If you haven’t looked at using the ARE practice exams to study for your exams, then you may want to consider modifying your plan of attack.
It’s very easy for candidates to go out and purchase a variety of study material for the ARE but not really have a good plan for actually using that material. There are a few major companies that have published ARE review manuals for test candidates and I certainly recommend using these for studying.
In addition to using ARE review manuals to study, I certainly recommend using ARE practice exams as a tool for studying for the exams as well. I would like to take some time to discuss how using ARE practice exams to study can benefit your preparation.
Types of Practice Exams
Both Kaplan and PPI have published practice exams for the ARE. When I went through the ARE process, I stuck with the PPI study guides so I can’t comment too much about the quality of the Kaplan study guides.
From what others have said around the ARE community, it seems that the PPI study materials are superior to Kaplan for both the ARE study guides and the practice exams.
Let’s take some time to talk a little about what is included in the PPI practice exams and how you can use this to your advantage.
Practice Exams by PPI
PPI has divided up their practice exams by each individual exam division. This is nice because you don’t have to purchase an entire book if you only need practice exams for a few tests.
Within each practice exam guide, there are 2 main sections: the sample problems and the practice exam.
Each of these sections are important review because they offer different perspectives on the material that you’re studying.
Let’s take a look at the 2 different sections and how you can use each of them as a tool for preparing for the ARE.
PPI Sample Problems
This section of the practice exam provides sample multiple-choice questions and is organized by topic. For example, the BDCS sample problems will be organized into sub categories such as: wood construction, steel construction, interior materials, etc.
Breaking down the sample problems this way can be very helpful because as you’re studying different chapters in the review manual, you can go to that corresponding section in the ARE practice exams and test yourself.
Also included in the sample problem section are commentaries after each question. Since this section is meant to complement the rest of your study material, each question comes with the correct answer and a short narrative explaining why that answer is correct.
Having these commentaries can be very helpful because you’re able to understand WHY your answer may be wrong. It’s almost like the PPI sample problems are acting as a separate study guide to help you prepare for the ARE.
I feel that it’s essential to use the practice exams as a complementary resource as you’re studying. Many people make the mistake of going through sample problems at the very end (a day or 2 before a test) where you won’t recall any of the information.
By utilizing and reviewing the sample problems as you’re going through the study guides is certainly the most effective way to prepare for the ARE.
PPI Practice Exam
The second section of each ARE practice exam book consists of a full multiple-choice exam. PPI provides you with an empty answer key to fill in your correct answers as you complete the exam.
Each practice exam contains the exact number of questions that you’ll see on the actual test so that you can time yourself while you take the exam.
This section of the ARE practice exam books is meant to act as more of a barometer to see where you are at in terms of your knowledge of the material so it’s a good idea to take this practice exam seriously.
To help you out even more, the answers are given to you after the practice exam along with commentaries for each question. Just like the sample problem section, these commentaries can be very valuable tools because they can help you understand why you may have gotten a question wrong.
I know this may be a lot to digest but I feel that using these practice exams the right way can give you a big advantage when it comes to passing the ARE. Many people don’t realize how much information you can take away from both the sample problems and practice exams in each PPI practice exam book.
The key to everything is making sure you have enough time to learn this information so I would avoid putting off the practice exams. I can’t stress this enough but the earlier you start using the practice exams as part of your studying process, the better off you will be.
Since the PPI practice exams contain commentaries for each question, you can certainly learn a lot from these questions because most of them are written in the same manner as the study guides.
I also think it’s beneficial to take the actual practice exam a few weeks to a month before your actual exam. This not only gives you an idea of how long it will take to complete the exam, but it gives you an idea as to what areas you still need to focus on. This will give you plenty of time to refocus your studies.
PPI/ARE Advisor Discount
As I mentioned earlier, I was a big supporter of the PPI study materials and practice exams as I was going through the process of taking the ARE. I strongly support these products because they were so helpful to me as I prepared for each exam.
Since I feel so strongly about the PPI products, I’ve reached a deal with them to offer every reader 10% off of any ARE product that PPI publishes.
This 10% off discount includes the ARE Review Manual, ARE Practice Exams for each exam division, ARE flashcards and much more.
If you’d like more information on getting 10% off ARE Practice Exams, see here!
With so many different resources available for the ARE, it can be very overwhelming to decide what you need to use. I recommend sticking with one brand and sticking with it.
Many people make the mistake of using multiple study guides that basically tell you the same thing but using different styles. This can get redundant and you’ll waste precious time.
I would certainly recommend using ARE practice exams to study for each division as well because these guides can act as a complementary resource to your study guides. These practice exams should not be an afterthought and can go a long way in making sure you pass the ARE.