PDD post test mind dump



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    Kurt Fanderclai (Edited )


    Are you saying you have only CE left?  If that's the case, you are as good as done...

    I REALLY appreciate your mind dump notes. Thank you.

    As for your relatively short study list -- that sounds encouraging for those with experience.  I particularly enjoyed your cosine?-then-skip-it algorithm...  that sounds like something I have the ability to apply.

    I've read that at least one other forum candidate passed this test studying ONLY the Ching BCI -- that's it.  What are your thoughts on that technique?     

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    Allie Povall

    Yeah just CE left.  Will have taken all 6 in 5 months.  Blew through them.  Sort of a throw it all at a wall and see what sticks method, figuring I could pass at least half and then retake.  So far have passed them all thankfully.

    The problem with only studying the source materials is that most of them simply give the information, not necessarily how to think about the material and how to apply / integrate it.  I think that's where the third party study material can help; particularly the practice problems and practice tests.  The third party material is generally lacking in information compared to studying source material, but they do help you in learning how to apply it if that makes sense.  Basically they help you learn how to answer the tricky and convoluted B.S. questions that were formed in the depths of NCARB hell... Too strong?  Sorry NCARB, I didn't mean it.

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Did you use Ballast 5.0?  or an older 4.0 version?

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    Ryan NCARB

    Aww Allie, a little strong...

    Items are actually written in boring hotel conference rooms across the country -- and those are way too cold to be considered hell!  If you are interested, here are two older blog articles on who develops the exam and how items are written.  They are from an old ARE 4.0 blog series, but it is the same general process for ARE 5.0.



    Glad your exam went well though!

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    Rachel Gubser

    Hi Allie, thank you very much for this write up and congratulations on passing PPD&PDD. I think CE will be fairly painless for you at this point. I found it to relatively straightforward and easier time wise than PA (my archenemy). I'm currently gearing up for PPD/ PDD (passed the 3 business/contracts exams) and need to decide where to spend on study materials. After your comments I'm thinking of trying my luck with the Amber Bundle rather than the matrix books (though I have the structures book). I too have 15 years experience but after my brawl with PA, I think that might be the way to go for me. I appreciate your funny and candid comments- very helpful!

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    Allie Povall

    Kurt - I used 5.0 Ballast.  I got the entire package including the practice problems and practice exams.  There is a lot of original material in the problems and exams that is not covered in the study material - they are essential I believe.  at least 1/4 of my flash cards are made from them.

    Ryan - sorry for being so strong but I will not have you ruin my image of a bunch of crusty old men in a dark basement smoking cigars and  laughing maniacally amongst themselves as they try and shape the questions in the most confusing manner possible.

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    Kurt Fanderclai (Edited )

    Allie -- thanks!  I'm sort of blowing through the exams as well -- 3 taken and passed in two months -- but I know I am always susceptible to hitting the wall on the remaining three.  I'm no genius!  I really appreciate your taking the time to post your thoughts and study suggestions.

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    Jason Idjadi

    No no Ryan, It would be too strong of a critique if only one person was saying this.  When so many people have the same opinions about the exam though; it sounds like an opportunity for NCARB to pay attention, and use the info to improve the test. With that in mind, here is a list of some of my issues with the 5.0 exams in general, and also specifically with PDD.

    • LAG.  So much lag.  More lag than a lag bolt.  This has been a complaint by every single person taking the test from day 1. Makes me think that NCARB doesn't care to put in the effort to correct this and would just suggest we all wait till ARE 6.0 is released for the lag issue to be resolved.
    • Time is a related issue that is mentioned in almost all critiques I've read. The lag is obviously a player in the lack of time to review flagged questions, but I would also say that the format of the test wasn't thought out that well (my opinion).  Specifically, I'll use examples from PDD to explain.  There were at least 2 non-case study questions that involved reading drawings on the screen.  Considering the small text on the drawings and the lack of the ability to zoom in, finding the correct answer to a question that should be straightforward if you knew the info, became time-consuming and difficult.  Going through the review pages for the case studies was a task in itself.  If we are expected to go back and forth through drawings and code section over and over, it is outrageous to expect a test taker to sit there and for a page to load only to see that the info that is required isn't on that page.
    • The case studies in PDD should've been a breeze from someone with as many years of experience as I had.  If only the case study drawings looked like a professional drew them.  My exam did not have the proper tags to answer two questions that I specifically remember.  There also weren't section cut lines on the plan... WHAT?  "So now that the test taker is already pressed for time, let's give them sub-par drawings to work from and expect them to figure it out."  Was that what was discussed in those boring hotel conference rooms?  

    I do enjoy the idea behind 5.0. It really is better than 4.0 (which isn't saying much).  The concept is great, but the execution is poor, and in some cases ironic.  I found and error with (not in) a question about finding errors.

    For those of you reading this that aren't Ryan NCARB, I wish you the best of luck. Be prepared for frustration.  I suggest skipping any questions that you don't understand and save it for later.  Maybe with some luck, you will have time to review it, but at least you will be able to move on to other questions that are answerable.

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    Kyle Cianchetta

    Allie, did you see CDS level questions on this exam?

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    Matthew Adler

    The lag on the testing software is absolutely terrible and needs to be addressed. Kills 5-10 minutes off of test time. 

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    Steven Silverstein

    I've now tested at 2 different Prometric crnters and found that the lag time varies at different testing centers. Don't get me wrong, both center's computers lag. However, the center that I tested at in Westbury, NY (~7-8 seconds to load a question) this weekend was significantly worse than the center in Purchase, NY (~3-4 seconds to load a question). Clearly the problem goes deeper than the exam itself and has to do with what are likely dated and underpowered machines at certain facilities.

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