Hey @Arch123 - thanks for the question!
This is really dependent on personal preference, but here are a few strategies that we can recommend you consider. I’d try these out on our practice exams and come up with a strategy you feel most comfortable with:
-Work on the case studies first, and then go back to the other test items afterwards. This alleviates some of the stress of not being sure how long the case studies will take, and allows the test taker to ‘reset’ after finishing with the case studies and assess how much time they have per question for the rest of the exam.
-Go through the entire test, answering questions you’re sure about and marking all others for review. This was my preferred strategy when I took the ARE for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it builds a level of confidence when one realizes how much of the content they actually know, and it’s also helpful to see the entire test up front so the fear of the unknown goes away. It also allows you to ‘reset’ your expected time spent per question, after you knock out the ‘easy’ ones. For example, if you get through 40/100 PPD questions in the first hour using this method, you can then spread the remaining 3h 5min across the remaining 60 questions and really take your time.
-Go through the exam in order, monitoring time per question as you go. This is the most straightforward approach, but works for some people! I’d recommend allotting more time for case studies than standalone questions, so something like 2 mins per question, 30 mins per case study, and leaving the remaining time as a buffer or for review. I’d check the clock every ~10 questions to ensure you’re on track.
I’d also be sure to consider the new format of the exam when strategizing - our upcoming ARE Live (3/18) will be discussing taking the test at home via online proctoring with some candidates who recently have done so:
Good luck in your studies!