Time issue on PDD

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28 comments

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    Jennifer Hoppel

    I felt the same way on PPD.  I got through the normal questions with (what I thought was) plenty of time left for the case studies, but I found the case studies very time consuming.  Searching through all the documents and going back and forth between everything was much more time intensive than I had expected.  I ended up not getting to the last 2 questions.  I've never not finished an exam either.  Very frustrating.  Taking PDD January 4th and will definitely approach the case studies differently.

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    Robert Fehrenbacker (Edited )

    I felt the same as well. I also noted that there were at least two questions with incorrect units placed in the response area.  For example the question asked for R value and then left inches in the units next to the 'fill in the blank."  I checked three times just to make sure I was not going crazy. I answered according to the question but it still makes me worry. I also think that some of the questions were worded in a confusing manner. I am really concerned. 

    Jennifer are you taking it again without a score? Seems like you may pass even without two questions. Why not wait?

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    Jennifer Hoppel

    Hi Robert,  No, my first test was PPD, I'm taking PDD in January.  No way I would voluntarily take that test again without being 100% sure I had to!

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    Michael Travis (Edited )

    Post Edited: Thought I was posting in PPD. Just took PDD and had time issues as well, forced to rush through case studies and ran out of the time trying to finish last question. guess it would not be fair to us increasing time in future...it is what it is

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    barry ballinger

    Michael,

    Increasing the time would really just increase the pain. The interface does need to be fixed though. I mean, I don't think people should take the exam the way it is. If their up against their 5 year clock, they should get an extension.

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    SM

    I didn't really experience a time shortage on this exam, and I think I generally take more time to answer the questions than most people. You figure you have about 4 hours to answer 120 questions. I was able to get through the multiple choice in about 1.5 hrs and the remaining time was spent on the case studies and checking my work. I will say that one of the case studies took me much longer than I anticipated (over an hour) and was thankful for the amount of time I had remaining.

    I didn't have a problem at my test center with the questions loading slowly so that didn't really effect my clock time either like some have reported. Scrolling through the reference materials for the case studies is very time consuming and having to constantly zoom and pan over the documents is just incredibly frustrating and that is something that could definitely use some attention. The best tip for navigating the reference material is to use the Keyword search function. You can use it for all the reference material so if there is something specific your looking for it will help snap to the area you want to see (especially helpful with construction documents).

    Overall this exam was difficult, but I have taken all the 4.0 exams and in comparison to the two tests I had remaining in 4.0 (building systems & structural systems) this test is much more in tune with what architects deal with professionally and it reminded me a lot of the CDS & BDCS exam in 4.0.

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    Erik Lindberg

    I took PPD and PDD last month; had the same issues of running out of time. I managed to answer all the questions, but would have liked a little more time to review some questions I was unsure of.

    Had the same issues other people have reported of questions and references loading slowly; I counted the seconds on one particularly bad one - took over 30 seconds to load a multiple choice question.

    The place that really got me, though, was the case studies. When you have to review multiple documents per question, and there's a loading time on each one, it starts to add up.

    Overall, I really liked the new format, and prefer the case studies over the vignettes. I thought the old vignettes only tested your ability to replicate the example vignette you practiced on; the case studies seem more applicable to actual architectural practice.

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    Joseph Vraspir

    Sean and Others, I recently took PPD and have PDD scheduled for Jan. 30th. I'm hoping that I can get through the multiple choice quick as well so I can have plenty of time for the case studies. My question is this: How do you select the Keyword search function? I was not able to find it taking the PPD exam, and can also not find it on the demo exam. It must be there somewhere, so why can I not find it? 

    Thanks!

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    Michelle NCARB

    Hi Joseph,

    The keyword search box is in the bottom left corner of the case study window.  It doesn't show up when you're reviewing the scenario, but you'll see it in all the resource tabs.  The keyword search is also available in the drop down References. Just click in the box, type your search term, and hit return.  

    Have you watched the ARE 5.0 Exam Navigation Video?  It includes a demonstration of the keyword search and many other navigation tools available in ARE 5.0.  Be sure to check that out, and practice the tools in the Demo Exam, before your next test.

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    Albert Caiati

    Michelle, hi.

    I see posts stating some have run out of time will testing. If that occurs are you warned first that time is running out? 

    Does one still need to click the End Test button? Or is that superseded?

