Note: I don’t know why I sit on writing/publishing these exam reviews for so long…it probably has something to do with burn out, or perhaps I just don’t give a damn after I sit at Prometric for an afternoon. Either way, here’s my two ppp cents…
I’m beginning to realize that taking these exams is like going to the dentist. It doesn’t matter if you prepare or lie that you did…because during that appointment you’re at the mercy of the professionals. They’ll do the easy stuff, then maybe a nudge here and a poke there, and then hit you with the serious jabs that you never see coming. When it’s all over they nod and smile and let you go. You’re numb (and maybe drooling). But they know you’ll be back in 6 months, you do too…you just hope it’s not for the same problems.
I elected to take the exam in the afternoon again, and it was full of a handful of examinees who all appeared well into their tests by the time I got there. I’m well acquainted with the Prometric center and check-in procedure now, so I was able to get going about 15 minutes ahead of my scheduled exam time. I sat on the opposite side of the testing room, a nice change from the usual corner spot by the vent that I seem to get. It still feels like sitting in a drab telemarketer call center, though. Here’s an ARE Schematic Design Vignette prompt idea: design a testing center that isn’t depressing as hell. Fortunately the ladies that run the place on the weekend are awesome, otherwise I think I’d check out other centers.
The multiple choice was much better than CDS. But then again, I studied like hell for this exam, and I think it paid off. During my first run through the questions I marked any that I hesitated over (about 45%) and spent the rest of the time going through those and thinking of them as if they were problems I might run across at work. By the end of the time (I used the whole two hours), there were about 4 WTF questions that I took a wild guess on. Everything else I felt comfortable with, or chose to trust my gut on. We’ll see how that pays off.
The mandatory break period was fine. I really have no idea what to do with those few minutes besides read the motivational posters and study tips for the Sylvan Learning Center kids that are plastered everywhere. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears, otherwise my options are dwindling down to old copies of Highlights and Where’s Waldo?. I sat at my exam station for a few minutes before the vignette portion started and made a table to fill in setbacks and requirements.
The vignette is everything one would expect if they’ve been practicing the software. Pro-tip: read through the program three times, twice at the beginning and once after you do a run through. It’s not difficult, but NCARB definitely throws a couple curveballs in there to make sure you’re paying attention. Well played NCARB, you almost got me. The process took me about 30 minutes, reviewed for another 15 and then decided there was nothing else I could do. I closed it feeling very confident.
After the exam I went downtown with Nate, did some people watching at Pioneer Courthouse Square (Portlanders will hacky sack any day/time of the year, I’m convinced of it), and then hit Paddy’s for the Post Prometric Pint. We talked about the exam for a bit, and Nate reminded me that pass or fail, he still knew that I did my best. Even though deep down inside I agreed, it was so comforting to hear it from a loved one. I don’t feel like I failed, but then again, I’m not sure if I passed…I hate to be optimistic, but I don’t have reason not to be. We wandered around Portland late into the evening, grabbed dinner at Montage, perused Powells and had dessert at Papa Haydn (thank God we walked everywhere…otherwise the next stop would have been the gym). It was a wonderful way to wrap up what I hope will be the last day I have to deal with PPP.