I found out yesterday that I passed PDD and I'm officially done with ARE! This was definitely the most challenging exam though, and as many people have stated in other posts, this exam is all over the place. There were structural, lighting, acoustics, site planning, etc. questions and it bounced from one topic to another. Granted, that really shouldn't be a surprise based on the material covered in the Ballast 5.0 Manual. As many people have pointed out, the Ballast manual goes into way too much detail and structural formulas, but you do need to be familiar with some of the basic formulas for all the topics mentioned above.
I used Ballast 5.0 Manual, Building Construction Illustrated, Architect's Studio Companion, and a quick skim through Architectural Graphics to prepare for the exam. I felt fairly well prepared for the exam, but this was definitely the exam where I felt it could have been a pass or fail once I got to the end. It's really an exam where you have to know the concepts or theories and then have to apply them to the situations given on the exam.
The 5.0 community has been extremely useful in helping me prepare for my exams and knowing which resources were really the most important to focus on and study. It took me around 6 - 7 months to complete all 6 exams, with about a month of study time before each exam. It was a very busy and aggressive schedule, but I highly encourage everyone to just schedule that next exam and force yourself to start studying and finish.
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