Taking AREs has been one of the most challenging experience of my lifetime. I don’t think it is because I was born into a privileged life and pampered with comfort up until to that point:). On the contrary, I have always had to study/work so hard to achieve things in life. The geography you born in, pre-defines your future and ripping through that pre-defined borders requires a lot of will power. I believe it was one of the biggest challenges of my lifetime because, my standardized test taking strategy was not quite available when it came to AREs.
what was my test-taking strategy up until AREs?
Simple: Study the content and take as many questions as you can. Repetition is the key! But when it came to AREs, there were not enough sample questions in the market. I hear you saying “Wait a second, we have Designerhacks, Black Spectackles, PPI, Hyperfine, WEARE…..and they all have mock exams” Yes they do and I am thankful to the most of them but believe it or not, it is/was not enough! I needed minimum ten thousand questions per exam to pass these exams at my first try. Back in high school, we were doing 400-500 questions a day and we did it for 3 years, everyday, to pass the college exam! That was what I knew and good at and it wasn’t there…
so, what did I do????
Yup! You got it! I sat down and wrote almost 1500 questions for myself for all 6 exams. Insane…? No, actually it is called desperation…What we have currently in the ARE market is roughly 1500 questions per exam. You can push the numbers a little higher if you include Kaplan and Ballast ARE 4.0 questions too, but that is it. And as a (forced) pro-test taker, I knew it was not enough when I started to take my first exam. So, I turned every valuable information in the books that I was studying into a question. That was my way of taking notes basically.
why am I launching PPD & PDD questions first?
I started with PPD and PDD questions first because they are the hardest of these six exams and the low pass rates really breaks my heart. My journey with these two was not different than what some of you are going through now. Reading books and writing my own questions worked great for the first four exams; CDS (4.0), PjM, PcM and PA but when I hit the PPD & PDD (the painful duo), it almost felt like I drove head-on to a huge wall. But of course, as many of you, I did not give up! Shout out to us all who persist! I kept reading, studying and writing questions. (You can read that journey and my suggestions to pass PPD and PDD in next posts.) So the number of questions accumulated.
Eventually I started to share those question with friends, colleagues and people I met on online study forums and they liked it, some even said they passed because of them. So after I passed my last exam in December, 2019, I decided to share my questions starting with the hardest ones: PPD and PDD.
how to utilize the AREquestions best?
- Ideally, before starting to study for an exam, first visit the posts I wrote regarding how I studied PPD or PDD and which books are must to read to pass. Start reading/reviewing the material first.
- After being done with first round of reading or reviewing the books (yes there will be another round of reading some chapters and sections), take quizzes one by one.
- I setup the quizzes to show the feedbacks immediately after every question, so you can utilize them as study tools. With each question, read the feedback carefully. Go to the referenced book and section and read that portion again if you answered the question wrong or if you feel weak in that content. Eventually all 480 questions will make you read almost four to five books.
- Pay attention to incorrect options as well! I have included a lot of feedback for incorrect answers. They are there for a reason, study them too. Nothing is random.
- Once you are done with quizzes and reading, specifically 2 weeks to your exam, take mock exams everyday until you consistently score 80% and over. It is why the pass rate for mock exams and quizzes are set to be 80%.
- Let’s be honest, you cannot pass these exams with just doing my questions and don’t believe if any test provider promises you this. There is no such thing as passing these exams with using only one source. YOU have to DO THE WORK to pass these exams, especially PPD and PDD. Look at the pass rates! If there were any single third party material that was enough on its own to pass these exams, first they would be insanely rich and second, we would have 90 percent pass rates for PPD not 42 percent.
- So, you have to read the books that are in ARE 5.0 Reference Matrix. My questions will refer you to many of them and will help you to pass but they cannot do it without you reading the books. Please visit testimonials page and see what other people say about the questions and how they utilized them to succeed.