28 May 2008

ARE - Materials and Methods

I've suddenly realized that I never finished writing up my experiences from the ARE... How can I talk about the 9 tests if I only write about 8? Although at this point its probably a waste of time - has the ARE moved to the 7 test format?- since I can barely remember my experience. Still... since I'm a bit of an obsessive compulsive, I wanted to at least share what I could remember.
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I started studying for the materials and methods exam after the mechanical and electrical building systems test. I was very nervous about this test, mainly because I didn't want to screw up the last one, so I postponed taking the test much longer than I needed. I felt like there was a fair amount of overlap between pre-design and materials and methods... so they worked as great bookends for me. Really, I've heard different schools of thought about the M&M test... some people think its good to take it early, as the range of material covered is so broad... I on the other hand, opted to take it last, hoping that I would have covered the majority of the material in previous tests. In fact, I think it would have worked out fine either way.
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As far as the actually studying went... I spent about 8 weeks preparing (way more than needed) and just like with the other multiple choice exams, I used the Kaplan Book and CD as well as the Archiflash cards as my main study materials. I also supplemented the Kaplan with Building Construction Illustrated by Ching. As with the other exams, the simple diagrams and drawings in the Ching book really helped me to better understand the systems and methods.
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I feel like if you've already studied for the rest of the exam, this should be a fairly simple subject... There aren't really any calculations and the test is based on an understanding of materials that hopefully we should all have by this point in our education/careers. Still, I realize that all the exams are different, and I should consider myself lucky that I got a fairly easy version.
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I apologize for not writing about this exam earlier, when my memory could have better served us all... But, hopefully this little bit will help (even if it only helps ease your worries).
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Good Luck!
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