, if you’re studying with a friend, 21st Night allows you to work together on a single collection of notes and flashcards.

Finally, 21st Night gives you analytics on what questions and topics you’re having trouble with, so you can make sure you’re studying the right way.

How I passed the ARE Exam 4, Project Planning and Design, after studying for 2 months

Summary

This is a report from David Kaplan from the ARE 5.0 Community.

He studied for the exam for 2 months for about 8-10 hours per week.

He recommends the Architect’s Studio Companion, Building Construction Illustrated, the FEMA Earthquake Manual, and practicing cost estimation.

He also advises making sure you understand building form and it’s relationship to climate and sun movement patterns.

Last, he advises using unit conversion to help answer tricky calculations, as well as the equations that are given.

He does NOT recommend MEEB.

For more information, check out my guide to studying for PPD, or read on for the original post.

Original Post

Got the “provisional pass” at the end of the PPD test yesterday and official confirmation today.  Everyone’s study approaches and insights into this exam have been extremely helpful, thought that I would add to the discussion and offer my study approach: 

  1. I read Architect’s Studio Companion cover to cover.  This book really gives a great overview of structural and MEP systems, explains them in terms that are simple to understand.  It further covers Daylighting and Passive Systems design which is huge.  I liked as well that there was a very helpful summary of when certain systems should be selected (for example: minimizing first cost of system).  After reading the entirety of the book, I then reread these summary pages several times, and also looked over the MEP systems diagrams many times, just to become familiar with equipment layouts and the various components that make up each system.
  2. I read Building Construction Illustrated cover to cover.  To be honest, I think this book probably is better applicable to PDD.  It’s a lot like Graphic Standards, has a lot of details.  The structural systems parts were pretty good.  MEP – I thought ASC was much better.  Definitely think this is a good book though if you don’t have a lot of construction document experience, there’s lots of good details.  If you are studying for both PPD and PDD at the same time (which I HIGHLY recommend doing, as well as taking the tests close together), you can’t go wrong with this book.
  3. FEMA Earthquake Manual – Chapters 4 and 5.  Definitely glad that I read this.  I didn’t know much about seismic design going into this test, or how buildings reacted to seismic loads.  I sort of had an understanding of shear walls and bracing, but after having read this I have a much better understanding now.  It’s well written, has a lot of good diagrams, and is easy to understand. 
  4. Ballast 4.0 – Structural Systems – so I had this old 2010 Ballast book that my office had lying around.  The three things that I used this book for were Structural Engineering 101 type items: moment and shear diagrams, super basic calculations (what is the moment about point A?), and wind design (since FEMA didn’t cover this).  I skipped over any and all detailed calculations.  If NCARB was going to ask me to calculate how many bolts are needed in a shear plate of ½” thickness to resist 25 K of shear load, the answer was going to be “10” and I would move onto the next question.  I simply am not willing to relearn detailed structural engineering equations, and I will tell you that I am happy to report that this paid off and I did not need to do any of this on the exam.  Very glad that I went over the wind design concepts though.
  5. Site Planning and Design Handbook – I had read this book for the PA exam, and it is still applicable for PPD.  Pay particular attention to Chapter 10 – it covers use of evergreen and deciduous trees for things like blocking winds, dust, and sound.  Talks about landscape buffers and how to use them to help block sound and wind.  Don’t forget that this test covers Site Planning considerably.  It’s not just MEP and Structural systems. 
  6. Cost Estimating – I’ve seen a lot of people post on here as to what sources are good for cost estimating, and unfortunately, no one has really been able to cite anything.  What I did was just print out the ARE 5.0 Handbook and did all of the sample questions that involved estimating.  I redid them several times until I felt comfortable with them.  That was enough for me.

Some further insight:

  1. Have a solid understanding of building form and how the form relates to the climate that the building is in.
  2. Have a solid understanding about sun movement patterns and Daylighting Design approaches.  How does light enter a building?  What are ways to control how it enters the building?  What are ways to orient the building to maximize daylighting approaches?

Last piece of insight:

You will inevitably be presented with a calculation question that at first glance you’re like “uhhhhhhh I have no idea how to do this.”  Or, “I definitely did NOT study this.”  This happened to me a few times and here’s how I overcame this:

  1. I was able to finish all 120 questions with about an hour and a half left, which gave me time to go back to these questions and really sit and think about them.
  2. Look at the units to help you figure out how to approach solving the problem.  Let’s say that it’s a structural question and that the four multiple choice answers are all in lbs.  You’re given some sort of diagram with dimensions of a building on it and are told that there’s say 10 lbs/ SF force acting on a building.  So how do you get from that to an answer in lbs?  Think about it this way: if you multiply lbs per SF X SF, you will end up with an answer in lbs, because the two SF units will cancel each out.  So, that means that you must have to calculate the area of something in the diagram above to get SF. 
  3. Don’t forget that equations are often given to you.  I did end up using the reference material a couple of times, was a big help.

