Advice - PDD Architect Exam Prep Whole Enchilada Material? Or Brightwood?

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Hi Brendan,

    Given your pretty long list of 3rd party study materials, and the fact that you've studied them for two months, I'm wondering if you should skip ordering yet more of them, skip the additional 6 weeks, and schedule the test ASAP...

    I guess I would have my doubts about the value of grinding through 3rd party manual after 3rd party manual.

    I'll bet you are as ready as yer gonna get.  I think you should confidently take a crack at it next week.

    But that is entirely up to you.  Good luck!

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    Stephanie Waples

    Brendan,

    I've heard around the forums that, like Ballast, Brightwood has simply reorganized the same material from the Kaplan 4.0 guides and released it as 5.0 material. Therefore, since you're already got various study guides from Kaplan 4.0 on your list, you're probably only going to duplicate material. 

    Personally, I haven't used either the Brightwood 5.0 or AEP stuff, so I can't speak any more to the quality of the products beyond the rumors I've heard. 

    Stephanie

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    Hannah Vossler

    Brendan,

    If you feel you still need to study more, I would go to the list of resources that NCARB takes their questions from, rather that studying from more third party materials.  Personally, I recommend Building Construction Illustrated by Ching.

    Hannah

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    Rebecca Weeks Erdman Edmunds

    Hi Brendan,

    My 2 cents, after buying and studying in detail Kaplan/Brightwood's 5.0 PA Study Guide and intensely using their online mock-exam questions, is to steer clear. For PA, I also used relevant NALSA 4.0 flashcards, but those were not particularly meaningful either. I've been using BlackSpectacles at 2X speed. Not sure how much they've helped - content is very broad, but I like the idea of 'attending' a regular lecture on the topic as a supplement.  

    I failed P&A -- knew this as I was taking the exam -- because I relied too much on 3rd party material when in fact they just don't have much intel on 5.0 yet. (Thaddeus has noted that even he can't be certain his materials are valid for it -- too many unknowns.) I also attended some local ARE seminars, but all were 4.0 based and not very useful. Better to compile your own material from NCARB recommendations.

    I have seen other posts on Architecture Exam Prep as having been successful for people, but that wasn't on your list. 

    I concur with Kurt -- 2 months of studying is tremendous, use it while it's still fresh! (At most, I've only allowed myself a month for each exam, save PPD and PDD, which are next on my list.) In the end, do what makes you the most comfortable, especially for these 2 exams.

    Cheers & best of luck!

     

     

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    Brendan Bailey

    Hi Everyone,

         Special thanks to all of you for your advice!  After waking up this morning and reading everyone's comments, I've decided to abstain from purchasing any additional material, bite the bullet, and schedule my exam.  I guess I've just been nervous as I had studied for two months for PPD and failed back in February.  Like a lot of people I've seen on the boards, I too had passed PPP, CDS, and SPD all on my first attempt.  I had given each exam approx. 2 months worth of dedicated study time, and this method had proven to be a successful formula.  (I had even managed to take my GRE smack-dab in the middle of all of that.)  At this point, I'll plan on sourcing any additional materials from NCARB's suggested reading list (including my personal copy of Ching BLDG. Cons. Illustrated) and to hit the practice exams and explanations as hard as I can.  I may as well throw myself at it head first!  I'll let you know how it goes, and I'll be certain to reach out with more questions as they arise. 

    -B, Colorado  

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    Kurt Fanderclai (Edited )

    Good luck with it, Brendan!

    You are taking the two big dog exams, and I think that for most, those require more study time than the "business) exams in 5.0.  But as many have indicated -- your 2 months seem ample.

    One thing I've been happy to hear about -- and have experienced myself with a couple of exams under my belt:  thus far, the 5.0 exam process / experience seems noticeably quicker than the typical 4.0 experience.   (Barring, of course, the start-up waiting times, which are all but done.)  Am I wrong on this? 

    I was reading on some other forums about 4.0 candidates studying forever for each exam, and taking 2 years, 3 years, and even longer to complete the exam process -- sometimes pushing the 5-year rolling clock.  Wow!

     

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    Rebecca Weeks Erdman Edmunds

    So agree, Kurt.

    I've got 3 5.0 exams completed -- that PA is a retake. 5.0 is by FAR a better testing system than 4.0. I had a 'fatal error' on the 4.0 Section vignette that was purely due to my inadvertently moving a bunch of things while checking my work. I just STOPPED the licensure process because I refused to work so hard for an exam and be foiled by antiquated software that had no bearing in the real world.

    5.0 has revitalized my interest, and I'm so grateful for the change. 

    Best of luck, Brendan! I'm sure you will ace it!

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    Darci Lorensen

    Hi Brendan-

    Sounds like you have quite the list of resources! And I see above that you plan to schedule your exam, good for you! For what it's worth, I purchased AEP for both PPD and PDD, and while I found it helpful for PPD, I did not find it at all helpful for PDD. It may be more relevant for other versions of the PDD exam, but it wasn't for mine. There are no drawings in exam guide. The exam covers many drawing and detailing items. I found Building Construction Illustrated to be very helpful, and if I had not passed, I would have studied Graphic Standards as well (but I passed both PPD and PDD, yay!) Good luck!

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    Brendan Bailey

    Thanks Kurt!  Thanks Rebecca!

    Thanks Darci -- you're feedback on the AEP PDD software just saved me from spending $100.  Can't tell you how grateful I am that you reached out with this feedback. 

    ARE Community:  You're support & encouragement is greatly appreciated!  I'm glad we're here to help eachother along through the examination process. 

    PDD EXAM SCHEDULED *May 15th*  Get Crackin'

    -B, Colorado

     

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    Sarah Buffaloe

    Darci, thanks for your comment! I'm in a similar situation where I found AEP helpful for PPD but am having doubts about it's relevance on PDD. I'm going to re-focus on Building Construction Illustrated.

    Brendan, best of luck!

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    Brendan Bailey

    Hi Sarah,

         So far, Darci's advice to dive into Building Construction Illustrated has been really helping to drive home all of the content covered in the Ballast ARE5.0 book.  The muddy water is getting clearer every day.  It's a wonderful resource!  Exam in 12 Days and counting.  Will report back (and thank you).

    -B

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    Darci Lorensen

    Haha, who would have thought that one of those dusty textbooks from college would come in handy again? ;-) Glad you are finding it useful! Good luck in your final preps!

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    Kyle Cianchetta

    So did you pass?

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    Craig Johnson

    Pass/Fail??

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    Sarah Buffaloe

    I Passed! 

    I felt like I knew many things...and puzzled my way through the rest. Like it has been pointed out before, these exams (especially in 5.0) are set up as cognitive exams testing your logic and conceptual knowledge, it's not really about memorizing stuff. I'm sure I feel like many others that I every time I walk out of an exam I feel like I spent all this time studying for a totally different exam. If you had asked me the moment after I finished I would have said if I passed it was a squeeker. How about you Darci and Brendan?

    All the best to those still on the journey!

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