Practice Management test - failed

This might be an attempt to vent / to get feedback from all of you:
I took the Practice Management Test 2 days ago. I failed the test. Very disappointed. i studied for about 4 months, not necessarily intense but did some preparation every day and the last few weeks definitely intensified my efforts to 2-4 hours a day. I mainly used Black Spectacles / Videos, Flashcards, Test exams and did some additional research in the internet to focus on areas I thought i need to know more. At the test i could tell that the main difference to the test exam in BS was the questions were a bit more complex, there were way more math questions that took more time. About 45 min. into the test i could tell that I would not have enough time to answer all the questions. At the end I failed to answer 4 but had many questions that I just hurried and new they were not 100% complete. So here the question - what can I do to improve? did anyone else have the same experience? looking forward to hear from you all! wishing all the candidates all the best for their test!

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Yes. Similar experience. I am actually taking this test on Monday morning again - I previously took this exam about two years ago, life tends to get in the way.

Being that there are multiple versions of each exam, it can be difficult to provide a blanket ‘silver-bullet’ tip. My version of the test was not heavy on the financial portions but they were certainly there, and the format was not a straight forward question and then you provide the answer. The issue is that what ever resource you use to study will not fully capture the intensity or format of the actual exam. Case in point: for my exam on Monday, I have referenced three different companies’ mock exams. Almost all of the questions across the three different companies were essentially asking you to simply regurgitate the information in a short coherent sentence. As im sure you experienced, probably 2/3 or 3/4 of the actual exam questions are full paragraphs containing many details explaining a very specific situation. By the time you finish reading the question and assuming you dont have to re-read the question, you might have 15-20 seconds to select an answer.

I guess my point and piece of advice here is, try to find the pieces of relevant information in the question as quickly as possible - like what are they actually asking you? A good portion of that question is just fluff. You want to be able to give yourself ample time to actually think about the right answer. And lastly, cut yourself off after 60 seconds or whatever time you give yourself per question - mark it and come back to it, even if you can eliminate other options down to just two possible right answers.

Lastly, take as many practice exams as possible. Being able to train your mind and re-create the exam environment as much as possible is key to stress management and mental fatigue when it comes to test day.

Hope this helps - best of luck



I appreciate your feedback and wish you all the best for your test on Monday! Please follow up, let me know how it went and what your takeaways is from your 2nd attempt. I am going to focus on Project Management now and will probably take the test within the next 5-7 weeks, pending how I feel about the practice exams.





Hi @mike.materna & @Daniel.Tynes

Thank you for sharing your story. Let’s see if a couple of our expert architects can share some additional insights!

@marcteer & @heatherrivera do you mind sharing some tips for these test takers?!

@mike.maternaand @Daniel.Tynes This is an awesome dialogue.

I want to first start by commending you both for jumping back on/staying on the horse during these uncertain times. Many have not been able to so you’re commitment is really shining right now.

These exams are challenging. The best way to get used to the questions is by taking the practice exams and exposing yourself to not only the content, but also to the format. To @Daniel.Tynes point, there are different forms of each exam; and it is luck of the draw. Some exams have more equations than others. Some are easier. These are all factors in how the exam is scored in the end. In general, shoot for 2-3 minutes per question. Each question is weighted the same so spending ten minutes to answer one calculation is doing you and your return on investment a disservice.

One trick many people have found useful is tapping each word on the screen with a pencil. This helps focus in on the actual question and not infer anything within some superfluous verbiage.

Make sure to review the recommended AIA contracts in detail and turn to the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice for anything requiring more explanation.

Continue discussing what’s working and not working and lean on one another (and us) for support when you need it. Getting through these exams is a marathon. It takes training and time; and simply put, some miles will be easy and some may be grueling.

Keep up the great studies. It’s awesome to see the support here! And good luck on the exam @Daniel.Tynes

Be well,
Heather Rivera, NCARB

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Ok, so I failed…

Similar grievances to voice here: honestly, it didn’t come down to a failure of knowing the content. I felt that I was familiar with all the content addressed in the questions. However, the question format was vastly more difficult than any practice exam I took leading up to it. Another item of note - it literally came down to the final seconds of the exam i was was furiously going through the questions I skipped and just guessing. By the time I got to the Case Studies, I was mentally gassed - had nothing left in the tank.

So after debriefing and assessing what went wrong for me: it comes down to question comprehension and time management. What resources would you recommend to address these weaknesses? Ive already scheduled it again - hopefully third time’s the charm… :crossed_fingers:

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Hi @Daniel.Tynes so sorry to hear about your exam. Let’s see if @heatherrivera can recommend some resources!

@Daniel.Tynes Sorry to hear! Solidarity, though. Third time is a charm.

Have you tried taking the Case Studies first? It’s not for everyone, but many people find success in tackling these first. To your point, you’re fried by the time you get to them. Attacking them fresh out of the gate is going to be the best your brain is so navigating the reference material and comprehending the questions may seem a bit easier than when you’re two hours deep.

Both question comprehension and time management are going to get better with taking practice exams and exposing yourself to these as much as possible.

If you haven’t done so already, fill out the fail survey. You can then schedule a one-on-one call with one of architects to go over your test results, experience, study habits and what the next step could look like. Everyone is different so these calls allow you to really focus in on you.


I have heard that trying the case studies first is an effective strategy, though I would be a bit worried that i would burn too much time on them - again, time management.

also, are you aware of any practice case studies that are available?

@Daniel.Tynes Currently, the only practice case studies I know of are on the Black Spectacles practice exams (there are dozens). If anyone else has recommendations, I welcome them to provide info!

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