It was a tricky test, definitely required lots of studying.  You can get through this.  I was surprised by how much time I had left over after the exam.  It was very helpful because I had time to go back over every question, even those I hadn’t marked.  I was glad that I did because with a clearer mind, I saw that I had made a few errors and was able to correct them.  There was probably 5 questions that when I reread them, I realized that I had made a mistake and was able to fix it. 

Case studies I thought were very straightforward.

Onto PDD and hopefully an end to this licensing process!  Best of luck to all.

PS – the giant MEEB book is terrible.  I have it, I tried reading one section of it, and quickly said never again.  It is a terrible waste of money.  I forbid any of you to study from this book!!!!!!

How I passed ARE Exam 4, Project Planning and Design, after failing it once

Summary

This is a report from Elif Bayram on the ARE 5.0 Community.

She took the ARE Exam 4 once, failed it, then took it again and passed.

She’s a big believer in taking the exam later in the day, and studying for the exam on its own. She also advises using multiple resources and creating your own practice questions.

She advises using MEEB, Heating, Cooling, and Lighting, the Building Code, and Simplified Engineering for Architects.

For more information, check out my guide on how to study for the ARE Exam 4, or read on for the original post.

Original post

Hello ARE family!

After almost 2 years of studying so hard, I finally passed PPD and PDD before the end of 2019 and I am done with AREs. I passed first 4 exams in 9 months, all at my first try and got stuck with PPD and PDD like most of you. Took me 2 tries to pass PPD and 3 tries to pass PDD. It has been a while but I will try to wrap up some bullet points for everyone studying for PPD and PDD. Here we go:

GENERAL STUFF

– I do not think that PPD and PDD are similar exams, therefor they should NOT be taken closely. It should be at least 4 to 6 weeks in between. 

– Take this exams later in the day. I have tried 8-9 am in the morning for both first times, like all of my other exams however I passed PPD/PDD when I took exams around 11-11:30am. This two, especially PPD, are the hardest of them all. (Look at the glorious pass-rates (rolling my eyes here) ) There is a huge stress about this exams and when you wake up in the morning it is good to give yourself some time to calm down before starting the exams. Besides me and a lot of other friends I know, couldn’t sleep well the night before the exams, so you may need to take a little more morning sleep before you go.

– Check your calendar before scheduling the exams. You should do this for all of your exams basically but it is way more important to make sure that there is nothing important scheduled during the exam date when it comes to PPD/PDD.

  • Don’t listen anyone who tells you they passed this exams just reading Ballast, or just watching Amber videos etc. (I have nothing against this materials btw, just used them as examples) No single material is enough for passing this exams! Honestly every time I hear someone saying something like this, I get super suspicious… Unless you have extensive knowledge about all of the content due to your daily job, such as you are a professor at a college or something, don’t listen people who says otherwise. Brace yourself to study A LOT to pass PPD/PDD
  • There is unfortunately a luck element in this exams, especially for PPD. The content is so broad, some people (very few though) get lucky and gets a good batch of questions that aligns with their background perfectly and voila! they pass! So, that is why they say they passed so easily, only studying for 40 hours or only reading Ballast. It is very rare, again look at the pass-rates. There is huge risk that it will not happen to you, until you learn a great deal of the content. For instance, when I passed this tests, it felt like they were very easy cause I almost read everything on the planet:)) So it finally aligned with my knowledge. Or when I failed PDD first time, I was soooo close to pass and later on I told myself that if I passed back then, it was gonna be super unfair to a lot of people, cause I didn’t deserve to pass.

– Failing is sucks! But it is part of the deal. Be ready! Again look at the pass rates and remember people had 3 trials in a year to pass and still only 42% of test takers could pass PPD. There are bunch of reasons for this low pass-rates and NCARB MUST TAKE some RESPONSIBILITY but they don’t and  it is what it is. Be prepared. Don’t beat yourself so much. Keep studying, make sure you are reading your stuff and learning the content.

– Take PPD first and PDD after. Start from larger scale and go down to smaller to have a better grasp on content.

– Try to really understand content so hopefully you can answer all the tricky questions. A,“enough to pass exam” approach doesn’t work with this two exams. You can’t memorize enough to pass, you need to actually know them.

STUDY MATERIALS:

I read almost everything in the Reference List and even some more. I felt dumb! I asked the question you are asking now; Why do I have to read so much? Answer is: this exams are very hard and there is not enough information in the Handbook so you need to flip every stone and make sure you covered everything before going to exam. Handbook only gives you very few sample questions per exam, which is a joke that no one but NCARB is laughing, but again it is what it is. So READ as much as you can! Even though I read more, here are the books that stood out for each exam.

