What We Updated: PPI's ARE 5.0 Exam Review

We are pleased to announce the upcoming second edition of PPI’s ARE 5.0 Exam Review, also known as “the Ballast book.” For this update, we took a comprehensive look at customer feedback, feedback from NCARB experts, and the ARE 5.0 exam specifications. We are confident that the resulting updates make this new edition the best comprehensive review for the ARE.

Want the updated ARE content now?

While we are finalizing the print version of the Ballast book, we’ve already updated the content in our online eTextbook and web book in the PPI Learning Hub. For a limited time, when you preorder our print book series, you will also get instant access to the eTextbook copy of ARE 5.0 Exam Review, as well as access to the Learning Hub and Video for any exam division.

ARE 5 Exam Review

What exactly changed in the new edition?

As with any new edition of a textbook, you may be wondering, “What exactly is changing? Is this really an improvement, or can I just use the old edition?” We are happy to walk you through our process and what we have updated, so you can have a better sense of what we did and why we are so proud of this new book.

First, we listened to customer feedback that our updates from the 4.0 to the 5.0 format didn’t go far enough with adding new content. We took that feedback seriously and made sure that for this new edition, we added needed 5.0-focused content to meet each exam objective.

We worked closely with NCARB to exhaustively review the Ballast book against every exam objective through the NCARB Approved Test Prep Provider Program. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to work directly with the organization who administers the exam and determine precisely what we needed to add or clarify to ensure our book has complete coverage for all six divisions. At this time, NCARB has approved ARE 5.0 Exam Review for PjM, PcM, and CE divisions. We have submitted our revised content for the remaining three divisions and are awaiting their approval.

The author, David Ballast, wrote new chapters and sections to address the customer feedback and NCARB reviews. For many exam objectives, he wrote new sections to better address the exam objectives; for others, he rewrote existing sections so that it more clearly addressed the exam objective. This update was more than a handful of sections; we updated nearly every chapter with new content, even writing or rewriting entire chapters where it was warranted.

Due to the increase in content, ARE 5.0 Exam Review has increased nearly 200 pages from the previous edition. The new sections add depth of review and clarification of existing content to provide a comprehensive review of all ARE 5.0 exam topics. We also fully updated our interior design with new color-coded tabs, making navigation between the different exam divisions even easier.

The Detailed List: What Exactly We Updated

PcM: Added and revised content to address the following exam objectives:

  • Objective 1.1: Added focused content on professional development for licensed professionals
  • Objective 1.3: Added content on general ethics information for the profession. Added content regarding NCARB’s Model Rules of Conduct as an additional resource
  • Objective 1.4: Added material related to how to appropriately respond to unknown conditions affecting health, safety, and welfare of the public
  • Objective 2.2: Added content related to conflict resolution and liability insurance for architects
  • Objective 2.3: Added information to more comprehensively address the exam objective and add a depth of coverage
  • Objective 4.2: Added specific information pertaining to evidence-based design. Added information to generally add a depth of coverage for this exam objective

PjM:

  • Objective 2.2: Added information to complement the client reviews and regulatory submissions graphics in the book
  • Objective 3.2: Added information regarding payment schedules
  • Objective 3.4: Added content regarding sequencing and integrating of a consultant’s work in the overall project
  • Objective 4.1: Added information on budget information better connected to the project management division specifically, instead of solely referring to another chapter
  • Objective 4.2: Added coverage of financing issues
  • Objective 4.3: Added information regarding the standard of care and industry standards related to this objective
  • Objective 4.4: Added more detailed content related to code issues/matters. Added information related to other jurisdictions potentially having authority over a matter or issue, such as fire and public works
  • Objective 5.1: Added content to address the objective and add a depth of knowledge to address the objective
  • Objective 5.4: Added a depth of knowledge and more advanced knowledge to address the objective

PA:

