December 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm #166644Jordan LockmanParticipant
I drew right on the vellum with a lightweight pencil that was easy to erase or draw over with a darker pencil. It ended up not looking like something that I would present to a client, but it was just fine for the graders to look at.
I had a stack of precut trace that I tried sketching basic concepts on for the more difficult problems, but mainly stuck to drawing directly on the exam. Then for actual layout I did tick marks and like I said the light weight pencil.
I have talked to other people that have passed and they agree. If time is not an issue for you then tracing is okay, but if you are trying to cut time this is a great way to do it.December 5, 2010 at 11:12 pm #166643
To answer your questions… the section C exam i took in June played out like this: one vignette with the detailed building/parking/driveway vehicular circulation layout; one vignette with “provide 2 entirely different conceptual layouts” of parking/driveway/buildings; one vignette with placing a building/parking and then writing a paragraph about the expected environmental impacts; and one vignette with reading a soils profile to determine the best location for building/parking/driveways.
Someone asked about what other mistakes i made, in the interest of helping others not do the same. One example: on the ‘interpret soils profile’ vignette, i placed the building in the right place, the caretakers house in the right place, the parking in the right place….but i showed the driveway on the very edge soil type 1 and 2, and that caused me to fail. If there’s ANY POSSIBLE WAY that ANY part of your design can be interpreted as not following the rules, they will read it that way and it will cause you to fail. Clearly, since i had located all of the other elements in the correct location/correct soil profile, i understood the interpretation of the soils analysis. But since a small part of the driveway was overlapping the wrong soil type, they ruled on the side of error instead of the side of logic.
So i’m a glutton for punishment and decided to move on and take section C next week while i wait for my ‘score verification process’ for section E to be completed. Honestly, at this point, after seeing the way my other exam was graded I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about the grading/drainage exam. I’m afraid that if my spot elevations are even .01 off of the ‘right’ answer i’ll get redlined to hell and go down in flames. It’s just too easy for them to find a reason to fail you when the entire grading process is entirely ambiguous and subjective.
And yes i’m a section officer for TX ASLA. Needless to say, LARE reform is something i will be actively advocating for within ASLA….December 6, 2010 at 4:32 am #166642Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
I don’t understand this. You know you put part of it where it was not supposed to go. Some of the other examples that have been given by the people who think that they got graded too harshly seem to know what they did wrong, but don’t think they should fail for some reason.
It either does or it doesn’t. conform to the requirements. All you have to worry about is if it does or doesn’t. There is no interpretation involved. Once you start thinking about how something can be interpreted on these tests, you are on a slippery slope.
I think most of us get too caught up in thinking we need to earn style points and that is what kills us. Style usually takes up more space and they don’t give you extra room. Design like an engineer. Don’t make it look good, just make it fit.December 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm #166641
Hey Michelle – I’ve changed my process a bit and it has really saved me time – I got a bunch of vellum so I would be familiar with the texture and erasability of the real exam and have been drawing my design right on the vellum in blue line. My understanding from the orientation guide is that blue lines don’t have to be erased…can anyone confirm that???
I’ve been just blocking out rectangles for the buildings including the driveways. Then using mylar underlays for the exact building and driveway layout to draw in pen over the whole thing. I know lots of people say to use pencil, but I’m finding that pencil (or at least the ‘Design Ebony’ pencils that I use) hardly erases on vellum anyway and they turn out all smudged, which I don’t like. I also have been designing (seperate from the vignettes) every different kind of parking lot I can think of.
Just thought maybe those ideas would help you too!
Good Luck next week!
TanyaDecember 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm #166640Jordan LockmanParticipant
I like mechanical pencils the really cheap plastic ones, walmart and office max had plenty to choose from. I have a whole bunch of 4 different sizes(.3,.5,.7,.9). Then during the test when one runs out of graphite/gets jammed/etc. I toss it and grab another. This was a real time saver that didn’t involve any sharpening or messing around. I have talked to others that have used the blue pencil and that worked for them.December 7, 2010 at 7:46 pm #166639Wyatt Thompson, PLAParticipant
You need to be certain that it’s a non-reproducible blue pencil. The rules are very explicit about the use of color on the vignettes, and I have heard that they do check to verify if the color is non-printing.December 7, 2010 at 8:24 pm #166638
Mine says non-photo blue. I looked all over online and it looks like non-repro and non-photo are used interchangeably…??? Its been an age since I’ve even heard of anyone using blueprints much less used them myself, but do I remember correctly that any blue pencil will not print?December 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm #166637Wyatt Thompson, PLAParticipant
I believe the terms are interchangeable. I have a purple one, but can’t seem to find it right now so I don’t know what it says. I’m not so sure about “any blue pencil” not printing though. I remember there being something different about the lead in non-repro pencils…at least I recall a discussion on this topic from a studio professor once.December 8, 2010 at 12:59 am #166636
My method was a little different. All I brought was a few mechanical pencils, a few black pens of different widths, and a roll of trash paper. (And scales and rulers and erasers etc.) I put the trash on top of the vellum, used my pencil to sketch stuff out, erase as needed, move items as needed, etc. until i got the design worked out. Then i just put the trash paper under the vellum and used pens to trace over everything in the right pen line weights. No need to worry about non-photo blue pens, or what erases off of vellum and what doesn’t.December 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm #166635MLCCParticipant
Thanks for the info Elizabeth!
