PPD Pass - Test Recap - Test Strategy - Done! SPRING BREAK!

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hey Ben,

    Congratulations!  Great summary and strategy tips.  Happy to have you back on 4.0 to talk vignettes...but sadly that won't help you skip ahead in the review queue.  Points for creativity, though!

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    Kurt Fanderclai (Edited )

    Benjamin -- nice write up! 

    I have a question -- since you're not busy and all...  ;)   However, I did warn everyone that I would be shamelessly harassing people about PDD.   

    I took PPD first -- the opposite of you.  I've seen your excellent PDD write-up as well, and I  cautiously feel pretty studied up for PDD already.  I'm going to go through the Olin book -- which is really just another volume of more or less the same stuff -- I'm using it as a fresh review, rather than re-reading the other crossover reference materials.

    I'm also going to review specs, project manual, and construction documentation -- possibly in Ballast 4.0, which does a pretty nice overview.  I will also will re-read Chapter 10 in AHPP for the similar material review.

    So my question -- anything else you'd recommend I do to prepare?  I'm taking it in a couple weeks.

    As always -- I've appreciated your input.  Thanks!

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    Benjamin Norkin

    Kurt, my only friend.

    I think your plan sounds good. I would say the actual studying of construction documentation shouldn't take up too much of your time. On the test this is more about navigating drawings, identifying callouts, finding discrepancies, locating dimensions and not actual questions like, "what is a floor plan?" So I don't know that you can really study for the CD questions.

    For specs I really don't have much experience writing or even reading full on 3-part specs, but I didn't feel like I struggled with the spec questions...they are very similar to what's in the handbook. So understand the general stuff like Proprietary vs Performance, etc and maybe memorize the first 10 divisions and a few of the tricks, like I think steel studs are in Finishes (09) and not Metals (05)

    Make sure to read FEMA 454 Chapter 5...I had questions on PDD and PPD that I answered specifically because I read that document.

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Benjamin -- the man, the myth, the architect!  Thanks for that last post -- it really helps tie up my loose end study thoughts and concerns RE: the PDD exam.  I've made a road map of study for the next couple weeks, and noted your input.

    And yeah, your only friend!  Not many posts here yet, but it seems to me that the forum has been less active of late.  Upcoming holidays -- maybe a slump time for candidates? 

    You definitely helped out a bunch of other testers while you were knocking out the ARE -- and it's much appreciated.

    Cheers!

      

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    Randall Hunter

    Thanks for this great info Ben and congrats on being done! Looking back now, do you think all of the materials you used for PDD were crucial to PPD as well or did the ASC and IBC really cover a lot of this exam?

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    Benjamin Norkin

    Thanks, Randall. I think you need a little more, but ASC/IBC will get you a good way there. ASC doesn't have plumbing, acoustics or site design, but it is a great resource for mech systems, structural and electrical and as a supplement to the IBC. If I were to do it again I'd probably still use a lot of different resources.

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    Amanda Augustine (Edited )

    I passed PPD (also my last exam!) yesterday and I wanted to thank you for pointing out the number of problems you could get wrong and still pass because I think that really helped keep my spirits up! I skipped any I was unsure of or that were more time consuming, and after getting thru them all I had 41 unanswered which made me feel really good!  (I read your post right before leaving to take the test)

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    Alexandra Wojno

    Thank you for the awesome write ups everyone! It is really encouraging to see people succeeding!  I test in just under 3 weeks, and I was wondering if anyone had a good suggestion on what material to study regarding SECTION 5: Project Costs & Budgeting. The other resources that I am using cover just about all the other sections, so I was hoping to get some advice on this one from people that have had success. I transitioned from 4.0 so I want to just brush up on this portion before testing in 5.0.

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    Benjamin Norkin

    Amanda, Wooooooo! congrats! That gave me confidence too, I'm glad it helped you as well. Just to be clear though, I wouldn't completely SKIP any questions. You have to at least mark something down, then go back later.

    Since you tested yesterday did you choose to see your result immediately after the test? That seems like psychological torture to me.

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Amanda -- Congrats on the pass!

    Heh -- I passed PPD thinking similar thoughts.  I set up a rhythm in my head as I answered questions -- every three questions answered correctly I could get the fourth one wrong...  in theory that would give a safe margin!

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    Amanda Augustine (Edited )

    Ha! Don’t worry I answered all of them, I just used that to get an idea of where I potentially stood!!

    i was too nervous to see the instant score since it is a brand new feature, I saw the pass this morning.

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Benjamin and Amanda -- I've thought about that instant score -- after a fairly grueling 4+ hour exam.  Wow!    Guess I'll decide in the moment -- especially nerve-racking on my last exam!  Architect -- yes?  No?  Agghh....

