On reminders and my (revised) BS Study Guide

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.

*cue the Rocky montage music*

*cue the Rocky montage music*

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.

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11 thoughts on “On reminders and my (revised) BS Study Guide

  1. Brian says:

    You’ve got this; I look forward to your ‘final pass’ post in the coming weeks!

  2. Matt says:

    The exams are impossible to pass if you don’t take them. Im sure you will pass BS this time around. Best of luck to you!

  3. Eddie says:

    Love the Mad Men reference! You can do it! I’m in the final throes of studying for SS (my last exam) which I just recently scheduled for June 17. I told myself I was going to get it done before the blackout, so if I fail, I can use the blackout as part of my 6 months waiting period instead of it just being a waste!

    Needless to say – I need to buckle down on my studying – I kicked off with Kaplan last night and got 9/10 right on the first chapter quiz.. woohoo! It’s been 6+ years since I took a structures class though, so it’s all mighty rusty!

    • jennypdx says:

      Thanks Eddie, think it went okay…still nice to have it done regardless of pass/fail. Good luck on Structures, Kaplan will serve you well in your preparations, I found it really useful as I tried to remember everything from college too!

      • Eddie says:

        womp womp… I find myself in your position of going 6 for 6 and failing #7. Somehow failed the structures vignette, but I have no idea why. Must have misread something or missed something big to have major deficiencies. I’m pissed at myself for passing the hardest part, and failing the easiest part (supposedly) of all 7 exams.

        Oh well, I guess I will get to try out the new scheduling system after all…

  4. Cam says:

    Girl I understand this feeling. Right now I really want to do my SPD exam in June but I feel very unsure of myself with the vignette. Still trying to see if I should do it…

    I feel like this time your BS exam will go well, positive vibes for a big PASS!

    • jennypdx says:

      Thanks Cam, I know the feeling on the SPD exam vignette…it was a tough one to prepare for. Sometime you just have to go for it though! Thanks for the good vibes, I think it went ok yesterday!

  5. Jaclyn says:

    I hope you made out well today! I was thinking about you.

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