Finally crossed the Finish Line 😊. I will spare you how I accomplished this TREMENDOUS task while fulfilling my other life obligations, just know that it was not easy. I transitioned from 4.0 (passed CDS & PPP). Passed PA/PPD/PDD in the last 6 months. What resources I used to study:
- AMBER (book/videos): IMO the video content is second to none. Worth the money. Team-up for discount.
- Black Spectacles: The practice exams are the closest thing I’ve seen to the real exam. I recommend the (basic subscription) just for the practice exams. The video content is ok, some better than others. If you decide to watch, watch on 1.5 or 2.0 speed. Use the practice exams to simulate test day i.e. how your will attack the exam, case studies first or last, when and number of breaks etc.
- Elif ARE Questions: Excellent study resource. Elif does a great job explaining the answers to the question and listing the resources used to develop the questions. And did I mention its cheap!
- Hyperfine: Another Excellent resource. Ben’s assignments are well developed and was a change from how I typically study. Also cheap!
- Designer Hacks: Used this when I really didn’t have the head for studying. Questions are short, to the point, and you can do a number of them fairly quickly. Another cheap resource.
- Ballast ARE 5.0 Manual, Practice Exams, and Practice Problems: Manual OK for general understanding of most concepts but feel like they didn’t go deep enough into some topics (I used the original 5.0 release, maybe the newer books are better, may be worth a look). Practice Exam and Practice Problem book OK if you’re looking for additional practice questions.
- Ballast 4.0: Had this material laying around in the office from 4.0 exams, figured why not. Found it useful.
- ARE Exam Prep: I used the audio content and listened when driving to and from work. Found this super useful especially to get studying in on those days that I wasn’t able to do much else.
- Jenny’s Notes: Used it as a checklist to see what topics I had good understanding of and what I felt I needed to work on. Oh and it’s Free!
- Heating, Cooling, Lighting
- Building Construction Illustrated
- Architect Studio Companion
- Building Construction Principles, Material and Systems
- Simplified Engineering for Architects and Builders
I did not read every book cover to cover, focused on what I didn’t know. Be sure and review the graphics. I recommend watching YouTube videos on those days that you just don’t have the head to read/answer questions.
Exam Sequence: Took PA/PPD/PDD in that order. I didn’t move onto the next exam until I passed the prior. PA was the toughest exam for me (took me multiple tries).
Hours Spent Studying: 2-3 hours M-F, 4-6 hours on weekends. There were certainly days that I did not study. However, for my last exam (PDD) I stuck to this schedule for 7 weeks. I could taste victory and was super motivated to finish my last exam.
The 5.0 Community: Reading the stories and experiences of everyone taking these difficult exams encouraged me to not give up! I’ve read posts on this forum of candidates who have been at it for decades, I was inspired by their dedication. Don’t Give Up! Good Luck!
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