I just got out of the PDD exam. They now give you a preliminary review (pass/fail) of your exam at the very end.
I wanted to give some insight into the exam for those who haven't taken it as I felt like the exam format wasn't clear to me going in. This is the biggest risk in transitioning from 4.0 to 5.0.
-Ballast 5.0- If you are transitioning from 4.0 to 5.0 *BEWARE* these tests are meant to be taken in sequence and thus the Ballast 5.0 study material is structured as so. If you transitioned, study at a minimum for PPD and PDD at the same time. Structural content in the PDD section is totally beyond any question on the test. Don't waste your time studying the complex calculations.
-BCI - great resource. NCARB recommends this. I would study the entire book.
-MEEB - used as a supplemental resource. Helpful, but as it is too detailed, difficult to use as a primary resource.
-There are very few structural calculations (1-2)
-Most all equations you will need are given to you in the exam
-There are fewer mechanical systems questions than I thought (4-5 questions)
-There were more acoustical questions than I thought (8-10 questions)
-This exam included a little bit of everything except Contracts
-Allow for ~2 hours for the Case Studies. Go through all of the Case study questions first before answering. Refer to the drawings while reviewing them to gain a better overall understanding of each project.
-Picture questions: I had a few questions on the exam that were photo based. A blurry image of a building is shown and there are spot markers on the photo. Candidates are asked to select the correct detail for that location. You can't see the building components, materials nor zoom in to get a better understanding. Did I mention the photos were blurry?
-Lots of detailed sections pictured with questions to 'place your marker' at the correct location for xyz. These are like the NCARB practice exam. I thought these were good.
All in all, I think the 5.0 exams are an upgrade from 4.0. However, there is not enough exam questions in the format of the 5.0 exams to warrant transitioning from 4.0. My recommendation is not to transition from 4.0 to 5.0. Candidates taking 5.0 currently are guinea pigs.
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