Wow, what’s this vignette about soils profiles? I have never seen a practice vignette on that ever. And I have a lot of them. WTF clarb..?? Thanks for keeping your exam candidates updated on all potential material on the exams….. grrrrrrrr.
Well ‘pessimistic’ is a very common emotion among people regarding this test, as you are well aware (except for Andrew G….. I think he must work for CLARB or something….???lol)
I too feel that even if I do pass C next week, that I’m not sure I can get over the Grading and Drainage hurdle, section E. We all know too many intelligent and competent people who have failed it over and over again. And I’m only partially intelligent and competent when it comes to grading and drainage 😉
Maybe I will have 4 of the 5 tests under my belt,and the next time I need to apply for a job, I will just tell them that I’m 4/5th a landscape architect. hahhaa .. close enough.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to tell me what your vignettes were. Good luck to both of us next week!!
Remember 1) It’s only a test 2) We DO have the ability to pass 3) Breathe slowly, and have a clear, calm mind when going in to take it.
🙂December 13, 2010 at 11:21 pm #166634
Sooo… what did you think? Some of the vignettes seemed so easy I was wondering if there was some instruction I missed…the double vignette was ok, but I might have messed it up by including too much information….we’ll see…Hope it went well for you!December 14, 2010 at 7:29 pm #166633MLCCParticipant
I agree.. there were a couple vignettes that seemed really straightforward! I thought surely I was missing something. I was feeling really good, and actually doing well time-wise (which I could not believe)…. then I got to the double vignette…. Oh man.Ugh. When I first glanced at the test, I had not realized that that one was a double. So when I got to it,. I realized it, and so then I was rushing big-time.
And 90 parking spaces?? You’ve got to be kidding me, at least for the double vignette give us like a 20 or 30 space parking lot. All the practice double-vignettes that I have done were conceptual plans, or a site plan with 20 parking spaces at the MOST. But 90..??? Sooo, at that point I got really flustered because of time.
Good thing we only have to wait 3 months to find out our scores. Take your time, CLARB.
😉December 14, 2010 at 10:12 pm #166632
same thing here. I wish I would have saved that one for last – I would’ve had 3 hours to do it which would be plenty of time…It gives me a lot of confidence for section E, though!February 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm #166631Judy VenonskyParticipant
I have taken Section C 4 times. Admittedly, I realized that I was not prepared at first for the parking configurations. I don’t do this often at my firm, but have practiced and have that down. Having recently failed again, I am stumped as to what I am missing in the part that deals with explaining how the design impacts environmental quality and compatibility with the surrounding areas. Each time I have received a 3. I even went to the redline review and it was not clear that I missed so much as to be graded with a 3. I always discuss creating water quality ponds, stay clear of wetlands and streams, light pollution, traffic pattern changes and compatibility, saving trees where possible, and impact on surrounding neighborhoods. Can you see from my description any glaring omissions? I am very frustrated.February 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm #166630
Judy, is failing the written portion the only item keeping you from passing? i had a similar experience last fall. When i took the redline review and saw that i’d gotten a ‘3’ on the ‘predicting environmental impacts’ portion i was floored. I went through the grading criteria listed, and saw that my written portion listed every one of those items, and yet it was redlined/failed as not meeting the criteria. I had to pay more money for the score verification process, but at least i was given a fair accurate assesment the second time around- they gave me credit for the written portion and it was enough to put me over the passing threshold.
I would encourage you to look into the score verification process as well, if in your redline review you’ve had the same doubts that i did. If there weren’t any other serious errors on your vignettes it might be enough to pass.
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