PCM Pass - 2 Weeks Studying

Passed PCM today with just two weeks studying directly after passing PDD.

Personally what’s worked for me in this process was taking PA, PPD, PDD first. Those are definitely the more challenging, time-intensive tests that I would study rigorously at least two months for each.

By getting these big 'uns out of the way first, it makes CA, PCM, and PjM SO much less painful. Plus, you’ll have a much better perspective approaching these tests with your ‘architect hat’ on and not just your ‘PM/business hat’ on. I spent no more than two weeks each prepping for these ones.

Resources that helped:
Black Spectacles practice tests: take one before you study anything to determine your baseline. If you are getting less than 45-50% at this point, consider rescheduling your test. Keep taking tests until you’re averaging 70% plus. I take a practice test the night before the exam to get myself in that mental space, plus I run through all of the “math problems” since I know that’s my weak point.

Law for Architects: Great little book. You could probably read through this in a day. I found it extremely helpful for CA and PcM.

AHPP: a Must. I went through and realistically only read Ch. 7 and 10 multiple times as this seems to be the bulk of PcM. Skim through the other chapters, but don’t waste your time reading the whole book. The little tables and side notes are probably the most helpful. There’s alot of filler and repetitive points made through AHPP that can slow you down.

Professional Practice: Also another little book you can read in a day. Very helpful for PcM and PjM.

Resources that ‘sort-of’ help:
Black Spectacles Videos: honestly the only way I can bear these videos is by watching them in x2 speed. Personally, I find them way too cursory so I definitely just put these on in the background while I work and maybe pick out key terms and move on. I usually study the BS flashcards too while I watch these.

Schiff Harden Lectures: People seem to swear by these for CA, PCM, and Pjm. Honestly, really interesting content, but after listening to a few hours of them, I found it was mostly information I already know from practice so I stopped listening to them. (I’m also a Construction Manager that deals in contracts ALOT so maybe I’m biased here)

In summary:

Know Budgeting principles, applications, and formulas. This is a fair portion of PcM and probably the hardest to grasp. Spend your bandwith focusing on this.

Know Project Delivery types and pros/cons of each one

Know your Laws and Regs when it comes to being an employer. (FLSA, Davis Bacon, Insurance types (and what premiums are included), Ethics, etc.


Hi @kelsey.simpson and welcome to the ARE Community! Your story is impressive! I know our users will appreciate your references & tips for studying!

Congratulations on passing the PcM Exam!! :tada: