Passed PDD on first try - brain dump



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    charles vanwormer

    Thank you for this. Have to retake, and am going to spend a lot more time in details and other things you mentioned. I read ballast and code mostly last time. Knew it well and couldn't past. Feeling optimistic about the retake though. Last exam!

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Elise -- that is awesome.  CONGRATULATIONS!  ....Ya did it.

    I really appreciate your synopsis for both PPD and PDD  -- thank you!



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    Ryan NCARB

    Congratulations Elise!  And a great post on your study experience.

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    Carmen Martinez

    Congrats Elise! I took PDD last month and have to retake. I did find that most of the exam really wasn't at all what I expected and you're right, it was more on details. I thought I was prepared but it covered things I didn't expect. I had issues with the case studies not loading the reference tabs and even some that went blank. I raised my raise but no one saw me to come help. Any advice on chapters to read. I went through the NCARB recommendations but I still can't narrow down what is a must read.

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    Ana Barragan

    Congratulations Elise!

    Your post is very helpful, as it's been difficult to find the right study material to such a new and different test. I failed the PDD and will be retaking it soon. I have not taken the PPD. I was one of those that made the switch from 4.0 and only have these two to take, I have to say, I sometimes wish I would of stayed on 4.0; while I think this is a much better test, I do think the study material isn't there yet.

    Enjoy your freedom from AREs!!

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    Kurt Fanderclai (Edited )

    Hi Ana,

    Sorry to hear of your PDD result.  What study materials did you use?  I do understand the difficulties in transitioning from 4.0 to 5.0.  It has worked out well for some, and not so well for others -- I think largely do to the different mindset required to make the switch.  What worked in 4.0 hasn't helped much in 5.0.

    I do think you'd find some differing opinions regarding your thoughts on the lack of adequate study materials.  The 5.0 Handbook lists all of the necessary study materials for each exam in a matrix: 

    Like most candidates, I've taken / passed exams using only these materials -- 4 for 4 in my case, many have already gone 6 for 6 in the same approach..

    Also read all of the PPD and PDD forum posts -- they are a source of a lot of great information -- a lot of it has been posted by candidates who have already passed, and they typically post how they did it.  No one actually reads every book listed, but there are some that are critical, and you will need to read those for a base of understanding.

    So the study material is there, but no real shortcut exists in the third-party format you've  been accustomed to in 4.0. -- the "Cliff Notes" approach won't work as well in 5.0.  The great upside is that instead of so much random memorization and useless vignette puzzles, 5.0 seems to be more of a learning / growing process -- for me it's been like a second education -- sometimes it feels like a refresher course, sometimes I feel like I'm finally learning some things I'm weak on.

    Good luck on your exams.






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    Ana Barragan


    Thank you for the encouragement! Study material used on my first PDD = little to none! LOL.

    I should explain...I took advantage of one of the incentive tests for the first folks taking the 5.0. Because of the time limits to take advantage of the incentives, I only had a couple of weeks (couple of hours a day) to study. I knew it was a long shot and figured it would be a good trial run of the new version, if nothing else. That's exactly what it turned out to be, and now that I have a feel for the test, I am trying to find the right study material for it. When I say it's not there yet, I suppose I mean it is not as concise as for  the 4.0 versions, which is understandable, given the time it has been out, and the comprehensive nature of the test. 

    For my first attempt at this tests I did study the old study materials, what little I could, on the different section this tests compiles from version 4.0, which are many and felt overwhelming. Recently, I was studying the 5.0 Exam Prep Guides, which I found insufficient. Now, after reading many of these posts, I will start branching out into the different resources that are suggested here.

    I have to admit that for the 4.0 tests I figured out a Cliff Note way - as you put it - of getting through them. This test is more challenging but it is truly reflective of our practice and will make better architects out of us, so I should embrace it in that sense. 

    Thank you much for your reply, the moral support is invaluable! :) 

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Ana, no problem at all.  My best advice is to stay plugged into the forum -- lots of smart folks going through exactly the same thing you are.

    Next I'm taking PPD and PDD as well.  October for PPD.

    Good luck!

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    Matthew Taylor-Rennert

    Congrats and thanks for the advice! I just started reading ballast and was thinking the structures was way more detailed and intense than I needed to know, so good to hear it from you too. 

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