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    Ryan NCARB

    Albert,

    You do still receive a five minute warning.  The time is also always displayed in the upper right corner of the screen.  You can either end the test with the button, or let time expire.  Both package the exam up for scoring in the exact same way.

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    Rebecca Phipps

    I would agree that there is a time issue on this test.  I did not have a problem on any of the other tests, but this one had substantial number of questions that took time computing numbers and fill in the blank.  Nothing difficult, but definitely time consuming.  I was short on time when I reached the casestudies and had limited time to review the documentation.  Rather than risk leaving a question unanswered, I answer questions before sifting through all the information, not the way to do it of course, but better than leaving it unanswered.  I then went back and check on them time permitting. I would definitely recommend doing the case studies first, but I do believe NCARB needs to allow more time to open and close plans.  Pages need to be accessed several times before you can confirm the answer. 

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    Craig Carney

    I took PDD today and also ran out of time. Too many questions that require time spent calculating numbers. I like the new format but still hate that in this day and age we can't have a ZOOM and PAN for reviewing all the case study documents. It's extremely frustrating when you know you can figure out the answer but the interface is archaic and takes too long to find what you're looking for. NCARB please fix this!!!!!

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    Albert Caiati

    Amen to that brother.

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    Ryan NCARB

    Craig, did you practice with the ARE 5.0 Demo Exam before you went in to test?  It's free and available  through your NCARB Record.

     

    Both ZOOM and PAN are available on all of the case study documents.  You should really check it out.  You too Albert.

     

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    Craig Carney (Edited )

    Ryan, yes I did take the Demo Exam. What I'm referring to is that a user has to physically go click zoom and pan buttons in the UI. Why can't the mouse just control these functions? I did see a thread that someone said you could use a search function so I'll check that out but that just seems like a bandaid to the real problem of integration of the zoom and pan functions into the mouse buttons like it is in every architecture firm in America. Other then these issues I think the new format is great and  more in line with the practice of architecture.

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    barry ballinger

    Zoom and pan are not consistent either. Also, if you search, then zoom, you'll zoom into the top left corner at 300%.

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    Mark Swingler

    @Ryan NCARB,

    In reference to the Demo Exam, does NCARB provide the answers to these practice questions like in the 4.0 sample problems?

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    Ryan NCARB

    Mark - all of the correct answers (with references and rationales as to why) can be found in the ARE 5.0 Handbook.

    The answers to the Case Study items can be found HERE.

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    StephenF

    I found the easiest thing to do with the interface was to just automatically hit the drop down and set the document to 80% every time. Just make it a habit every time you switch documents and not let zoom quirks get to you. The zoom controls are just unique to the software. It's not much different than toggling between Acrobat, Blubeam Revu and Newforma Viewer where every piece of software has it's own setup. It doesn't mean it couldn't be better. Be thankful there's a practice exam so you at least know what's coming.

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    Thomas Hardy

    I took PDD earlier this week. Thankfully the prometric site I used seemed to have a pretty fast internet connection so the lag loading sheets was usually 5 seconds or less. I had read the forum before taking the test and knew about the potential time crunch. I did not systematically read through the reference materials as they suggest in the video. That would have been too time consuming. Most all codes that were referenced were ones I was already familiar with so I knew what section of the code to go to in order to doublecheck. Even still, timing was definitely an issue. The case studies took more time than anticipated and I had to finish the last 4 questions in about 2:00min.

    In terms of calculations, from my research it sounded like most of the math in the test would be limited to quick simple calculations that tested understanding and implementation. What I found was that, though the majority of the calculations were fairly simple, there were many questions that involved multiple calculations in order to fill in the blank. I initially tried to do all the calculations twice in order to make sure I didn't accidentally make a mistype on the slow calculator. I eventually had to abandon that method in order to save time and quite possibly got answers wrong due to a mistype. I would suggest that multi-step calculation questions be limited to multiple choice so calculator errors would be more evident.

    Thanks for yalls hard work. Overall I appreciate the approach for 5.0 much more than 4.0 and the case studies are relevant to work I do daily as opposed to the archaic vignettes.

