Took PPD on Monday and passed. Just thought I’d share some info on my studying resources since those kind of posts on here really helped me refine what I used to study.
I did the 4.0 to 5.0 transition, so this was my first test of the new format. For 4.0 I used almost solely Kaplan and Ballast books so I figured that’s how I’d study for these 5.0 exams too. I had access to Black Spectacles and the Brightwood books (formerly Kaplan) through work and started to read those first few chapters until I checked out the discussion pages on here and saw that 3rd party sources may not be the best way to study like they used to be for 4.0. So anyway I used the NCARB 5.0 handbook to see the books they cited. I bought Building Construction Illustrated, Building Codes Illustrated and The Architect’s Studio Companion, which I think is a good substitute for MEEB if you don’t feel like coughing up 150+ bucks for it. It doesn’t go into as much depth probably but the few questions you get that aren’t broad concepts on the exam were worth the savings in my mind. I used those three books as my primary studying and supplemented with some of the Black Spectacles lectures that I felt I knew the least about. Felt very unprepared going into the exam but honestly felt really good when I finished. All previous exams I felt awful walking out of but thankfully have always passed.
My method for the exam was tackle the case studies first since generally you need to read through some information to answer those questions. I didn’t want to run out of time with those being the last things to answer. It took me about an hour to finish both. I moved back to the beginning of the exam and blew through the general questions in about two hours, went back to check the few questions I flagged and ended the exam with 50 minutes on the clock. The test honestly felt like taking PPP and SPD again with a few MEP and structures questions mixed in. A couple simple calculations but not enough to spend a bunch of study time stressing over it, definitely know concepts. I was pretty comfortable with codes and ADA so I didn't use much studying time on that but if you aren't spend some significant time on it and know where things are located in IBC for the case studies. The relevant code info is provided for you but still helps to be able to jump right to it instead searching through pages.
This got a little long but hope it helps!
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