LARE: grading and drainage

Viewing 13 posts - 16 through 28 (of 28 total)
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  • #153857
    Denise Woolery
    Participant

    Thank you so much Bob.  Life has been so busy lately that I can’t even find time to take the test.  Since I only have grading to pass, I really need to complete the process and get licensed, so some time soon I will try again.  I have taken the UCLA grading prep weekend course twice, and I still failed the darn thing.  Very upsetting, especially after spending all of that money.  Too bad they make it so hard!

    Best,
    Denise

    #153856
    toby
    Participant

    do you know which piece of the grading test you are failing ?

    #153855
    Ray Freeman
    Participant

    << But, even with over 30 yrs. of site grading experience…graded over 500 projects during my LA career, I’m not so sure I could pass the “computerized” version of the LARE Grading exam. >>

    Robert,

    I bet with a little practice and some minimal guidance you could blow away the grading problems on the current exam.

    Ray

    #153854
    Denise Woolery
    Participant

    I have failed the old vignette style grading and drainage section E numerous times.  I should have been licensed years ago.  I have not attempted the new format.  I am really tired of spending so much money on this.  So far not being licensed has not stopped me from having plenty of work.  So, I am debating if I should continue.

    #153853
    Denise Woolery
    Participant

    Thank you.  I have visited her website and when I can muster up the time and money to take the grading and drainage section yet again, I will contact her.

    #153852
    Denise Woolery
    Participant

    I have taken Jerry Hastings expensive prep course twice in the past, and failed the section anyway. Now that the section is computerized, I think his course is obsolete.  

    #153851
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    I recon the computer has changed the properties of soils and stopped water from flowing down hill, eh?

    #153850
    Craig Anthony
    Participant

    Although I’ve never been a big fan of CLARB, I don’t think it would be a benefit to anyone for them to make the exam any easier. As a person that started the process in the UNE and finished with the LARE, I found the LARE easier, because there was less drawing involved.

    I just have a hard time believing that the LARE is soooo much harder now because it’s computerized. Now there’s no more worry about pencil leads breaking, paper smudges, eraser crumbs, drawing neatly, etc. I don’t think it’s harder, it’s just different and candidates need to adapt just like they would have to adapt to changes in the office place.

    Seriously, the hardest grading problem on the LARE is much easier than the simplest grading problem in a real office. The grading and drainage theory remains the same and just like the UNE and the old LARE a candidate needs to understand the mechanics of the exam. If you want to pass the exam don’t get caught up in the sideshow. Play the game, study hard and focus on the exam. After you pass it and you want to be a crusader for LARE reform, more power to you. But, until you pass it, it’s all just sour grapes to the hundreds of people who passed it.

    I don’t feel for current LARE candidates. The exam isn’t easy, just like it’s never been easy.  If the exam were easy every blow and go landscaper would be an RLA. Do we really want that for our profession?

    #153849
    Michael Murray
    Participant

    I passed Section 3 and 4 last April, and as the test is now formatted there isn’t much in the way of grading “design.” Instead of 4 vignettes which you had to grade from scratch, you now have many vignettes which need to be analyzed. Some are plans for which you will need to calculate spot elevations (you are given a starting elevation, distances and slopes). Others will have grading profiles which need to be dragged and dropped into the correct location on the plan according to the instructions given. The question will say something like, “Place the proper profiles to create a 1-unit high berm between the house and the roadway,” and along side the plan there will be a series of profiles. You’ll have to look at the plan, determine which profile is the correct one and drag and drop it in the correct location on the plan. (You will also have to figure out how many contours will need to be adjusted and use the correct number of profiles.) You cannot rotate the profiles, so you have to chose the right one.

    Some will have elements to be placed according to the grading shown on the plan. There may be a plan showing a proposed building location and the question might say, “Place the sediment basin in the correct location to catch all runoff from the building site,” or something similar. You’ll have to analyze the plan, look at the size of the basin, and figure out where to place it.

    If you know how to design grading, you will pass. You should be able to look at a plan and determine what the spot elevations are. You’ll have to be fluent with the grading formulae, and you have to be able to quickly understand a plan with contours.

    I think the best practice material is the CLARB sample exam. It’s too expensive, but it gives you the absolute best info. When I took the exam it was remarkably similar to the practice exam. Same type of questions, same verbiage, same format, etc. The book “Site Engineering for Landscape Architects” is also good, and don’t forget to skim through “Timesaver Standards for Landscape Architects.”

    One last bit of exam strategy: each question on the exam is worth one point. On the exam I took, there was one question that required calculating 8 or 10 spot elevations. When I saw that, I flagged the question for review and went on to the next question. That question took me a couple minutes to finish, but it was worth the same as the next question, which I finished in about 20 seconds (including reading it). If you are not so fast at test-taking, remember to go for the low-hanging fruit. Don’t waste time on the questions with several calculations to perform. The test software works well, and after you’ve gone through the entire exam you can go back to any previous question. (They also give you a whiteboard, so you can write down the numbers of the more time-consuming questions, but by flagging them it serves the same purpose.)

