Shock and Awe

I got home from work last night and a white envelope was sitting on the desk.   Probably just a bill … wait…what’s that? NCARB?  ALREADY?  It’s only been a week and a half since my exam.  This couldn’t be good…or maybe it was….I ripped into it, holding my breath like always.

PASS!!  (A wine bottle was opened almost instantly.)

I’m honestly blown away, I didn’t expect to see that result.  Now that I’ve celebrated/calmed down a little bit,  I’ve been thinking about why it went my way.   Aside from studying until I was blue in the face, I think that having a solid conceptual understanding of structures truly saved me.  Reading about lateral, seismic, and wind forces from multiple sources (eg: FEMA, Buildings at Risk, Kaplan, misc study guides) was crucial to my success.  While I wish I would have spent more time on equations and practice problems, I understand (and agree) with other examinees suggestion that knowing what the equations and their components mean is almost more important than how to solve them.

When I told Nate the good news  he said “told you!”, which turned out to be the same sentiment from others as well.   Apparently you all have more faith in me than I do.  Thanks for that, and for all the kind words of support and encouragement during the process.  I know I couldn’t do this without you.

So, 4 down…3 to go.   Words cannot express how good it feels to be over the half way point.  Now let’s just hope that this successful streak continues.


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15 thoughts on “Shock and Awe

  1. Jennifer says:

    Big congrats to you Jenny!! Way to go!

  2. archetect says:


    A HUGE congratulations. Looks like before you know it…that dream of that little 7 y/o will become reality! Well done… gimme your trade secret on how you passed this behemoth?

    • jennypdx says:

      Thanks! I wish I had a secret…just study hard and cover as many resources as you can! Oh, and in the great words of Charles Eames: “never let the blood show”. Good luck!!

  3. Kim says:

    Congrats Jenny!! Down hill from here is right! Passing structures is the biggest sigh of relief! Yesterday must have been the day for letters, because I got my last Pass yesterday for PPP and I am now officially an Architect!! So I’m here to say it is possible to pass them all! You can do it, you’ve worked hard and I know you’ll keep pressing hard to finish them up! Only 3 more to go! Good luck and I look forward to reading about more of your successes!

  4. Sarah says:

    First of all CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so envious of you! I just found ur blog while looking on the areforum site…a little background I am a transition kid, took 4 of the old, passed 2 but it was then wiped away so took some time off of tests, NOW was laid off and can’t find work, have 2 small kids but have decided to try again! I’m starting with CDs to take n august…I have gotten study guides and forum stuff and just need to bite the bullet (this is what we spent 5 years in college for right!?) any words of wisdom? Thanks so much!

    • jennypdx says:

      Thanks for reading and dropping me a note, Sarah! Sounds like you’ve had quite the journey so far. Kudos to you for getting the exam process going again! You’ve given yourself plenty of time to prepare for CDS. My recommendation would be to chip away a little bit at it every night. Also, there’s a lot of information to cover, but it’s more manageable (and easier to retain) if you focus on one content area at a time. I follow the NCARB exam guide when working on my study guide and make sure I understand everything that is outlined as best I can. Hope that helps a bit, best of luck, and keep me posted, I’m rooting for you!!

  5. Roberta says:

    Congrats! I am just starting out with the exams – I am an older 50+ candidate so seeing this really helps me. Thanks for your blog!

  6. Congrats! I am waiting for the results of the SD test which will put me over the 1/2 way point. Started with the 1st one on April 14th. Tough with the 3 kids, but determined to get them all done! I LOVE your study guides! Thank you so much for compiling all the information. I love focusing on them for the last week or so before my exams. Good Luck with SD, I see you have that coming up next! What’s after that?

    • jennypdx says:

      Thanks for the kind words Jaclyn, and kudos to you for being on such a roll! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy the study guides and that they’re useful to you. After SD I think I’m going to try BDCS. It’s so nice to be coming down the home front with these!

  7. Marji Lucero says:

    Congratulations, Jenny, and thank you for sharing your study guides.

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