I passed PPD last week and I’m done! I took it 11 days after I took PDD and I think that worked out really well for me. The bulk of my study material/strategy is in my PDD thread HERE. After PDD I studied primarily the Architect Studio Companion and the IBC 2012. I can’t recommend the ASC enough, it seems that book is tailor made for PPD.
For this exam I went through the MC quickly, not spending a lot of time on any question. If I almost knew it, or didn’t know it I made an educated guess, went with my gut, marked it and moved on. I found the case studies to be very fair and not as complex as in PA and PDD. In the whole test there were a few questions I couldn’t find the info I wanted, or thought a diagram was vague or laughably bad, but for the most part the questions were straight forward, reasonable and seemed to be consistent with the actual practice of architecture. When I was done with the case studies I took my break, then went back and reviewed about 20 questions that I had marked. I went through this entire review and walked out with 15 minutes still available. This was not my experience with PA/PDD but more similar to when I took CDS/PPP in 4.0.
The one scenario in which I didn’t try to move quickly was if I got to a question that I knew I could solve but might take a little more time. NCARB said that passing scores are anywhere from 57-68 on these exams, so for PDD/PPD that means the maximum score you need would be 82 questions correct. I think these two exams might be lower, but worst-case scenario you need to get to 82. Your entire existence for those 4 hours is to find 82 questions you can answer. If you need to spend a little longer on a question but you know you will get it, I think it’s worth it to put one in the bank. Likewise, you’re allowed to miss 38 questions! So don’t stress when you don’t know an answer. Take your best guess and move on.
The Actual Test
This thing is so broad and generic that I can’t really explain the questions without actually saying what they are. If I were to take it again I would, in no particular order, focus on:
- typical beam loading conditions and which ones bend more (these are your very basic Statics 101 free body diagram type stuff)
- double-skin facades
- Altitude, Azimuth and how they relate to latitude
- Seismic design, i.e. moment frames, braced walls, shear walls…read FEMA 454 Ch. 5
- Electrical distribution, how does electricity get from the street to your desk?
- Mechanical, how does a hot or cold molecule of air get to your desk
- IBC IBC IBC, be familiar with Chapter 4, determining occupancy types and also 5,6,10,11
- Remember this is an Architecture exam.. if a structural or other question doesn’t seem obvious on it’s own, consider the architectural implications
- Sound absorption and reverb equations
- Maybe I’ll add more later, test was a week ago and I can’t remember.
And with this, I’m done! Now waiting my turn in the review queue. Hey NCARB, if I respond to 15 Vignette Help Requests on the 4.0 Forum can you move me up to the top of the pile?
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