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Comp Exam Order/difficulty/tips/comments

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The General

Freshman Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Louisiana
I'm taking the comp in November and am trying to decide in which order to take the sections. I've spoken with several different people recently about the exam, and each has said a different section was their hardest/easiest.

My current schedule is:

November 1 - General Concepts
November 7 - Cost/HBU
November 15 - Sales
November 27 - Income

I haven't had a lot of time to study for the exams, but I took most of the classes recently. I am using Ted Whitmer's materials and wasn't planning on attending the online class next weekend. I plan to cut back on my work load over the next two weeks and will take most of November off to study. I'm also skimming through the AI books and plan to study the Advanced books in depth.

Any tips, comments, etc. about tackling this test would be greatly appreciated.
 

Michael S

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Mexico
I just took the comp exam in August and passed all four modules.

I had to take all four tests within the last two weeks of the month so I didn't have as much time to study in between as I would have liked. I had study material from Ted Whitmer and Gary DeWeese and found both to be ok but some of the questions seemed like things that weren't covered. After going through enough practice problems though you'll realize there's only so many ways you can ask a question to test the knowledge of various concepts. Some of the practice problems were harder than the test questions and luckily weren't covered, or there was only a single question.

Make sure you master the HP-12C. I was pretty rusty on it for stuff like discounted cash flow analysis with irregular cash flows which you end up doing a lot of. I took mine in order with income 3rd and sales 4th. Those two were probably the hardest but there wasn't a huge difference in difficulty between them in my opinion. I felt pretty confident after finishing the general concepts and cost/HBU but there were still multiple questions in each that I was just giving it my best guess.

It probably wouldn't hurt to go through all the books for the advanced classes but I relied almost entirely on going through the study material for Whitmer and DeWeese. The former had a lot of conceptual information which was good as a lot of the questions require conceptual knowledge and don't just require plugging through the calculations. The latter was almost entirely practice questions. Using both probably helped just because they took different approaches and had different kinds of practice problems and different ways of explaining the answers.
 

NachoPerito

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Washington
I just took the comp exam in August and passed all four modules.

I had to take all four tests within the last two weeks of the month so I didn't have as much time to study in between as I would have liked. I had study material from Ted Whitmer and Gary DeWeese and found both to be ok but some of the questions seemed like things that weren't covered. After going through enough practice problems though you'll realize there's only so many ways you can ask a question to test the knowledge of various concepts. Some of the practice problems were harder than the test questions and luckily weren't covered, or there was only a single question.

Make sure you master the HP-12C. I was pretty rusty on it for stuff like discounted cash flow analysis with irregular cash flows which you end up doing a lot of. I took mine in order with income 3rd and sales 4th. Those two were probably the hardest but there wasn't a huge difference in difficulty between them in my opinion. I felt pretty confident after finishing the general concepts and cost/HBU but there were still multiple questions in each that I was just giving it my best guess.

It probably wouldn't hurt to go through all the books for the advanced classes but I relied almost entirely on going through the study material for Whitmer and DeWeese. The former had a lot of conceptual information which was good as a lot of the questions require conceptual knowledge and don't just require plugging through the calculations. The latter was almost entirely practice questions. Using both probably helped just because they took different approaches and had different kinds of practice problems and different ways of explaining the answers.

Nice work Michael!
 

The General

Freshman Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Louisiana
Thanks for the info, Michael. Congrats on passing all of the modules. I was hesitant to purchase the DeWeese material due to the cost, but I'm at the point where I just want to get through this as painlessly as possible. And I think it would be helpful to see questions posed and explained differently.
 

reviewbe

Sophomore Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
My advice; don't forget common sense and accepted valuation theory in the income exam. It's more than just a math test.
 

hastalavista

Elite Member
Joined
May 16, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Thanks for the info, Michael. Congrats on passing all of the modules. I was hesitant to purchase the DeWeese material due to the cost, but I'm at the point where I just want to get through this as painlessly as possible. And I think it would be helpful to see questions posed and explained differently.
I know Gary personally and took most of my General Courses/MAI courses from him (so there may be a personal bias on my side).
I used Gary's information for the Comp Exam and passed the first time. When I took it, it seemed to me that the practice questions in Gary's review were extremely similar to the ones I saw on the exam.

Talking to some "old timers" :)rof:) the new system where one can spread out the test dates among the modules is definitely an advantage.

Good luck!
 

Koya

Sophomore Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2008
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Other than taking the General Concepts first, to get some confidence from hopefully picking the lowest hanging fruit, I don't know that there's a best order for one person versus another.

Appraisers usually feel most comfortable with Sales, so that's probably a good second. Cost is probably least used/tested for many appraisers, while those less comfortable with the math might feel Income to be more threatening. If you're facile with the HP-12C and can zip through the math, you might take the Income first; if not, then last.

As it turned out, I think I took the 4 modules in the order of your post and took them on 2 days a week apart, those were just the slots that were left open in my test area by the time I signed up. I recall Income and Cost were the modules I used the full time (allowing for a single pass recheck) and where I had to build some detailed worksheets on paper to be able to answer the multi-part case questions. They are good in making sure any multi-part case questions are not interdependent, so you only lose 1 point for doing something wrong, but you had to be methodical and build the worksheet to get any points. Those ate up a lot of time, so don't get sucked up in them and then not have time for easier ones. Give it a couple of minutes to understand what you have to do, then skip on and save a chunk of time for it at the end.
 
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