Thaddeus in NYC!

The legendary ARE Structural Systems tutor David Thaddeus is coming to NYC next week (5-7 June)!

The three-day, 30-hour intensive course will take place at Perkins Eastman’s office, near Union Square. (I can’t find how much it will cost though…)

I actually don’t know anyone who took the course myself – but words are if you schedule your test 2 weeks or so after you take that class, you have a very high chance of passing. Check it out:

https://david-thaddeus.squarespace.com/calendar

Watch youtube videos at speed 2x

When one is tired of reading lengthy study materials, sometimes watching explanatory youtube videos is a good way to take a break, while still getting some studying done. The problem is, while some videos are informative, they are often at a very slow pace, some even more boring than plain text.

Recently my friend Ninad shared a simple trick with me to overcome this – he said to simply watch the videos at twice the speed. It works surprisingly well! Even the narration can still be understood. Use this one as an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ_8aPTydr4

youtube speed

Click on the little gear icon to speed up the video

For vidoes like these, ones that just give you a little bit of visual aid/ big picture rather than specific details, I think this is the way to go. Now you can be twice as efficient!

My ARE 4.0 Timeline

Visualizing ARE 4.0 [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

People always ask how long it takes to study for one exam, and the answer is often a generic “it depends”. Since it’s close to impossible to have an objective standard to base one’s study time on, I can only share my own journey with you. Here’s what it looks like, my own ARE timeline with my morale/ spirit/ emotion line running parallel:

click on image to get full resolution

click on image to get full resolution

I have included my trips in the chart, represented by the empty boxes, and I think those are the only days that I genuinely wasn’t studying at all (not even reading on the train). For the studying days, lighter colors are more laid-back studies (procrastinating in the library) and darker colors are more intense studies (studying while eating lunch).

Not included are office deadlines, birthdays, Christmas, as well as all the ups and downs of my personal life. As you can see I didn’t spend too much time in the “sane” zone- the line rises and plummets like the stock market. I am sure everybody has their own struggles and their own version of this curve that, only after it’s over, and only from a distance, can you see that the highs eventually outweighs the lows.

Walking out of it I do see a lot of things that I totally would have done differently if I knew better, but I guess one can say that about a lot of things in life. This is just a retrospective diagram that illustrates what I did, and I by no means suggest anyone follow it.

On a side note, NCARB recently published a document called “NCARB in numbers“. It says that people with a master’s degree on average take 1.81 years to complete the exam(page 28). I spent 1.33 years, so I guess you can see it as a sample timeline of a person with a master’s degree, slightly on the short side.

So that’s the past 16 months of my life in a glance. I will write more about each specific exam later…

Visualizing ARE 4.0 [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

On being there finally!

This is it – I did it I did it I did it!

The result came a little early – on a Thursday afternoon. After I saw the email from NCARB, I told my coworkers to give me a moment. I clicked, clicked some more and scrolled… there they were, the four big blue letters I was waiting to see all this time: PASS!!!! As I screamed and jumped around in the office like a mad person, I felt almost like someone winning an Oscars. Even though nobody was hurrying me to wrap up my speech, I was scrambling up a list of people I had to thank, figuring out what I had to say. I was definitely elated; but I was also incredibly grateful for all the love and support I have gotten along the way, the things I’ve learned, and more than anything just relieved that it’s finally coming to an end. I never knew my mind could be so full and so blank at the same time.

pass 3

my final PASS.. no expiry date!

Ever since I read the glorious Jenny Cestnik’s final post, I have always dreamed of this day coming. I think she describes it much better, so I would like to take the liberty of quoting her here:

“Are there tears of joy?  Squeals of excitement?  Does the weight of the ARE albatross hanging around one’s neck suddenly disappear?  ….  As my moment arrived it was a strange amalgamation of those things, a deep exhale of relief while blinking back a tear.  Upon reaching the light at the end of the tunnel one is enveloped in a warm sun lit glow of a perfect summer’s day.  It’s the most intimate and yet all encompassing feeling.  It’s not big or flashy, it’s simply tranquil.”

I went hiking last weekend, and what Jenny described is not unlike seeing this beautiful view after climbing painfully for 3 hours (1 of which we spent just being lost).

view

view from the top of mount beacon park

For those of you still battling the ARE, I wish you the best of luck. Like I said in my earlier post, it is supposed to be hard, otherwise everybody can do it. As far as I can tell, it’s totally worth it.

This will not be my final post – it’s interesting how one can realize so many things only in retrospect. And therefore I will continue to write. I will put together all the information I find useful and share them on this site. To quote my friend TJ, who happened to find out he passed his final test the same day I did, we all know this is only one step towards bigger things. So, stay tuned!