BALLAST chapters for PDD?

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    Michelle Gonzales

    Hi Jonathan.

    Using Ballast to study is fine, but I personally wouldn’t suggest that you rely solely on Ballast 5.0 for any of these exams. I rarely saw rave reviews from candidates only studying a specific division and making it through to a pass. Neither have I found great success with using only Ballast resources. It would be more effective to use the ARE 5.0 Handbook and zone into their resources to tackle specific sections. I’m currently using Ballast specifically for their write-up on the Project Manual and Specifications, but i’m also looking at AHPP and the CSI Project Resource Manual to make sure my tracks are covered for that section.

    Also be aware that there would be a lot of knowledge from PPD resources that would carry forward to PDD as well, so this is why studying for both at the same time has become a practice by a lot of test takers thus far. 

    I hope this helps!

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    Daniel Cancilla (Edited )

    Hi Jonathon,

    Many of the previous posts for PPD and PDD have not had favorable reviews of the Ballast material. I believe the general consensus is that Building Construction Illustrated, Building Codes Illustrated are a must, however. 

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    Scott Barber

    Jonathan, 

    I would echo what Michelle and Daniel said. 3rd party study materials will only get you so far for the 5.0 exams, especially PPD and PDD. There are some good posts on this forum that suggest what books to study from the ARE Handbook Reference List, but the two BCIs, Architectural Graphic Standards, and The Architect's Studio Companion were the biggest help for me.

    To answer your question though, I'd say reading PPD will also be of benefit for PDD. Honestly I would encourage anyone to study for these two together and take them close together (~1 week apart). There are a lot of posts that talk about this approach and it's what I did - passed them both 2 weeks apart after studying about 8 weeks for both of them.

    Also a piece of advice regarding Ballast: do not study all of the structural content they have. It gets waaaay too detailed and you don't need to know all that for 5.0. 

    Good luck!

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi michelle, daniel, scott.
    sorry i was holding off on jumping in here to give a more detailed response but should jump in anyway.
    my question wasn’t clear. i have “primary source” study material and will be reviewing /this/ material to see whether ALL of it or only some chapters apply.
    what i meant to ask is if ballast is divided up correctly enough to just study the chapters that apply to each section.
    i stopped in briefly to a study group and they were going through flash card questions for PPD that had no relationship at all to the PPD section in ballast (city planning stuff and whatever).
    so basically i was just tackling ballast specifically and wondering can i read just PDD or just PPD for the test?
    or do i need to read both before i take the first of the combo when i them at the same time? or do i ALSO need to read the other chapters in ballast?

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    Scott Barber

    Hi Jonathan, thanks for the clarification. I've seen a few people who just try to study from Ballast or another 3rd party source, so my tendency when I see these posts is to caution people from only studying Ballast. 

    Honestly I don't remember exactly how well the content was divided into appropriate sections. I read all the Ballast chapters for both exams before I took the first one, and looking at the book now it seems like it's divided up appropriately for the content areas of the two exams. I would suggest looking at the ARE Handbook closely and confirm, and then look at the chapters in Ballast and determine if there are any areas you feel the need to read from the other exam. 
    I think if you're reading primary sources you don't need to spend much time in Ballast - I tried to use it as a 'foundation' to build off of, but I still read more than I needed to. I think if you're familiar with concepts that Ballast covers you don't have to read those areas unless you have the time. 

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    Julie Kidder

    Check out the last few chapters of the Programing & Analysis division too.  That division had some on mechanical systems and part of the structural content - both chapters that were irrelevant for PA.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    thanks julie. super helpful. i get more out of studying than studying what i need to study so help like this is really welcome.
    all the best
    jon

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    Stephanie Reed (Edited )

    i studied ballast and building construction illustrated and found that BCI has much more information relevant to practice and prior exams. i'm taking PDD on Monday, and have passed all the others first try, so I'd at least be familiar with concepts in ballast, and use their practice exams but, lordy, i've never seen a formula on the ARE like the ones Ballast throws around in 5.0 PDD sections... haha! Thank goodness. 

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    Julie Kidder

    Ballast alone definitely wouldn't be enough to get you through PDD.  I just took (and passed!) PDD.  It felt like half the test revolved around details and sections, which Ballast doesn't show.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi julie,
    thanks and well done!
    just trying to put together a list of chapters for ballast 5.0 and since i have 4.0 for 4.0. not exclusively studying ballast but as a supplement.
    i noticed 5.0 has the PDD chapter but it seems to be missing some of the “objectives” areas. a lot of people mention being being surprised by some of the “other” content on PDD/PPD so just trying to dee what to quickly review to cover the material if that makes sense.
    good job
    jon

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