So You Want to be a Licensed Architect: Practice Management Exam

Author:

Brittany Varengo Project Architect

Category:

  • Design

Posted:

August 10, 2021

Practice Management (PcM) is about understanding the business structure, business development, and asset development and protection. The exam is broken down into the following content areas.

  • Business Operations
  • Finances, Risk & Development of Practice
  • Practice Wide Delivery of Services
  • Practice Methodologies
Preparing for the Exam

When I was studying for the PcM exam, it was all new information to me. I did take a Professional Practice, so I had some background, but I definitely needed the refresher. So when I started the process, I browsed the NCARB Community Boards to see what others said about the exam. What were they focusing on? How long were they studying? What topics need to be reviewed more than others? If you’re ever unsure where to start, I would highly suggest checking the NCARB Community Boards to see how others are preparing. It was a massive help to me.

Resources

Based on the PcM exam topics, I chose to study from various books for this exam. Typically, I studied for one section of exam content across multiple books simultaneously, so I was getting a rounded understanding of the topic before going onto the next section.

  • Ballast ARE 5.0 Review Manual including the practice exams and practice questions
  • Architects Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP) – The MOST VALUABLE study resource for this exam.
  • AIA Contracts – B101, C401
  • NCARB ARE Handbook
  • Schiff Hardin Lectures
Studying

Since this was my first exam and first time through the NCARB ropes, it took a few additional months to study to fully understand everything. I studied for 6 months for this exam. If you think that’s crazy – it might be! But this is crucial information that I was able to carry into the other exams, and it was information that I was not familiar with, so it was worth it! Don’t be afraid to wait until you’re genuinely ready to schedule that exam. Take your time and get your research in.

I started by studying one hour a night and slowly grew up to 2-2.5 hours a night. By slowly building up to a more extended study time, I was better able to keep my focus and avoid distractions. Noise-canceling headphones were vital for me. I consistently wore them during my study sessions with some background music to help me focus on the task at hand.

 

Exam Taking Experience

This is one of the shortest exams, and its information is more understanding the questions and applying what you’ve studied for the correct answer. It covers 65 questions in 2 hours and 40 minutes, and 10-15 of those could be case studies. Before each exam, I calculate how many minutes per question to keep on track. Always leave 30 minutes per case study to avoid feeling pressured and have time to adequately answer. That has always been my approach, and most times, it worked great and resulted in a pass!

In a future blog, I’ll touch on more study tips to help you along the way. Tips and tricks paired with hard work and a dedicated study schedule make passing these exams much more bearable!

 

Author:

Brittany Varengo Project Architect

Category:

  • Design

Posted:

August 10, 2021