PjM Pass ARE 5.0 – Study Materials and Methods

Learn what study materials and methods I used to pass ARE 5.0 PjM exam from NCARB on my first try.

If want a condensed form of this very detailed post, you can pre-order my one page ARE 5.0 PjM Study Guide for free here. The study guide will be released on Sunday, August 30th, 2020.


I’m very excited to share that I passed my PjM exam a few weeks ago. I am releasing it late due to a hectic project, however, I still know exactly what I studied and for how long due to my continued use of Clockify, (which I go more in depth with below).

I worked full time (and then some), met up with my study group to study for this exam once a week, and listened to audio/video lectures while working, and got most of my studying done at night. Separate from my study group, I also had an accountability partner at work through our Iron Buddy program. I aimed to study at least three hours a day except for days when I had site visits, when I studied for one hour or less.

My major motivator in looking for study materials was to continue being very cost effective. I wanted to continue taking advantage of the resources I had used for PcM, while making sure that I didn’t have any knowledge gaps. I’m really trying to make sure I invest the money necessary up front, because no textbook I buy will be as expensive as retaking these exams lol.

I would like to send a big shout out to my study group, who were instrumental in supporting me and keeping me focused. I highly recommend you join one specific to your exam, so you can all learn and grow together.

Books

The Architects Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP) a critical resource which was very helpful for my PcM pass. The would say that this document is an essential reference for the 3 ARE 5 Practice exams. There are AHPP reading guides provided by Wiley publishing and Pluralsight were very helpful. It goes over the roles and responsibilities very well for project management. This is a very thick book, and to be honest it is required reading, you really shouldn’t skip it. It’s like eating your vegetables. I was able to get a copy of the AHPP for free from my office, so check if your office has a copy.

Price: AHPP – Free for me.

ARE 5 Review Manual (Ballast) Ballast’s Project management section is very detailed and illustrative. I don’t have a specific reading guide to recommend, but you should definitely check out the specific Project management Chapters. Some people use this as a standalone reference for the PjM exam, but I would definitely recommend that you cross train with other materials.

Price: Ballast Review Manual – $190

Contracts 

NCARB covers a lot of contracts for the PjM exam as you can see below.

My method for the contracts was:

  1. Reading through the all actual contracts above at least once
  2. Rewriting the contracts in shorthand as described in Christopher Richardson’s NCARB forum post
  3. The Young Architect Contracts course was an essential reference for me. One of the biggest advantages of the Young Architects course over similar audio such as Schiff Hardin is that it goes through all of the contracts that are listed in the NCARB matrix, not just the B101 and A201. Since so much of this exam is based on the contracts, they don’t actually let you purchase the Young Architects Project Management course without the Contracts course.

Price:

  1. Contracts: free on AIA website
  2. Contract shorthand: free
  3. Study Guide: free
  4. Young Architects Contracts Course individually ($85)

Digital Resources

Quizlet – Full disclosure, I am not a big fan of physical flashcard decks. They’re a hassle to write and organize. I greatly prefer using digital flash cards for easy portability, I can save my spot in learning and test myself all within one app. One functionality that I recently started enjoying, since I joined a study group, is the ability to host live games using Quizlet to compete with other group members.

  1. AIA Contracts Deck – Also very critical for ensuring you KNOW the contract numbers, and you’re not just guessing.
  2. AIA Contracts Diagram Deck – This deck comes with pictures that allow you to define the contract parties relationships.

Price for all decks: Free

NCARB Forum Whenever I have a new exam scheduled, the NCARB Forum is the first place I go to learn how other people have passed the exam. Here are some of the helpful posts that I found for the PjM exam.

PjM Pass by Clarissa Hoskinson

PjM Pass by Klara Tully

PjM Pass – 3rd Try by Kelly Duignan

Price for ARE Forum: Free

Young Architect Project Management Course – this was a crucial resource for me. The great thing about this course is that it breaks everything down by the specific exam objectives. The Young Architect courses are a great value in that they are a one-time payment, after which you always have access to the course instead of a one-time. Out of all the guided programs for this exam, this one had some of the highest reviews and was the most cost-effective.

Price: It must be purchased along with the Contracts course. For both courses together it is $169.

Schiff Hardin Lectures –¬†These are a great resource, especially for people who can’t afford to get the Pluralsight or Young Architect Contract courses to explain the A201 and B101 contracts, which are key contracts for this exam. These audio lectures are great to listen to during work or during long commutes, and they come with PDF slides so you can follow along.

Price for Audio Lectures: Free

Practice Exams

Designer Hacks PjM Exam – My office allows us to purchase one textbook for our professional exams. So I asked them to purchase the full Designer Hacks practice questions for all 6 exams, since they were the same price as one physical textbook. Designer Hacks is super portable, with its mobile version, along with multiple levels from pop quizzes to full length timed exams. You can find my one-minute review for this resource here.

Price: This item was free for me as described above, but for this course alone it is $39.

Ballast Practice Exam – These practice problems were at a level of difficulty on par with the actual exams. This practice exam book includes all 6 ARE divisions, so you’ll only have to buy the book once for all of your exams. They are split up into the different exam sections, and allow you to answer them as one long practice exam, or break it down into the separate exam sections.

Time Tracking Software

Clockify Website – I now use this website for all of my exams, to keep track of the materials I’ve studied and time spent for each resource. I can even check my progress on a daily basis, and see how many hours I study per day. This can be even better if you have specific study goals for each resource. You can use my study material tracker to list your hourly study goals for each.