  • Objective 1.1: Developed additional content directly related to the objective to ensure all topics were covered
  • Objective 1.2: Added content on hazardous conditions and added references to FEMA/NFRIP FIRM maps
  • Objective 1.3: Developed additional content directly related to the objective to ensure all topics were covered
  • Objective 2.1: Added content on how to use codes Objective 2.2: Added depth of coverage to more adequately address this objective
  • Objective 2.3: Added content to address this objective
  • Objective 3.1: Added content related to utilities, access points, traffic patterns, and easements
  • Objective 3.2: Added depth of coverage to more adequately address this objective
  • Objective 3.3: Added material related to graphics
  • Objective 4.1: Removed extraneous material regarding technologies
  • Objective 4.2: Added material related to geotech, utilities, topography maps, demographics, and environmental data
  • Objective 4.4: Added material regarding vertical relationships, conveying systems, atriums, and other multi-level issues
  • Objective 4.5: Added material on the development of a preliminary project schedule and added specific examples. Deleted extraneous material not related to the objective
  • Objective 4.6: Added information regarding schedules. Added coverage of relationships with other building systems. Added coverage related to civil, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing
  • Objective 4.7: Generally added more content to address the objective and specifically added information on bubble diagrams

PPD:

  • Reorganized content across the entire division to better align with exam objectives and for better clarity of reading
  • Revised detail to better apply the content to the exam objectives, particularly to address application and evaluation objectives
  • Deleted extraneous material related to historical events Revised existing examples to better match the difficulty and complexity of questions found on the exam
  • Objective 1.1: Added content regarding views, wind, topography, adjacencies, and how to site a building on a site. Deleted extraneous information not related to the exam objective
  • Objective 1.2: Added content regarding the ability to determine and apply sustainability applications
  • Objective 1.3: Added content regarding the character of site neighborhood, transit, amenities, and the scale of adjacent buildings. Added general content to cover the objective more fully
  • Objective 2.1: Added content regarding regulations that govern standard and accessible parking. Added a general depth of content for this exam objective and how to apply the content to the objective
  • Objective 2.2: Added information regarding how to compile into a code analysis. Added information regarding the application aspect of the objective. Generally added content to better cover the objective
  • Objective 2.3: Added information regarding how multiple codes are used together and how to discern which code governs when a conflict arises. Added information on how to use codes together. Added information on energy and mechanical codes
  • Objective 3.1: Added content regarding variable refrigerant flow. Added material on how to determine and select systems. Added information on waste piping
  • Objective 3.2: Added information regarding the evaluation and selection of appropriate systems and cost-effectiveness of buildings. Added information on how to make a comparison between systems to determine what’s appropriate
  • Objective 3.3: Added information regarding communications, fire suppression, and security
  • Objective 3.4: Added material regarding how to evaluate and apply the content to the exam objective
  • Objective 4.1: Added content to generally better cover the exam objective
  • Objective 4.2: Added content to generally better cover the exam objective
  • Objective 4.3: Added material regarding program requirements. Added content to generally better cover the exam objective
  • Objective 4.4: Synthesized information regarding building materials to address the objective. Added content to generally better cover the exam objective
  • Objective 5.1: Added depth of coverage to more adequately address this objective
  • Objective 5.2: Expanded content to address being able to adjust the cost estimate
  • Objective 5.3: Added depth of coverage to more adequately address this objective

PDD:

  • Objective 1.1: Added content on architectural systems and how to integrate and use architectural systems. Added detail regarding curtain walls, windows, and flooring
  • Objective 1.2: Added content regarding electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. Updated content on mechanical systems
  • Objective 1.3: Added content related to foundations
  • Objective 1.4: Added material regarding conveying and security
  • Objective 1.5: Added content to generally cover the exam objective
  • Objective 1.6: Added material related to the coordination of activities
  • Objective 2.1: Added content regarding assembly, drawings, and update of drawings
  • Objective 2.2: Added content to generally cover the exam objective
  • Objective 2.3: Added content to generally cover the exam objective
  • Objective 2.4: Added content to generally cover the exam objective
  • Objective 2.5: Added more definitions of actions associated with the objective. Material updated to address how to incorporate, determine, and recognize topics related to the exam objective
  • Objective 3.1: Updated material to better explain what goes into specifications and what you exclude versus include
  • Objective 3.2: Added a depth of coverage for this exam objective
  • Objective 3.3: Added a depth of coverage for this exam objective
  • Objective 4.1: Added a depth of coverage for this exam objective
  • Objective 4.2: Added content to generally cover the exam objective
  • Objective 5.1: Added a depth of coverage for this exam objective, as well as additional details and examples

CE:

The Construction and Evaluation division of ARE 5.0 Exam Review was approved by NCARB as is, which means that the CE division of the Ballast book already comprehensively addressed all exam objectives.

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