Did this for PPD so thought I would do the same for PDD. I tested on Thursday and finished with about 15 minutes left to go back and check the 30 or so questions I flagged. I got through about 10 of them before time was up. I passed luckily - felt it could have gone either way.
So, here are my impressions and what I studied.
- Ballast / PPI study guide, practice problems, practice exam.
- Ching : Building Construction Illustrated (I found a free PDF of 4th addition)
Didn't study from the Reference Matrix but probably would have helped (just don't have money to drop on all these books)
- Fundamentals of Building Construction
- One of the Mechanical and Electrical books (there are two not sure which one is better)
- You need to know codes and specifications. If you don't already have a good understanding of them from practice then maybe Building Codes Illustrated would be good?
- This test is a monster. It ranges widely. It's basically Building Systems, Materials and Methods, Structures, and Pro. Prac. all rolled into one.
- I thought that of the 5 tests I've taken thus far (next is CE) this one had the most subjective and irrelevant (to actual practice) questions of any of them (15 years of practice).
- I had 4-5 calculation type questions that no architect would ever perform because 1) they don't have the expertise and 2) they would want to defer liability to their engineers. But, we all know they are there so be ready.
- To that point, I decided I would not "be ready" and would simply skip the more complex ones and not bother trying to memorize or understand any formula that, for instance, had a friggin cosine in it! I skipped at least 3 entirely and didn't spend time on them. A lot of people have suggested that because spending 15 minutes on one question that you don't even really know how to do might mean you don't get to 4 questions you know.
- Time is an issue on this one so if you are spending more than 2-3 minutes on a question, take your best guess, flag it, and move on.
- I kept a running list of the flagged questions on my scratch paper of the flagged questions I REALLY needed to go back and check. Ended up being about 15 of them.
- I had a lot of lighting, acoustics, and mechanical questions. Not many structural. I doubt that is indicative of all tests, just the mix I got.
- Many many many of the questions were fairly complex, heady, conceptual questions that required layers of thought (if this, then that. And if that then it must be this). Which is why time was an issue.
Final impression - this one is pretty much impossible to truly be entirely prepared for because it is so much about applying an understanding of concepts rather then just knowing material. I don't think there was one question where I thought "oh yeah, I know this one". I guess in the end I had enough understanding to pass.
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