The Ultimate List of ARE Study Materials Part 2 – Project Management

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Welcome to the Ultimate List of ARE Study Materials Part 2: Practice Management.

In Part 1 of this series, we take a broad look at the study materials available for ALL the ARE 5.0 Exams. I highly recommend reviewing Part 1, before getting into the details of each exam with Part 2. Here is a link to 5.0 Ultimate List Part 1.

In Part 2 of this series, we zoom in to individually examine each test, and list out all the available resources to help you study for each exam. Below are links to each exam.

If you are looking for information about ARE 4.0, here are links to the Ultimate List of 4.0 ARE study materials: Part 1Part 2, and Part 3

The Ultimate List of 5.0 ARE Study Materials Part 2:

  • Practice Management (PcM)
  • Project Management (PjM)
  • Programming and Analysis (PA)
  • Project Planning and Design (PPD)
  • Project Development and Documentation (PDD)
  • Construction Evaluation (CE)

(These links will be added as each post gets published.)

How This Blog Post Works

To keep things simple, I have organized each part of the Ultimate Part 2 Exam post in the following order:

  • Summary of each exam – I share a short synopsis of what each exam is about.
  • The ARE Publishers – The best place to start studying involves using ARE materials that were specifically created for that exam.
  • Using 4.0 Materials – Just because the exam was updated, that doesn’t mean that 4.0 study materials are now trash. I explain where to find materials in 4.0 that could be helpful for each 5.0 exam. I also give you all the chapters in Ballast 4.0 that are applicable to each 5.0 exam, and tell you where they added new content in 5.0.
  • Other References – I think these miscellaneous books and tools will be helpful for each exam.
  • NCARB References – These references were mentioned at the end of each exam in the 5.0 handbook.
  • NCARB References Matrix – At the end of the 5.0 Handbook, there is a matrix (a chart), which has many more references that were used in creating each exam. But always keep in mind that just because NCARB used these references to write the exam, that doesn’t mean that they always make great study materials.

Let’s get started…

The Project Management (PjM) Summary

Management is the keyword for Project Management.

What does it mean to run and manage a Project?  This exam is the only one that is all about general Project Management skills—which happen during the life of a project, but aren’t directly tied to a moment in time.

NCARB’s description of Project Management will help you get a better understanding of it.

This division will assess objectives related to the management of architectural projects, including organizing principles, contract management, and consultant management.

It will focus on issues relating to office standards, the development of project teams, the overall control of client’s projects, fees, and risk management.

Candidates must demonstrate an aptitude for quality control, the configuration of project teams, and project scheduling.

In addition, candidates must demonstrate the ability to establish and deliver project services per contractual requirements—in collaboration with consultants.

This division will test a candidate’s ability to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare by:

  • Administering contract requirements and the competent delivery of project services.
  • Organizing a team to design and produce contract documents.
  • Coordinating project team activities and a project budget.
  • Communicating information to all constituents throughout the project’s delivery process.
  • Developing a project schedule that defines tasks and meets milestones.

State licensing boards pressured NCARB to making testing in this area more difficult—because many disciplinary issues surrounding architectural licensing fall under the umbrella of Project Management.

In the 5.0 Handbook, the sections of the PjM exam are as follows:

  1. Resource Management
  2. Project Work Planning
  3. Contracts
  4. Project Execution
  5. Project Quality Control

Within each of these sections, there are many objectives. While studying for PjM, make sure you have a very strong understanding for each objective, and spend time studying them. The ARE 5.0 Handbook is your best friend.

Lately I have been referencing the 5.0 so much, that I got sick of always looking for the pdf, so I just created a shortcut to it at YoungArchitect.com/Handbook.

The ARE Publishers

These publishers exclusively create content for the Architect exam. It is highly recommended that you review the study materials created by the publishers before you use the many different supplemental resources. To learn why, I strongly suggest that check out The Truth About All ARE Study Materials.

Architect Exam Prep

Architect Exam Prep

I am a big fan of Architect Exam Prep. I think they do an excellent job of creating ARE Study Materials. They sell each exam’s content for a $99 package that you can purchase online and instantly download.

