I have to start out by saying I do not post on here much, but I do read what others have to say. So thanks to those who do post...it helps. Here are my thoughts on what has been the most difficult of the test I have taken so far (4 for 4), EVEN over structures. To me, taking structures is easier because architecturally we speak it on a daily basis. We speak columns and loads and pounds, we do not always speak MEP. We don't always speak cfm, lumens, or footcandles, so even though I was familiar with the terms, I treated it like a new language.
MC: With that being said, I studied more of the definitions from kaplan and ballast than I have on any other test. The kaplan chapters were good basic reading, but what information kaplan provides in over 12 chapters, ballast explains in 4 chapters. Ballast has less fluff, but also less explanation. There is also a nicely organized summary of this information on the forum. That is all I would recommend to those who are overwhelmed with everything you read on here...or at least it worked for me. Then take all the practice test and read the answers...even if you get them correct. The material is relevant, not the exact question. I will say I focused very little on the math (note the formulas on the exam are posted in the forum). Roughly 10% of the questions were math questions, I answered 2-4 of them and skipped the others. That was just the choice I made going into the exam...no logical reasoning behind that honestly, I just did not focus my efforts there. I would recommend practicing those equations so you can quickly work through the math on the exam.
CONCLUSION: I think the biggest think I have noticed on the forum is the overload of information, people suggesting you have to read thousands of pages to answer roughly 100 questions. My experience with these test show 1/3 will be from left field (probably not in any book your engineers even own); 1/3 comes from the material directly; and the remaining 1/3 comes from experience or other chapters. I would recommend stay focused and do not get overwhelmed with all the material. Do what it takes to understand the material conceptually and know you cannot prepare for all of it.
WHICH ONE GOES THROUGH THE ROOF? A vent stack, or a stack vent?
This first file is taken directly from ARE Forum FTP site. I interpret it as a step-by-step instruction of how to pass the test. Read to the very end. (Unfortunately, all of the links appear to be broken. But the referred to info may be on the FTP.)
The NCARB Primer. This is provided on NCARB's site, but I am providing it here as a one-stop-shop sort of deal. NOTE: I have plowed in to the quizzes and solutions before and skipped the introductory pages. However, these pages are great indications of what will be on the test. I recommend taking a minute to review the front-end.