Well, the testing strategy worked! By clustering my exams, I was able to knock out all of the ARE in a handful of months (including a break between the two testing periods), saving time and a significant amount of money ($600+). My goal was to complete these exams as efficiently as possible in order to avoid impacting my normal routine for too long.
Here was my schedule:
- July 1-17, 2016: Study CDS, PPP, SPD (4.0)
- July 18-20, 2016: Test SPD (18th), CDS (19th), and PPP (20th) (4.0)
- Aug & Sept: Break from studying/testing
- Nov 1, 2016: Transition from ARE 4.0 to 5.0
- Nov 1-27, 2016: Study SD, SS, BDCS, BS, and a quick review of CDS/PPP/SPD again
- Nov 28, 2016: Test PPD (5.0)
- Nov 30, 2016: Test PDD (5.0)
- March 30, 2017: Receive final PASS score from NCARB - ARE Complete!
The materials I used were primarily (all 4.0 materials):
- Ballast PPI ARE Review Manual & Practice Tests
- Building Construction Illustrated
- Building Codes Illustrated
- Jenny's Notes
- NCARB Study Guides
- NCARB - ARE Facebook Group
Next up: the California Supplemental Exam (CSE), using David Doucet's Supplemental Exam Study Guide.
After I receive licensure in CA I'll be requesting reciprocity with Washington State via NCARB.
So, to wrap up. My advice? HAVE A PLAN. Set goals. Map out your calendar. Track milestones. Stay on schedule. But also, stay flexible. Not everything runs perfectly, but as long as you keep moving forward in the long run, you'll be fine. (Also, just transition to 5.0 already!)
Thanks for the support and I hope these posts have been helpful to fellow testers! Keep sharing your stories with me, I love to hear them!