For the Practice Management exam, Architect Exam Prep offers the following:

  • A PcM Study Guide with many
  • Hours of mp3 audio to listen to while you commute or walk the dog.
  • Flashcards that you just need to print out and cut up.
  • A Case Study Guide, which includes 3 case studies to practice.
  • An Online Exam Simulator with 285 Practice Questions.

I have personally purchased many of their products and have always been impressed. I wrote a very thorough review for their 4.0 Construction Documents and Services package, which I would recommend checking out if you want to learn more about the content in Architect Exam Prep.

Here is a link to my review of their 4.0 CDS Product.

Here is a link to Architect Exam Prep


Ballast 5.0 for PjM

It is no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with Ballast. A few years ago, I wrote a review of the 4.0 Ballast ARE Review Manual, and everything I wrote about the 4.0 book applies to the 5.0 book.

Ballast did a really great job of putting together content for the PjM exam, and most of it is new information from The Ballast 4.0 Book. Ballast added lots of new content in the 5.0 book under the project management exam around the topics of:

Project management (duh), project execution, quality control, coordination, and contracts.

Here is the breakdown of what they offer:

The ARE Review Manual has 64 pages of content for PjM.

The Practice Exam book has a 175-question practice exam. It includes 156 MC questions, as well as 2 case studies with 18 questions relating to each case study.

The Practice Problems book has 35 practice questions and 2 case studies, with 16 questions for PjM.

Basically, the Ballast 5.0 ARE Review Manual is a must-have tool that will help you study for all exams.

Here is a link to the Ballast Study Materials on the PPI website. Use the promo code YARCH for a 15% discount, which is exclusively for Young Architect Readers.

Here is a link to the Ballast 5.0 ARE Review Manual on Amazon.

Here is a link to the Ballast ARE Practice Problems on Amazon.

Here is a link to the Ballast ARE Practice Exam on Amazon.

Here is a link to the Ballast 5.0 Flashcards on Amazon.


Designer Hacks

Designer Hacks is powerful online ARE Practice Question software that helps you study and get used to answering questions about the content.

They offer questions for the Project Management Exam, which will be really helpful. In the ARE Boot Camp, each person starts using Designer Hacks during Week 1 of studying. They use them over and over again, until everyone has used them soo much that they have outgrown them. They are really helpful tools to get started studying for each exam.

As always, practice questions are only tools to help you prepare for the exam. The people who write the practice questions do not write the actual exam, so you cannot assume that your result on a practice exam will be the same as your result on the actual exam.

Click here for Young Architect’s review of Designer Hacks.

Click here for a link to Designer Hack’s website.


Brightwood Architecture

Brightwood (formerly Kaplan) offers a study guide and flashcards for PjM. I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on the new 5.0 Brightwood study materials. I will update this section once I do.

However, several people in The ARE Facebook Group have pointed out that new Brightwood ARE 5.0 books have several of the same repeated chapters across the Brightwood PcM, PjM, and CE Study Materials.

Here is a chart someone made, which shows where each chapter is located throughout those 3 divisions.

After I get my hands on the Brightwood 5.0 study materials, I will peruse it and write a proper review.

Click here for a link to the Brightwood PjM Study Guide.

Click here for a link to the Brightwood PjM Flashcards.


Pluralsight

Pluralsight is one of the newer publishers, which offers video courses for several 5.0 exams, and will ultimately cover all of them.

Several people in the ARE Boot Camp speak very highly of the Pluralsight video courses for PjM, PcM, and PA. The video content for each of their exams ranges from 5-7 hours.

It’s helpful that Pluralsight offers a 2-week free trial, before your credit card gets billed. When you have a hard deadline such as the Architect Registration Exam, a lot can happen in 2 weeks.

Here is a link to Pluralsight’s ARE Video Courses

Using old ARE 4.0 Content to Study for PjM

Project Management, Practice Management and Construction Evaluation exams are very aligned to the ARE 4.0 CDS exam. Anything that you can get your hands on regarding the 4.0 CDS exam will be helpful when studying for PjM and CE.

