on electricty and keeping the faith

So far, my strategy for re-studying has been to start with with the basics and work my way, slowly, through more advanced concepts.  Looking back over my notes (it’s really nice to have a study guide to start with, by the way) and my posts here revealed that I glossed over a lot of information during my first attempt.  I still don’t think that I missed anything, but I do recall moments in the exam when I quietly kicked myself for not getting into the level of detail that I should have. I’ll be damned if that’s the case again.

Last week I worked through an overall assessment of where I stand.  My biggest concerns are really getting a handle on mechanical, electrical, lighting, and acoustical systems.  I’m feeling alright with passive, fire, and pluming, and I’m not quite sure where I need to improve on conveyance and security.  Addressing those will be the goal of this weekend.  I should probably also dust off the vignette and give that a go, too.


no, not these.

This week  I’ve spent the better part of the evenings tying to wrap my head around the basics of electricity.  I was doing alright until I got to transformers, and then all came to a standstill as I stared at single and three phase configuration diagrams.  I read, I sketched, I googled, I YouTubed, everything was either too vague or ridiculously complex to help me figure it out. Yet after banging my head against the desk a couple of times something must of rattled right, because I could comprehend just how Wye and Delta connections work.  That, or walking away for a milkshake was the break I needed for it all to sink in (unnecessary calories included).  My next goal is to address different voltage and amperage types, their characteristics, and common values for residential and commercial applications.  Like transformers, I’m assuming it’s not that difficult once I’m really in the right mindset.   The challenge is getting there.

The studying process for a retake is surprisingly different than the first time around, and I’m I starting to notice that perhaps I’ve gotten myself overly worked up for BS 2.0.  For the first attempt I tried to learn as much as I could, with the mindset that a well rounded approach to learning the content would be the best strategy. With a retake I’ve found myself almost pessimistically believing that what I knew before wasn’t good enough.  I’ve noticed that I’m obsessing over studying and making sure I understand every little detail before moving on to the next topic.  That’s a big red flag. If I keep up with this frenzied attack I’ll stress out or burn out long before exam day on the 25th.  Quite frankly I think I already am.  Stepping back and looking at the big picture, and then zooming in on the most critical details is really the best approach.  It worked 6 out of 7 times, so perhaps it’s time to take a little of the advice I tend to dole out. Keep the faith and keep plugging away.  It’ll all make sense eventually.

I mean it’s a multiple choice exam…it’s not like we’re preparing to fight the Decepticons.


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6 thoughts on “on electricty and keeping the faith

  1. Elliemac says:

    I’m taking bs on Thursday. I’m very nervous, especially because you didn’t pass this one and your preparation and notes are always so diligent! Any advice you could offer? (I’ve already passed CDs pp spd and ss)

    • jennypdx says:

      Hey Elliemac, hang in there! Just because it wasn’t in my cards to pass BS the first time, doesn’t mean the same holds true for you…you have some big passes under your belt already! Perhaps the best thing to do in these last few days is to spend some time reviewing the big concepts in each content area and doing some practice problems to get you in the exam mode state of mind. Keep your spirits up, head into Thursday knowing you’ve prepared as best you can, and what will be will be. Good luck and let me know how it goes if you think about it! Cheers!

  2. Shelly says:

    Jenny – I have really enjoyed your website throughout my ARE journey over the past year. I took BS on Monday and I think my nerves got the best of me. Amperage, circuiting, voltage, everything started running together and even though I felt the vignette was one of the more easy ones while studying, I managed to get flustered during the test. My husband and I are praying for a PASS letter in a couple weeks, but deep down I feel like I will be revisiting this one in 6 months. Now on to CDS as my #7, fingers crossed I will be able to officially call myself an Architect in June.
    Thank you so much for the encouragement, bits of information and study guides along the way! I recommend your website to those I know entering the ARE world.

    • jennypdx says:

      Hi Shelly, thanks for your note, I’m happy to hear you’ve enjoyed the blog, and I really appreciate you passing it on to others, too! 🙂 Your feelings on BS sound very familiar, given the amount of content on the exam it’s no surprise that it all gets jumbled together. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get your Pass letter soon. CDS will be a breeze compared to some of the others…I’m sure you’ll end the ARE on a high note! Good luck, you’re almost there!!

  3. Jaclyn says:

    Just wanted to shoot you a note and let you know that there is hope! I too failed my last one (BDCS) right around the time you did. I retook it on April 25th and got my results today. I PASSED. Happy early mother’s day to me! I want to wish you luck on the 25th and let you know I’ll be thinking of you. Thank you for all of your awesome notes along the way and for blogging the journey we all face on our road to ARCHITECTING!

    • jennypdx says:

      Hey Jaclyn, WOOHOO! Congratulations on the pass, that’s wonderful news and incredibly well deserved. Hope you’ve been able to celebrate! Thanks for the pep talk, it helps in this final push 🙂

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