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    Benjamin Norkin

    I think waiting a day is the way to go. You need to decompress and at least celebrate being done with the test, pass or fail. But what if it's a pass and you get to know right away?!?!?! 

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    Amanda Augustine

    I think I would have wanted to check right away if it wasn't the combination of the first day it was offered, and my last test (and 3rd time taking PPD). If i was earlier on in the exam process I probably would have been like, OF COURSE I WANT TO KNOW!

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    Rafael Enriquez

    Congrats to all. And thanks for all the great insight on your PPD test taking preparations. I took PPD yesterday and had seen the comments on this thread. I felt pretty confident at the end of the exam and left 30 minutes on the clock so I elected to get the instant feedback or whatever they are calling it. It was great to get instant results but still felt uneasy since it wasn't official. Still, reading 'you more than likely passed' felt great so I obsessively kept checking my NCARB record this morning until I finally saw the PASS.

    Off to PDD like you Kurt. One more to go!

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    Benjamin Norkin

    Rafael, woooooooo! Congrats and good luck. I can't believe you looked! So that's 50% of people on this thread so far.

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Rafael, that is great!  CONGRATULATIONS!  That is an awesome feeling...

    And a brave man -- fearlessly looking at the instant results...!  woo HOO!

    But I've wondered about that as well --  that even if I look, I will have in my head that it's "not official"...  heh, those of us nearing the (hopefully) end of the ARE are left stressed and irrational!  

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    Randall Hunter

    Haha! I'm glad I'm not the only one uneasy about the instant feedback. I suppose I will see how I feel when I finish and go with my gut. Putting all of those hours in studying, sitting 4 hours answering questions to then click a button and see "You suck, try again!"....I'm more anxious about that than the actual test. Maybe that's a good thing.

     

    Congrats Rafael!!!

     

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    Matthew Reed (Edited )

    Hey a note on steel studs which I know you only threw out as an example, but they are division 5 if they are bearing (a wall in a light gauge metal building) or division 9 if they are non-bearing (a partition, listed under gypsum supports), so depending on application could be either or both divisions.

    I take PPD on Dec 7th, so this is a prediction, I'll come back and edit if I'm wrong but Thinking after taking PA and PDD, this kind of analysis and understanding is exactly the thing the 5.0 questions do that 4.0 didn't, it's not enough to memorize "product" is division "XX", it's understanding what it's doing. I'd also say to go out to division 11 it still mostly pertains to mostly architectural items, and know the headline of 12 (furniture), 22(plumbing), 23(HVAC), 26(elec)

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    Matthew Reed

    Ohh and I had instant feedback for PDD... I definitely took a deep breath before clicking to see it, but knew I'd be kicking myself all the way to my truck if I didn't.

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Rafael -- now I'm getting mixed up... I saw you took PPD... did you take PDD yet?

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    Rafael Enriquez

    Hey Kurt. PDD is scheduled for 12/29. How about you? I’m actually just now reviewing the ARE handbook to map out a game plan in terms of studying. When are you taking PDD?

    I feel like with the overlap with PPD I want to make sure to not double down on material and instead focus on what will be new. Like perhaps more calculations and details. I haven’t bought the Olin book. Do you see it as significant enough to be worth buying? I feel comfortable with construction details from working on CD’s and doing CA out on the field all my career so wasn’t sure if I needed it. Definetly planning on getting more into MEEB this time around.

    For me, the part of design jobs that our engineering consultants do is more what I’m focused on. Like I get the concepts but the calculations I need to practice since it’s been a while since I was at that end of projects every day.

    What are you focusing on for PDD that you didn’t for PPD?

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    Kurt Fanderclai

    Hi Rafael -- 12/29 -- good to hear.....last one for ya!  Also good to see you're "on it" as far as studying goes.

    I took PDD yesterday -- passed it.  I plan to do a write-up, so look for that as well for my "mind dump".

    I bought the Olin book -- I don't think you need it.  Also not sure I'd spend too much time on the MEEB.

    I'll write up some notes with your questions in mind.

     

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    Benjamin Norkin (Edited )

    Matthew,

    Great point on the metal studs, thanks for clarifying. I think your prediction is correct. It is more about understanding how the specs work than knowing exactly which items go in which one. If you understand, for example, why the concrete division comes before the thermal and moisture protection division, you should be able to solve the problems.

    I only had 0-10 memorized as far as the actual titles. A few more might have been helpful, but I survived.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi ben
    just wanted you to know how helpful your postings have been to me (and i am sure others). super thoughtful and always on the money.
    thanks and kudos
    jon

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    Benjamin Norkin

    Hey Jon,

    Thanks and you are very welcome!

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