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    Lindsay Butler

    I just tested pdd and wanted to document my experience with lag and running out of time as well.  I ran the clock down on literally the last case study question.  For the 4.0 exams I had tons of time to review, not the case here.  The general lag for most questions was in line with what most people have reported 3-5 seconds, with the graphics questions taking longer; and there were lots of graphics questions, or maybe it seemed that way because they were so slow.  I did have 2 instances where I almost called the staff as I thought the test was frozen as I started watching the clock when it was unduly long, and saw 30 seconds tick off after I started paying attention, then the question would finally load. There was no 5 minute warning on my exam, which was fine; I would have been annoyed by a pop up box at that point.

    Most of the questions involving calculations were simple arithmetic, but there were 2 or 3 with so many calculations to be done to find the answer.  Really time consuming.  I realized from reading the forums that the loading and lag times would be an issue for the case studies, so I strategized navigating those documents... Hatch patterns in the CDs seemed to take forever to load.

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    Eoanna Harrison

    Hey Ryan,

     

    Is the lag time an issue that will every be fixed? I read the allotted time included lag time, but have also heard a few others say they experienced no lag time recently, so was not sure if that was just a coincidence e or if I should expect this again on my next exam.

     

     

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    Ryan NCARB

    Eoanna,

    While "lag time" is something we watch and are very aware of, the exams are all functioning as expected.  As we have said before, the total testing time allows for the loading of items and the transition between items.  We are always looking to improve our image quality, our load times, and our user interface, but there is no specific "fix" for this.

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    Michael Mauceri

    Ryan, having recently passed both PDD and PPD to complete the ARE, I just wanted to thank you and NCARB for your daily input and advice in approaching/testing in these new divisions. Well done - the new exam is such an improvement from the 4.0 format.

    Good luck to all! My advice begins and ends with 3 words: TAKE THE EXAM!  If you fail - big deal - take it again and I guarantee your speed will improve!

    Too much time is spent on this forum complaining about computer issues, etc. When you take time to complain about material loading in 2-3 seconds, maybe its best to then, recall the time you spent drawing lines and circles in vignettes and the associated time wasted hitting zoom. The lag will not make you fail these 5.0 divisions.

    Again, best of luck to everyone!

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    Eoanna Harrison (Edited )
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    Matthew Piechowiak

    I took PPD and failed it - because I failed to budget my time correctly.  I was not aware that the last 20 questions were so much reading.  Flipping back and forth - at different scales and each time you do, the system doesn't remember your place in the previous view (ie. if you're looking at pg 5 on one tab - switch to another tab - and then go back to the original tab - you're no longer on page 5, but page 1).  Really annoying.  The automatic zoom thing someone else mentioned above (300x) has got to change too.  When I clicked the zoom button once, I expect it to zoom in ONE level.  Not to the greatest amount.  Seems like a quick programming fix there (but what do I know?). 

    Subsequently, I took PDD.  My strategy was totally different.  Immediately upon starting the exam, I skipped to the last 20 case study questions.  I took my time, knowing that the balance of the questions (approx 100) would then be relatively easy and quick to push through.  I budgeted 2 hours for the case study.  Seemed to go much better and I ended up with plenty of time for the MC questions and time to review at the end.  While I felt much better (time wise), I still failed.  

    There is just so much material to study for these two exams - and the questions are just all over the place.  I have PPD rescheduled for next week - and still feel unprepared.  The study material out there is just too broad.

    Additionally, I did find misspellings on the exam - which REALLY frustrates me.  Not only is this distracting, but for the amount of money we pay for exams - NCARB should take the time to run spell check.  I am confident they were misspellings, as the same word was used later in the same question, spelled correctly.  

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    Rebecca Phipps

    I would agree with you Matthew, spot on, on all points.  Good for you for signing up to retake it right away.  I've found it really difficult to get back into the swing of restudying, I poured my heart and soul into the preparing for PPD and PDD and have plenty of solid experience behind me.  I am finding it impossible to read another ounce of the same material or watch another video.  So my new strategy will be lots of casestudies and calculations.  There were a lot of simple fill in the blank math problems and those have always been my Achilles heal, I second guess myself every time and spend to much time rechecking.  Multiple choice at least eliminated the need to recheck.  I had no problem with the 4.0 exams.  I think the 5.0 is a better format, but yes, overwhelming because PPD in particular is so broad.  Although I acknowledge both PPD and PDD do follow DD and CD phase to a tee, the detail level that they cover would never be expected in the office without your resources and consultants advising. For this reason the single subject exams were easier to prepare for.

    Holding breadth and jumping in the ring for the next round .....

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