I (thank goodness) passed PPD on my first try! I know there are tons of posts on here by people talking about the same thing but I thought I would add to it since I had a bit of a different approach.
My study resources:
Ballast PPD section - I read this section cover to cover and synthesized the points into my own word document bullet-point notes (similar to Jenny's or Caroline's notes if you took 4.0). I didn't pay too much attention to all the specifics, Ballast is notorious for being very thorough in their explanations and cross references but I didn't waste time trying to memorize the chemical make-up of TPO roofing, for example. As I went, I highlighted definitions and made flashcards from those.
**note on Ballast: I did get frustrated at all the typos and I disagreed with the solutions to many of the practice exam items, but overall it was my main study resource and I passed. So, can't argue with that. The case study in the Ballast practice exam is a bit deceiving. The real exam case studies are SO difficult.
Black Spectacles videos - this was VERY helpful. I definitely learn better when someone explains things to me and I felt like Professor Mike does such a great job and it feels like a true classroom. These helped drive home the (sometimes overly complex) chapters of Ballast. I watched these at home, during meals, while walking on the treadmill, listened to the audio in my car and they were awesome. Highly, highly recommend.
Building Construction Illustrated, Ching - I wish I had time to have read more of this as I love the way Ching writes but I only really read the MEP section and didn't have time for any others. I did use this as a cross reference, though, when Ballast went a bit over my head. That was helpful. There is a free download of the 2015 version if you Google it.
Building Codes Illustrated, Ching - Again, not much time to read this in depth but it did help after I took the Ballast practice exam and realized I needed to get better at fire safety. Probably will need to read this one more for PDD. You can rent this book from Amazon Rentals for $15 and it's not due back until December. Awesome deal.
Overall, I much prefer the new 5.0 format to the old 4.0. I felt like it was an accurate representation of practice - I worked in a large firm for 4 years. The case studies were brutal but I apparently did OK! My advice there is to really study and understand the IBC tables on height and area limitations, construction types, and occupancy so that you aren't wasting valuable time trying to read the tables to answer the multi-level, multifaceted case study questions that require many layers of understanding of those tables. I had 1.5 hours left on the clock when I started the case studies (22 questions) and I almost ran out of time.
Anyway, good luck to everyone and I'm happy to answer any questions you all might have. This forum helped me in my study prep so I'm happy to give back! PDD in 2 weeks, let's do this!!!!
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