Passed PDD 2nd try - words of advice



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    Justin Pelland


    Congratulations on completing your AREs! As I type this response, I have (literally) just finished reading every single word of the Ballast ARE 5 Review Manual, Practice Questions, and Practice Exams. I can definitely second your observation that they're riddled with errors. The worst part is that they sent me a revised version for free which was supposed to have the errors corrected, but I didn't spot a single difference between it and the original version I bought. I mean... they reversed the definitions of Statute of Repose and Statute of Limitations. That's a huge problem. Outside of spelling mistakes, there were frequent incorrect references (i.e. "This is discussed further in Chapter 12" when that chapter had nothing to do with the topic being discussed). and several incorrect or highly subjective answers. Needless to say - I used it, read every single page of every single division, and managed to gain something from it, but it took a lot of diligence and patience as I researched nearly everything I learned to confirm it was correct before trying to commit it to memory. I've found the Ballast book most helpful in learning terms. Many of the critical terms are italicized, so I made a habit of creating flash cards every time a term was introduced that I wasn't already familiar with. The process of making flash cards actually contributed more to my retention of information than actually using the flashcards did.

    I think the Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice is a much better study guide for the majority of divisions. Building Construction Illustrated, Building Codes Illustrated, and Building Structures Illustrated were also great resources for studying specific topics.

    Congrats again on finishing! That's a huge accomplishment!

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    Evelyn Junco De la Puente

    Thank you so much for those words of advice. I’m going to start studying and taking the ARE exams. I would like to start with the hardest one, is this a good idea, what exam would you recommend me to take first?

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    Kenneth Ballard

    Evelyn, take one you are familiar with the material concepts already... Get any win under your belt. This will help with the motivation to quickly move on to another.

    Beat of luck,
    Ken B

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    Kristian Akin (Edited )


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    Leul Yoseph (Edited )

     I am using the ARE 5 review manual , ARE 5 Practice Exam  and  ARE Practice  Problems for the architect registration exam by David Kent Ballast, Holly Williams, Rima Taher. Does these material do any good helping to pass the Exams, Specially PPD and PDD? I appreciate your response and advise.

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    Anthony Roxas

    Leul - Yes, but you should review the material in more than one section. Information in one chapter of the Ballast 4.0 book is spread out in the 5.0 book throughout the Division 3, 4, & 5 sections.

    Kristian - Thanks! PPD then PPD made logical sense for me, but I think the material overlaps so much that you can take them in either order. I studied with the lens that PPD was related to the DD phase, and PPD was the CD phase, which makes it easier for me to focus on what would likely be more relevant to the test.

    Evelyn - I agree with Kenneth that passing will likely help you keep the momentum to continue studying. I'd say that if you're taking all 5.0 only, you should start with the earlier test. I definitely would NOT start w/ PPD as your first ARE unless you have a comfortable amount of experience/knowledge already. 

    I'm sure there's some people out there who have started with these "harder ones" and passed the first time, but I think there's still the matter of learning and adjusting to the 5.0 test taking process, time management, navigating the interface, getting accustomed to the test center procedures/environment, and all that. Some of those mini interactive questions are really confusing. Sometimes you can right-click an object, sometimes you're not supposed to. lots of wtf moments...

    Justin - thanks! onto the CSE for me (after a break of course) I definitely perused the handbook. I guess I didn't mention but Building Construction Illustrated was definitely clutch. 


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    Andrew Bennett

    It sounds like Ballast goes into too much detail. How important is it to memorize formulas? The electrical and Structural stuff is eating away at my soul... 

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    Anthony Roxas

    Andrew - Not very important in my opinion. you can see what formulas are available during the test on the handbook and the demo exam. Also the math I encountered on the test, both 4.0 and 5.0 are algebra 1 level. There was maybe one math problem that I wasn't exactly sure about the formula, but I still feel like I got it right. 

    I found Kaplan and youtube more helpful on electrical concepts, but there's a one line diagram in one of those "other" books that is good to know.

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