As I write this I have just over an hour and a half until the deadline to call Prometic and reschedule passes. I don’t plan to, but as each exam arrives, I find the occasion curious. Signing up for each division is gut wrenching, but the nausea goes away after a day or two. As the examination draws near the appreciation slowly begins to rebuild, but there’s comfort in the fact that it is still “x” number of days away. Until the Appointment Reminder email shows up in the inbox. Uhoh, what’s that feeling in the pit of my stomach?
“Hey, just wanted to let you know that dooms day is almost here…want to get out of it? Call this number.”
Two weeks ago I would have called. A week ago I would have called. Today? I’m not calling. I’m feeling….okay. Not 100% but ok.
It’s amazing how that one quick note makes you stop and reconsider everything you think you know, and worry about how much you don’t. The “No biggie” or “No way!” moment. The moment to assess if you’re not only prepared academically, but also emotionally for the task at hand. After a discouraging Monday which ended in a tear stained and failed Kaplan practice exam things are looking a little better. (Sleep helped. When in doubt, sleep…I often forget this.) A little more progress was made Tuesday, and today I woke up feeling like I have the confidence to give it a shot. I want to sit for Building Systems. Maybe I won’t pass again, I’m still a bit overwhelmed by the content, but at this point I’ll feel worse if I *don’t* take it.
I finished the updates to my study guide late on Sunday, (here’s a copy as a PDF) and think it covers just about everything I could get my hands on. As always, hope it’s useful to someone else too…and apologies in advance for the misspellings and typos, I’ve already caught a few.
The goal this week has been distilling the most critical information and trying to digest as much as I can. Like the last attempt, I’m feeling pretty confident about the overall concepts for each content area, but am still not where I’d like to be with the details. That being said, I feel like I already know more than I did last time, so that bit of optimism is keeping me going as I shuffle through all of my notes. I knocked out a 90% on the NCARB practice problems, but (as previously mentioned) bombed the Kaplan Q&A. I guess I’d rather fail now then on Saturday, and my plan for tonight is to go through the explanations and understand why I got things wrong. (It really helped me prepare for SS, so why not try it again?) I’m feeling better about working with the equation reference sheet that NCARB provides and I’m confident about the vignette. I still need to spend some time looking at diagrams in MEEB and/or Architectural Graphic Standards, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself doing so. At this point it makes the most sense to focus on the details, and memorizing the the little things like ADA dimensional requirements, typical decibel levels for spaces, and types of conduit to use in different applications. I also want to get a handle on a few mechanical systems (looking at you VAV and Constant Volume), general acoustics, and Illuminance vs. Luminace concepts that are still a little fuzzy. Can I pull all of that off by Friday night? I’m not sure, but I’m going to try my hardest.
For me, the exam doesn’t start when I sit down at the workstation, but when I pass the deadline to call and reschedule. There’s no turning back at that point. Do not pass go, do not recollect your 210 dollars (if only), head straight to Prometric and wait for your turn. As I pass that moment today I recognize that I’m entering into my exam mode. I’m nervous (very nervous), but at the same time my mind feels like it’s 100% turned to the content and comprehension that seemed difficult a few weeks ago is almost effortless now. I guess I’m lucky in that regard. At this point there’s little more to say then it’s time to aim high in hope and work.
Well, maybe I’ll say one more thing. As I was browsing information about refrigeration cycles, I ran across this educational film from 1944. No joke, it’s one of the best resources on the topic I’ve seen due to it’s concise explanation and simple diagrams. It’s also one of my favorites, as the thought alone of a bunch of early-Mad-Men-esque guys sitting around in suits smoking and drinking scotch as one says “Hey Bill, we otta get that picture on refrigeration off to the fellas down at the DOE.” makes me furiously happy.