The content of PcM, PjM, and CE is much more focused and detailed than the  4.0 CDS exam. Reviewing CDS will tremendously help you with see the bigger picture before you get too focused on the details. Do this by either…

  1. Reviewing old content from the CDS exam.
  2. Reviewing all the chapters of PcM, PjM, and CE exams if you don’t have access to the old CDS content.
  3. Take the time to get familiar with B101 and A201. (I talk more about contracts further down this blog post.)

After you’ve done that you should start zooming in and exclusively focusing on one of those exams.

If you can get your hands on a copy of the Kaplan 4.0 CDS, I would start there. I wouldn’t recommend spending too much money on 4.0 study materials, but if you can get a used book for a few dollars, it’s a win!

Below are links to all the versions of Kaplan 4.0 CDS on Amazon. The old versions are just fine, since they have all the same errors as the new versions.

For the CDS Kaplan Study Guide, click the year to see the corresponding edition of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014.

4.0 CDS Practice Questions

The Practice Questions for the 4.0 Construction Documents and Services Exam are very applicable to the PjM Exam.

Kaplan Question and Answers are really well done. Click the year for the corresponding edition: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011,  2012 and 2013. Each year has the same exact content, so just get the best price.

Our Friend Gang Chen wrote an excellent CDS ARE Mock Exam Book. He recently emailed me and told me he is currently working on his PjM Mock Exam, which I’ll add to this blog post once It comes out. Here is a link to the Gang Chen CDS Mock Exam on Amazon.

Ballast 4.0 CDS Questions are also very valuable. Be prepared to be frustrated, because he finds often obscure, weird stuff to create questions about. However, they are really great with helping you gain a deeper understanding of the content and being better prepared. Here is a link to the Ballast CDS Practice Questions on Amazon.


Ballast 4.0 Chapters for Project Management

As I mentioned above, they added a lot of new content to the 5.0 exam. However, the 4.0 book is definitely still helpful. I recommend reading the following chapters:

  • 3: Budgets and scheduling
  • 48-53: All the CDS Chapters
  • 30: Sustainability (for good measure)
  • 55-56: Codes and ADA
  • 50 & 53: Contracts and Coordination.

Other Resources


Project Delivery Practice Guide (PDPG)

I discovered the PDPG Book when I was studying for the CSI CDT Exam. I was really impressed with how it taught the lifecycle of a project in such a thorough, detailed, clear way.

For Project Management, I recommend reading the whole book. It sounds intense, but reading it actually moves along quickly. I read the whole book a few days before I took the CDT exam and completed it much faster then I thought I would.

Due to the thoroughness of PDPG, I have learned that it often answers many of the questions people have after studying other materials (Ballast, Brightwood/Kaplan) regarding topics of project delivery, roles and relationships, and project management.

Because it is so thorough regarding those topics, I must admit that the PDPG is not a strong resource on the topic of understanding AIA Contracts. In fact, it barely gets into them at all, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but just something to be aware of with this resource.

Here is a link to the Project Delivery Practice Guide.


Schiff Harden Lectures

Sometimes, these lectures are referred to as “The Pizza Party” Lectures. You’ll have to listen to find out why.

The Schiff Harden Lectures are the recorded audio from a Professional Practice class, which is taught by the brilliant Construction Lawyer, Michael Hanahan. He does a beautiful job of teaching the AIA Documents and giving stories and scenarios to help you understand the theory behind how the contracts work.

I recommend listening to the Schiff Harden Lectures while having your contracts in front of you. That way, you can take notes on the documents and see exactly what he is talking about when he refers to Article 3.10.1.

Here is a link to the Schiff Harden Lectures.


The Life of an Architecture Project

In the ARE Boot Camp, everyone prints out this giant infographic. Then we grab a highlighter or red pen, start reading at the top, and cross off the parts we’ve read until we arrive at the bottom of the document.

https://youngarchitect.com/2014/02/19/life-project/

NCARB Rules of Conduct

NCARB doesn’t list the Rules of Conduct as a reference for PjM, but I say study it for all ARE Exams anyway.

Here is a link to the NCARB Rules of Conduct

Codes for PjM

It’s never too early to start looking at building codes. Practice management isn’t a big codes exam, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to start reviewing ADA and trying to understand the bigger picture of building codes. But I wouldn’t spend too much time studying building PjM codes and getting caught up in the details.

