A common question that most ARE candidates have is whether using the MEEB book to study for the Building Systems Exam is worth their time or not.
The reason why this issue comes up so frequently is because the MEEB book is such a valuable resource for candidates to use, but it is certainly very exhausting and time consuming to read.
Before we get too far, I just wanted to share my quick opinion on the use of the MEEB book while studying for the ARE. I think the answer depends on the specific individual and their needs. So much of the ARE depends on your instinct based upon experiences in school or in the real world and of course this varies from person to person.
With that said, some people may need to use the MEEB book more than others depending on their comfort level with the material on the BS exam.
My goal with this post is to help ARE candidates make the best decision for THEMSELVES as to whether or not to use the MEEB book to prepare.
What Is The MEEB Book?
Ah, the MEEB book.
First things first, MEEB stands for “Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings” but for obvious reasons, everyone refers to it as the “MEEB book.”
This book is over 1,700 pages and as it’s title suggests, gets into everything you need to know regarding MEP systems in buildings. This book is mainly geared for engineers of each discipline but it’s also a great resource for architects since they need to have a general idea of each building system for coordination purposes.
This book basically has everything that an architect or engineer could ask for in addition to the text including: pictures, graphs, charts, sections, plan diagrams, and 3D diagrams.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the 9 major areas that the MEEB book covers:
- Energy Overview
- Thermal Comfort
- Waste and Water
- Fire Protection
- Signal Equipment
Even though there are only 9 main content areas in this book, there are sub-categories under each one that help to make up 28 chapters in this book.
MEEB and the ARE
So I’m sure by now you’re saying to yourself, “There’s no way I have the time to read through 1,700 pages of this book all for 1 ARE test”.
Believe me, I completely agree with you!
No matter how good of a reader you are, there’s no way that you’ll be able to learn, understand, and remember all of the information in the month or two that you are preparing for the BS exam. There’s simply too much information in this book for one person to remember for an ARE test.
With that said, I still think there is VERY useful information in the MEEB book and it’s still a valuable resource for any ARE candidate.
It’s all about filtering out the information that won’t be useful to you on the ARE from the information that is critical to you. This is the information that varies from person to person depending on your own comfort level with the content.
What To Study
Like I mentioned above, there’s no set number of pages that I would suggest reading out of the MEEB book that you need to know for the ARE because that will depend on how comfortable you feel with the information.
For someone who has experience dealing with electrical systems in a building before, they may not need to read through those chapters because it’s been etched in their memory from years of experience while others that have no experience with electrical systems may find it necessary to read that entire chapter to get a better understanding.
I certainly recommend that you take a look at yourself in the mirror to get a better understanding of what YOU need to know to feel comfortable before taking the Building Systems Exam. Once you do that, you’ll be able to identify which chapters and topics you can focus on.
All in all, I guess I would tell ARE candidates to only read through specific chapters that you need help on because it’s not worth the time and effort of reading the entire book. Some people may disagree with me on this, but I think you’ll overwhelm yourself if you try to tackle this entire book.
My Experience With The MEEB Book
Even though I didn’t read through all 1,700 pages of the MEEB book when studying for the Building Systems Exam, I still purchased and used this book for the ARE.
When I sat down to review what I needed to study for the BS exam, I read through the Building Systems chapter of the PPI ARE Review Manual in order to see exactly what content was covered on this exam.
Doing this allowed me to see how comfortable I was with some of the different content areas on the exam like: mechanical systems, plumbing systems, lighting, electrical systems and energy efficiency. I found that although I was comfortable in a few of these areas, there was definitely a lot of stuff that I didn’t know, especially regarding mechanical systems.
Once I was able to pinpoint my weaker areas, I used the MEEB book to dig deeper into these areas to help explain them to me better. I did this for at least 5 different chapters because I needed the graphs, images, and charts to help explain the content better.
All in all, I thought the MEEB book was extremely helpful because I used it in the RIGHT way. If I would have gone through and tried to read everything, there’s no way I would have remembered a thing about it.
By using this book in the most economical way, I was able to target my weak areas and use this book to my advantage.
I would certainly recommend the MEEB book to any ARE candidate who doesn’t feel comfortable with all aspects of the Building Systems exam. This exam can be quite tricky for those without a lot of experience so it’s important to use any many resources as possible.
If you’d like more information on where you can get the Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings book from, see here!
Good luck everyone!