PDD - what is worthwhile study material

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    Scott Barber

    Hi Michael, congrats on passing PPD! It's a big one and I'm sure it's a relief to have it behind you!

    These are the things I studied from the books you have:
    - Building Codes Illustrated - only a little - read some sections to clarify code but didn't feel the need to study in depth based on my experience
    - Building Construction Illustrated - this was a great book for PDD. Probably top 3 overall for these two exams
    - Architectural Graphics Standards - another great book, top 3 for sure. It's dense but has great content - I mainly looked at the details (if I didn't understand them I would read the accompanying text, otherwise I focused on graphics and read the intro to some sections)
    - Architect's Studio Companion - I think this is more beneficial for PPD, but I studied for both these exams together so I read it before PDD. It's definitely relevant but I would put it below BCI and AGS for its PDD value. 
    - FEMA 454 - I read chapter 5, others have mentioned chapter 4 is important too. It's a pretty easy read from what I remember, good for seismic design issues
    2010 ADA - I read through this but didn't spend too much time on it, I deal with most parts of it regularly at work so I just wanted to make sure I wasn't leaving anything out
    - 2012 IBC - I actually didn't "study" this for the exam, I just am familiar and comfortable with it through work experience. If there's a chapter or section you're uncomfortable with, read through it (and look at BCI-codes for clarification if needed), otherwise I would just make sure you're familiar on a larger scale - though it could save time on case studies if you're nervous about time being an issue

    What you don't have:
    - Olin's Construction - I didn't study it for either PDD or PPD. I know others have found it's useful but I don't think it's a necessity, personally. If you get through BCI and AGS and still feel like you need to know that content better, maybe consider getting Olin's? 
    - Steel Construction Manual - Not necessary, in my opinion. If you know how to use the formulas they provide regarding steel, you'll be fine. They might give you an excerpt from the book (part of a chart or something) and ask a question on it, but I don't think it has much value for studying. Note: I did not see a question like that on the exam - I just assume that's how the book would be used
    - Minimum Design Loads... - I didn't study it. In fact, I don't remember even considering studying it. So either not many people recommended it who passed the exam, or I unintentionally blocked it from my memory :) 
    - AHPP - this is a large, expensive book, and about .05% is relevant for PDD. It's important for PcM, PjM, and CE, but not for PDD at all. I wouldn't buy it for PDD, unless you just want to look impressive with another heavy book on your bookshelf. 

    Sounds to me like you're setting yourself up well, thanks for coming to the forum with a pre-compiled list to ask about. Good luck studying!

    Out of curiosity - where are you in the study process? I'm getting ready to study for the last 3 after passing PDD, PPD, and PA but haven't heard of many going in the same order that I did.
    Also side note: I'm not stalking you but I looked at your posts/comments from your profile to see if I could find the answer to my question, and saw you're a UNCC grad as well! I just finished my MArch last May - always cool to see a fellow alum up here!

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    David Kaplan

    Michael,

    Of the four sources you listed in the bottom list, the first three - don't need them for PDD.  Don't bother.  You can cover structural systems from ASC and BCI.  By any chance do you have a 4.0 version of Structural Systems?  It'd be worth looking into for concepts - but then again, you've passed PPD so you must know something already.  You're probably fine. 

    AHPP I agree is not useful for PPD or PDD, but if you still have the other 5.0 exams to take after PDD, I've seen numerous posts from others on here that it is a solid investment and worth getting.

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    Michael Hammon

    Scott - Thanks for the indepth feedback.  I am a UNCC grad.  I finished my 5th year in 2007 but have taken a circuitous route to finally getting around to taking the exams (mostly started a family, that wonderful recession during 2007-2010 bounced me around for a bit, and good ol' procrastination).  I actually started at PA, PPD, and now will knock out PDD.  Then I'll likely go with CM, and then go back to the first two.  Most of my books are accumulated from school/job experience over the years.  I listed the ADA and IBC codes just as a resource.  If I can't find something in IBC by now I should probably find a new field.  I didn't refer to it for PPD but it was on my desk if necessary. Otherwise I use it as a bookmark.

     

    David - thanks for the input on the AHPP as well.  My office likely has a 4.0 version of structural systems so I can grab that as well.  Thanks for the tip.

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    David Kaplan

    Not a problem.  A tip when studying the 4.0 Structural Systems book - ignore calculations.  If you can calculate the moment about point A with two loads B and C on it, you're fine.  Everything else you'll be required to calculate will be given to you in the question (meaning, the equation and the variables needed to solve it).  Don't read your 4.0 book and learn in depth equations.  This type of studying will yield little results and waste time on stuff you SHOULD be studying for.  I read the 4.0 book by focusing solely on concepts.  It was great - wouldn't change a thing.  The types of equation questions you get on PDD for structural systems are similar to what you just did for PPD, at least in my experience.

    Best of luck!

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    Max Kwok

    David - Does knowing how to find the size of a beam is helpful or do you think is overkill based on your last comment on structural calculation type of question? Taking my exam this coming Friday. Are there a lot of trick question in 5.0 in compare to 4.0? 

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    David Kaplan

    Max,

    Personally, I did not have to size any beams on my test.  That may have just been my test experience though - everyone gets a different set of questions.  That being said, I didn't study how to do it either.  Honestly, there's so much other stuff I wanted to know for these tests that I made the decision to forgo any and all "in depth" structural calculations.  To me, having to size a beam falls into the category, as does calculating reactions in a truss, determining how many bolts are needed in a plate, etc. etc. You get the picture.  I told myself if I got that question on the exam, I'd take a look at it, give it my best guess, and move onto the next one.  W21x48 - awesome - next question.

    Focus instead on the concepts behind structural design.  What does deepening a beam do to the structure?  What does decreasing the amount of columns do?  What type of foundation might be appropriate for these soil conditions?  What type of floor system is good if you want an irregular structural grid and no beams?  Think about the selection of systems being key here.

    Yes, you will get a few calculations.  As I mentioned, with the little studying I did on this, I was still able to handle these just fine.  Know the absolute basics (moment about Point A of a beam with these two loads on it). 

    To me, the "tricks" in 5.0 were the same as in 4.0.  In either format, it is imperative that you read each question, make sure you truly know what you're being asked to do, and then select the best answer.  Then, once you've answered all the questions, go back and question your answers.  Make sure you didn't miss something. 

    Best of luck!

    Hope this helps.

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