PPD:

– MEEB! Don’t listen who tells you otherwise, especially if you have taken this exam more than once. Pay attention all the diagrams and graphics in this book and read it. I read it twice! Sounds unhealthy I know but I got sick of failing and anger kept me going. 

– Heating Cooling Lighting: I think this book is the key to pass PPD. I read this twice too.

– Building Code: Memorize occupancy types, where is which information in code. Time yourself to see if you can find any information in code within a minute. Really spend time on code, passing PPD = Knowing Building Code.

– Architectural Acoustics Illustrated, Michael Ermann

– Simplified Engineering for Architects, Part-I. I love this book, great to understand structural stuff conceptually.

-Structural Design, A Practical Guide for Architects – Chapters 1 & 2

– Maybe Sun, Wind, Light – if you haven’t already read it for PA

– All questions you can find: ARE 3.1 and 4.0 questions, Ballast 4.0, 5.0, Kaplan 4.0-5.0, Designer Hacks, Amber, Hyperfine, WEARE etc..

PDD:

– On top of the books above, Architectural Graphic Standards is a MUST for PDD. Try to review all details. This book is not for reading in my opinion, it is more like to review the details and make sure you can answer each element on the detail, once you covered the notes. 

– Building construction _ principles, materials, and systems-Pearson- Madan Mehta_ Walter Scarborough_ Diane Armpriest – (2013) This book is the reason why I passed PDD. Read the whole thing and took chapter end quizzes. 

  • Review you MEEB notes

– All questions you can find: ARE 3.1 and 4.0 questions, Ballast 4.0, 5.0, Kaplan 4.0-5.0, Designer Hacks, Amber, Hyperfine, WEARE etc..

DO NOT FORGET, I almost read or thoroughly reviewed everything in the Reference Materials and this are the books I found the most relevant. This list is not enough to pass.

FAVORITE THIRD PARTY MATERIALS:

I have not been a huge fan of relying entirely on 3rd party materials, however test-taking is a great strategy to solidify your learning. So I used and liked:

-Young Architect Academy – Bootcamp: It is more like a study group, not a quiz website but I think it was very helpful to me. I cannot thank Michael Riscica and my fellow Bootcampers enough. I couldn’t pass without their support.

-Designer Hacks questions

-Hyperfine

  • Ballast 4.0 and 5.0 questions

STUDY METHOD

-Find your way: Try to find a method that is enjoyable to you, or at least sustainable. Take notes, make flashcards, make your own questions, study with a friend etc… Don’t just read passively. Try to include one or more active learning methods into your studying.

For example, even at my early days of studying, I had noticed and complained that there were not enough sample question and I decided to write my own questions. Every-time I read something that felt worth to note, I turned it into a question. It was the best way of learning for me. I ended up writing around 600 questions combined for PPD and PDD. And…I am planning to share them with ARE community soon. I have shared them with a lot of people while I was studying and I got great feedback so now I think it is my responsibility to share them with everyone else or I will go to HELL:) 

-Join or form study groups. I think reading a book with other people or solving questions together was very helpful to me.

  • Only do quizzes and solve questions two weeks before your exam. Stop reading books, only search stuff when you couldn’t get a question correct. Try to take same quizzes again and again until you consistently score 70%  and above. If you are getting 45% on one Designer Hacks 10 question quiz and 85% on the next one, it is not a good sign. Consistency shows that you learned the content.

TO WRAP UP:

Passing PPD and PDD took 11 months of my life. It is hard to pass them but IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE! I am foreign educated and worked in Turkey for 5 years before moving here. I have 4 years US experience too however my base knowledge comes from another country and it makes a difference I believe. English is not my native language. I have a two year old who was 5 months old when I started taking AREs and we have no family living in the states to help us and my husband was also going through his licensing exam for physical therapy so it was a mad house for about 2 years! I had a full time job (which required me to work min 12  hours a day sometimes)  during 7 months of that 11 month marathon. I took a huge financial risk and quit my super demanding job to be done with AREs. Spent so much money on books, online prep materials on top of losing income for months so I lost the count on cost…However I did it! You CAN DO IT TOO! DO NOT GIVE UP! Ask friends and family to support you, get every bit of help you can. Tell people that you are studying and if your co-workers judge you just ignore them. You dared to start this journey that they didn’t. You are trying to advance yourself in your profession. This is something you should be proud of! Don’t let failure make you forget this fact! After all, you are excelling in architecture, learning so much more and becoming a better version of yourself. So what if you had a bumpy road?! It is about staying in the game and you are killing it!

Wishing everyone Best of Luck!!! and Thank you very much everyone for all of your posts that helped me! 

PS: Here is my e-mail: ellifkorkmaz@gmail.com. Please let me know if you have any questions about PPD and PDD, I will try my best to find the answer with you. I am working on an idea to start some online gatherings to go through my questions that I mentioned above. Send me an e-mail if you are interested so we can start it together.