ARE - Construction Documents / by Michelle Linden

Even though I had felt like the Pre-Design exam was a complete fiasco, I didn't have time to dwell on the negative... I had already scheduled my Construction Documents exam for 2 weeks after pre-design. I knew that I wouldn't get the results until after I took the second test, so I tried to focus on the next exam rather than the impending results of pre-design. The exam consists of Codes and Regulations, Environmental Issues, Construction Drawings and Project Manual, and Project and Practice Management. Many of these subjects come up in daily use at work, while others overlap quite a bit with Pre-Design, which made studying easier since I had just finished that test..

Just like with the pre-design exam, I used the Kaplan Construction Documents & Services Book and cd as well as the Archiflash cards as my main study materials. The Kaplan book in particular was very basic for this section, and knowing that a good portion of the exam focuses on contract details, I supplemented my studying with as many AIA documents as I could get my hands on. My office is pretty open in sharing these documents, so I was able to refer to older contracts and forms. However, my office (like many, I'm sure) doesn't use all of the AIA documents, just the few that pertain to our general use. I had a great deal of difficulty memorizing the use of documents that I had never seen before. I know that some local AIA offices will lend sample documents out to members, and I would highly advise taking this opportunity if you can get it. While studying, I also had the opportunity to go over some of the terminology with a few friends, one of whom is in real estate and the other owns his own construction company. These two people really helped fill in the gaps in my understanding of legal issues related to the construction industry. Personally, I felt that the majority of the Construction Documents exam is common sense, especially if you have experience in construction administration. However, the smaller portion of the test that focuses on the legalese of the profession is very difficult.

Again, I spent a great deal of time studying (although not quite as much as Pre-Design), spending about 5 hours per week for 6 weeks, and then 24 hours per week for 2 weeks. Going into the test, I was a bit apprehensive, as I had felt prepared for the pre-design test and yet still found it very difficult. However, I didn't need to worry too much... I thought this was one of the easiest tests of the bunch (although again, I can't stress enough how different the tests are for everyone).

Again, one of the keys to taking this exam was to make sure to leave enough time to review all of the questions. However, this test is different from many of the others as it requires not only an understanding of concepts but also a great deal of memorization of terminology. And again,. if you've got experience in construction administration (which technically, we all should in order to even be qualified to take the exams) this test should not be a problem.

Good Luck!