Below are some resources that will help you learn the codes. You can also use on later exams, which are much more code-focused.

Francis Ching’s IBC Illustrated is a great resource for broad overviews of building codes. If money is an issue, then an older, cheaper, used version is probably just fine for the scope of the ARE. Here are all the versions on Amazon: 2015, 2012, and 2009.

The Fair Housing Act is also a good primer for getting started with learning the ADA. With Fair Housing, the focus is on the pictures, much more than the text.
More importantly, start reviewing it, but DO NOT get stuck on the details. Rather, treat it as a warmup. Here is a link to the Fair Housing Design Manual.


The NCARB References

These are the important study materials that were listed after each division in the ARE 5.0 Handbook.


The American Institute of Architect’s Official Guide to the 2007 AIA Contract Documents 

This book gives a heavy explanation about the AIA Documents in plain English. The explanations of B101 and A201 appear to be lengthier than the Contracts with commentary. This book is highly recommended for someone who is intimidated by AIA Contract Documents. Many people speak very highly of this book as a resource for gaining a deeper understanding of AIA Contract Documents.

Here is a link to the Guide to AIA Documents on Amazon.


The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP)

Just like PcM, using AHPP is a crucial resource for PjM. AHPP is a monster of a book. It can be intimidating, and sometimes people get lost with it. Before you dive face-first into the AHPP, I recommend using it to study in the following order:

  1. Review the information created for PjM from the publishers who create ARE Study materials first.
  2. Print out the ARE 5.0 Handbook PjM chapter, and use the AHPP as a reference guide to look up all the different topics outlined in each objective.
  3. To fill in any gaps, start reviewing the chapters listed below, while constantly reviewing the objectives.

Here are the AHPP Chapters to study for the PjM Exam:

  • 10: Design Project Management
  • 11: Tech and BIM
  • 12: Quality Management
  • 13: Codes and Regulations
  • 15: Project Definition
  • 16: Risk Management
  • 17: Agreements and the AIA Docs Program.

Here is a link to the AHPP 15th Edition and the AHPP 14th Edition on Amazon.

Professional Practice: A Guide to Turning Designs into Buildings by Paul Segal

I bought this book last year because everyone was raving about it. It’s a good pro practice book and is well-written. I recommend it, but if you don’t study this book, it definitely won’t be a game-changer.

Here is a link to Turning Designs into Buildings on Amazon.


BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Architectural Practice

Before spending too much time with this book, I would closely cross-reference it with the objectives in the 5.0 handbook. That being said, it looks like a great book.

Here is a link to BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Architectural Practice

Contracts

PjM is a big AIA Contracts exam. In the handbook, they reference all the major documents.

For starters, I recommend getting really familiar with B101 and A201as a starting point. I find that having a really strong foundation in these 2 documents makes understanding every other AIA document much less intimidating.

You can download the Contracts with Commentary to study B101 and A201. Then go through each contract article, which will give you an explanation in plain English about how to understand the document.  I made shortcuts for you at YoungArchitect.com/B101 and YoungArchitect.com/A201 .

If you log into MyNCARB, you can download sample contracts for all the other documents.

When you start studying contracts, make sure you aren’t just reading lots of theory without working on practice questions or listening to the Audio Lectures.

Reading AIA Contracts is very theoretical, and can sometimes be abstract. To truly understand AIA Contracts, you really need situations and stories that you can apply this theoretical knowledge to. This process will help you understand how to use them to make decisions. You can get these situations and stories by listening to the Schiff Harden lectures (listed above) and working on Practice questions.

Wrapping Up Project Management

I hope you found this information helpful. If you know about other resources that should be included on this list, just send an email to Mikeriscica@gmail.com

Here are links to the other blog posts in The Ultimate List of 5.0 ARE Study Materials Part 2:

  • Practice Management (PcM)
  • Project Management (PjM)
  • Programming and Analysis (PA)
  • Project Planning and Design (PPD)
  • Project Development and Documentation (PDD)
  • Construction Evaluation (CE)

Here is a link to The Ultimate List of 5.0 ARE Study Materials Part 1.

Here is a link to other Young Architect Articles about the ARE.

Here is a link to The ARE Boot Camp.

About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.