Price: Free


Resources I Did Not Use

Black Spectacles – Not a lot of positive reviews and extremely expensive. I wish they broke their program into the individual parts as it would be useful to try their demo exam independent of their other offerings.

Pluralsight – since Pluralsight’s PjM course is mostly contracts, I didn’t want to purchase both this and the YA Contracts course.

Brightwood – The reviews for these materials weren’t very positive, and I felt like I have enough textbooks between AHPP and Ballast.

AEP – expensive, and not enough positive reviews to purchase

Amberbooks – I didn’t get Amberbooks for this exam, but I may use it if I don’t pass my upcoming CE exam.

Young Architect Bootcamp – If I am thinking of possibly investing in this for the final 3 technical exams, if I pass Construction Administration.

In Conclusion, I’m super glad I passed this exam on the first try, and I hope you get some good out of my methods or recommended materials. If you have any questions, feel free to message me in the chat. Wanna study along with me? I’ve created a #studywithme video so you can join me for a 2 hour Pomodoro session, and not have to study alone.

Study with me in a 2 hour long Pomodoro study session – 25 minutes studying, 5 minutes rest.

ARE 5.0 PjM Study Guide

Free Pre-order released on August 30, 2020

I’ve created a one-page PDF guide to the Project Management Exam, capturing the main ideas of this very detailed blog post in one place. This one-page document efficient and easy for you to strategize how to approach this exam using my study method. You can pre-order your copy here.

One Minute Review: Walking the ARE 5.0 PcM Practice Exam

Can the Walking the ARE 5.0 Practice Exam help you pass the ARE 5.0 Practice Management (PcM) exam? Find out in 60 seconds!

This blog post is part of my One Minute Reviews, where each study material review can be read in a minute or less.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Walking the ARE 5.0 PcM Practice Exam Review

Can the Walking the ARE 5.0 Practice Exam help you pass the ARE 5.0 Practice Management (PcM) exam? Let’s break it down.

Question Content

Content for this practice exam comes from the AHPP, the AIA contracts, and professional codes of conduct. It has a large variety of question types, which are similar to the format you would find on the actual exam. Though it doesn’t highlight the specific exam sections, it covers all the topics required for PcM.

Difficulty of Questions

I took this exam a day before my exam, after studying for months, and I can tell you I was floored. These questions are hard! However, no other practice exam made me feel as prepared for the question style and complexity of the real ARE exam.

Ease of Use

This exam comes in a PDF format that is easily printable or visible on any device. The exam creator, Erik Walker, recommends printing out the answer sheets so you can refer to them as you take the test. This is meant to be a timed test, so be ready with your timer, too.

Price Point

For One Exam: $39. Includes questions and answer sheets with very detailed explanations.

Compared To similar Materials

Hyperfine Architecture PCM/PJM Study Questions: The Walking the ARE question difficulty is higher, however the answer section for the Hyperfine products is very comprehensive, and includes external references to articles, videos and documents that can explain the material in greater detail. Both of these packages are available as PDFs, with no timing or grading integrated into the format.

CONCLUSION

I highly recommend this exam, as I truly don’t believe I would have passed my PcM exam without it. If you use this resource not just as a practice exam, but as a tool to double down on your gaps in knowledge, you will be in great shape come exam day.


Disagree with my assessment, or have a product you want me to review, or have additional questions? Leave a comment below!

One Minute Review: Designer Hacks ARE 5.0 Courses

This blog post is part of my One Minute ARE 5.0 Study Material reviews. Architecture professionals are busy people, and I wanted to neatly package each product review so that they could be read in a minute or less. Disagree with my assessment, have a product you want me to review, or have additional questions? Leave a comment below!

Now, without further ado:

Designer Hacks ARE 5.0 Course Review

Can Designer Hacks ARE 5.0 Courses help you pass the ARE 5.0 Practice Management (PcM) exam? Let’s break it down.

Question Content

Content for these practice exams comes from the AHPP, the AIA contracts, and professional codes of conduct. Grading for the quizzes also shows you how you performed relative to the NCARB content categories for the exam.

Difficulty of Questions

If you can’t do well on these very straightforward questions, you will definitely struggle in the exam. So if you just started studying, I would highly recommend getting these to test your knowledge of basic concepts.

Ease of Use

These practice exams come in a digital format that is easy to use in both desktop and mobile format. There are 3 exam formats, which allow you to study based on how much time you have available. Grading is automatic when you finish, but question answers may not be very detailed. The course maintains a record of your exam results over time so you can check your progress.

Price Point

For One Exam Section: $39. For All 6 Exams: $195

Compared To similar Materials

Hyperfine Architecture PCM/PJM Study Questions: These questions cover 2 exams instead of one, and are cheaper than the cost of a single exam section with Designer Hacks. Hyperfine question complexity is higher, and provides greater detail and resources for their answer sections. However, this is only available as a PDF package, with no timing or grading integrated into the format.

WEARE Practice Exams: Much closer to the exam in terms of complexity, and cheaper at both the individual exam and all-in-one bundle levels. Allows for grading and has 2 full practice exams. and 1 case study.

CONCLUSION

If you are just starting to study for this exam, I would recommend this resource to help you reinforce the concepts you are just beginning to learn. It’s very good for on-the-go studying, and allows you to check your progress over time.