    Best of luck!

    #153848
    Ray Freeman
    Participant

    There are seats available in my Section 4 workshops in northern California on June 20-22 and in Raleigh, NC on July 11-13, 2014. There should be links to these events here in Land 8 and definitely on the ASLA website, or you can e-mail me directly for a descriptive brochure at Rayfreeman3@comcast.net

    #153847
    nca
    Participant

    Glad to say I passed a couple months ago, first try. Also thought sections 3 and 4 were easy, but could see how someone could be frustrated by the material. Section 4 had very few practical grading vignettes. It was mostly multiple choice and required alot of cognition, careful reading, critical thinking, focus, and common sense 

    in answering multiple choice questions. 

    #153846
    nca
    Participant

    Generally agree. Section 4 requires studying basically everything in the two la bibles and then some. 

    My take is that the lare is a reflection of the direction the practice is going–less design and craft, more management and delegation.

    #153845
    Ray Freeman
    Participant

    There are a number of LARE review sessions offered around the country and several individuals on this web site (Including myself) have advertised their courses or expressed opinions herein.

    These classes are mainly in the classroom, other than Cheryl Corson’s webinar series. Let’s take a brief objective look at some of the offerings…..

    Corson: Webinars. Exam overview and sections 3 and 4. A total of 6.5 hours plus five one hour Q&A sessions. Cost is $245 for 11.5 hours. This works out to $21/hr. Half is pre-recorded. It is not clear whether any printed material is included.

    UCLA Extension: On site classes. Sections 1 and 2 covered in 8 hours. $302. Section 3 covered in 8 hours. $302. These work out to $38/hr. Section 4 is 14 hours. $530. This works out to $37/hr. They claim great pass rates, but offer no evidence as to what their students actual pass rate is. No details are offered on the amount of printed material included in any of the 3 classes.

    Matt Mathes:  On site classes. Section 3: 4 hours. $125 Section 4: 4 hours. $125. Hourly rate is $31/hr. Books offered…Hastings PPI Section E vignettes. Good book of grading vignettes, but oriented to the pre-2012 exam format, with no coverage of Construction Documentation.  One Rowland PPI Section C vignette book: Possibly one of the most atrociously researched and prepared documents ever offered for LARE study by anyone. The vignette solutions rated as “Passing” contain multiple critical fail mistakes. In addition, the book is oriented toward the pre-2012 exam. In fact BOTH of these vignette books are approximately 9 years out of date. Mathes claims his methods are “proven”, but offers no further explanation or evidence.

    ASLA: On site classes at the ASLA convention. Sections 1, 2 and 3 covered in 4 hours. Section 4 covered in 4 hours. Information on written material is sketchy, but you can review the written material from previous sessions on the ASLA LARE prep page under “Handouts”. It’s from late 2012. There are 32 pages total.  Each 4 hour session is $125. Average cost, $21/hr.

    Freeman & Jewell: On site classes. Sections 1 and 2. 16 hours. 285 page book, updated twice per year. $350. Average cost $22/hr.   Section 3. 24 hours. 294 page book, updated twice per year. $450. Average cost $19/hr.   Section 4. 25 hours. 440 page book, updated 3x per year. $450. Average cost $18/hr.

    My advice is this: Do your due diligence prior to selecting one course over another, or even deciding to take a review. There are certainly other LARE courses available, often through state chapters…NY State, Univ. of Georgia, and UT Texas-Arlington come to mind. In addition, Morrison Media and Worthington Publishing sell LARE prep books. Quality of material and quality of instruction DOES vary. If you think you need a prep class, by all means ask pointed questions of the course providers. Ask probing questions of the publishers of study material. Questions such as: Exactly what do I get for my money? How often is the material updated? Is it truly relevant to the new exam format? What is your students pass rate?

    There is also an abundance of printed material available through the Google Groups LARE group. However, understand that the volume of documents in this file is overwhelming and some of it is well over 15 years old. No one has taken the time or effort to vet the material. It can take a lot of time and effort to sift out the wheat from the chaff…and there is plenty of the latter.

    Finally, on the new (2012) exam, sections 1, 2 and 3 each have a passing rate close to 70%, whereas 4 is around 55%. CLARB charges $515 each for Sections 3 and 4 (raw cost, NIC application fees and CLARB Council Records). That is a huge amount of money ($129/hr.). Failure is expensive. The grading and drainage questions are, IMO, NOT difficult…especially compared to the old pre-2012 vignettes. The killer on section 4 is the breadth of material covered that is not strictly grading and drainage graphic problems. You have resource conservation and management, construction docs, specifications, detailing, and understanding how to use and assemble a wide range of materials. Then there is sedimentation and erosion control, stormwater management, foundation systems, surveying, construction equipment, and maintenance, among others.

    Best of luck in your preparation endeavors!

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