The journey is finally over.
It was pretty quick for me - all in I took all of the 5.0 tests within about a 2 month period (I have a baby due in two weeks so was trying to beat that little guy or girl here!), giving myself anywhere from 9 days (PA) to 3 weeks (PPD AND PDD together) to study for each.
I ended on PDD and actually found it to be the most professionally relevant and easiest test. I have 5 solid years of experience which helped some, but I studied extremely hard and think I studied smart - not getting too caught up in the minutia of some of the resources.
As for these two tests, these are the resources I used:
Building Construction Illustrated
Architect Graphic Standards
Ballast Practice Problems + Practice Tests. These were extremely helpful in understanding how to read a question.
Gang Chen Practice test: just ok.
Designer Hacks: Cheap and great.
Architects Studio Companion - used more for PPD but because I was studying simultaneously these things bled together.
Flashcards from 4.0 tests BCBS, SS and BS. I thought these were great for studying when you're burnt out on everything else.
I looked up a lot of stuff on the internet and occasionally used ballast for certain sections.
I bought MEEB and literally didn't even crack it open. It makes a great doorstop.
All in all, if there are two pieces of advice I could give, it would be this:
1. HALF THE BATTLE FOR SOME QUESTIONS IS FINDING OUT WHAT THEY ARE ASKING.
Without going into the minutia or violating any confidentiality rules, I had 2-3 case study questions in particular that were quite frankly awfully written and put forth a very odd set of circumstances. I had to read through the question a million times to ultimately get at what I think they were asking.
2. MOMENTUM IS YOUR FRIEND
I started studying mid-January and only stopped for one weekend to do a local architecture competition. Momentum builds on itself and before you know it, you're studying out of habit. If you can maintain that momentum through the duration of your testing, it will both make studying far easier and more effective.
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