PPD Pass! Study Materials Recommendations

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    Peter Leahy

    I realized I should also share that beyond these materials I did utilize the Ballast Guide for my first attempt (I don't think that nearly prepared me to take PPD) as well as much of the Black Spectacles video tutorials for my second attempt (these were better than Ballast but maybe were a little too broad in their content). I'd be happy to share more about my thoughts on either of these as well!

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    Belle Taylor

    Wow, Peter, that's a great summary and congrats!  I just failed PPD for the second time 2 days ago and am feeling really down.  Someone I know used Ballast for PPD and passed it on his first try--go figure.   For my first time I used MEEP and Ballast but found MEEP to be too in-depth.  I will try the materials you suggested here.  Again, congrats!

     

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    Benjamin Marcionek (Edited )

    Thanks and congratulations Peter! This exam seems to be just as much about being able to take a standardized test as it is about knowing the actual material. So I will definitely check out that last resource. Thank again.

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    Asra Zaidi

    Hi Peter!,

    congrats on the pass and kudos to your persistence. I took the exam yesterday and failed it (my first attempt). to be honest, the test did not seem hard (except the case studies) and I honestly thought I would pass but I did not. I feel the stuff you study barely applies to the type of questions that come. I think they test you on your understanding and the in-between stuff and NOT  on your knowledge. which is fine, but I don't know how I can prepare for it. I have PDD lined up for next week and to be honest, I don't know what I can do differently to be better prepared. 

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    Peter Leahy

    Asra,

    I think you absolutely nailed the nuance of the exam in that it's not about memorizing or knowing specific information but on being able to take the information given and choose an answer based on your evaluation of that information. I'm sure that's a part of the reason why they recommend not taking the exams immediately out of school; I at least had a few questions that were almost identical to situations I had encountered in my day to day work. 

    But that said, it does make it difficult to study for. I have a running joke with a friend that these exams feel like a coin flip where, honestly, you can study as much as you want but in the end it feels like you almost always have to get a little bit of luck in order to pass. So, I'm sorry to hear about the fail but definitely don't be discouraged. I know I felt like I worked my ass off before I took PPD for a second time, walked out of the exam center feeling like all my answers made sense, felt overall really good about the experience.....and still ended up failing. I even paid to have them manually rescore my exam because I felt so confident I had done well. 

    I think the materials I listed about helped me a lot when preparing for PPD (and honestly would be useful for PDD as well) but ultimately just keep a positive attitude - no matter how difficult that seems - it's hard. It's meant to be hard. But it will feel incredible when you do finally get that pass!

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    Trupti Mehta

    Hi, Thanks for the study materials listed. For ASC & Heating, Cooling Lighting do you recommend going through the entire books? 

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    Peter Leahy

    Trupti,

    If you have the time I would definitely recommend trying to read through both books in their entirety. Even if some of the information is not immediately covered by the exam, everything is relevant to the field and I found they gave me a better understanding of lots of engineering components I didn't have a lot of experience with. 

    However, if you don't want to read through every page, the chapters in HCL that deal specifically with passive/active heating & cooling, daylighting, site & wind design, and mechanical/electrical systems were the most useful. As for ASC, I would say focus on the chapters on the items you feel least confident on whether that's structural systems or mechanical systems, etc. 

    Good luck!!

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    Belle Taylor

    Peter Leahy

    On the ASC, how carefully did you try to understand the summary charts (if you want this, select this system etc)?  Because honestly I don't know that I agree with some of their selections.  It seems like a stupid question here, but on the exam, I know I got asked a lot of these questions.  Thanks.

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    Peter Leahy

    Belle,

    I read through the charts and tried to get a rough idea of the basic concepts (e.g. which systems were designed for max flexibility, which are most expensive, etc.) but I certainly didn't make any effort to memorize them. Thankfully my exam didn't have more than a couple questions which asked something like "which Struct/Mech/Elec system would be best for this situation" so I personally can't recommend trying to spend too much time on these summary charts. Hopefully this helps and good luck!

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    Bhree Barrett

    Maybe I'll try your suggestions.  I haven't gotten my paperwork, but I'm pretty sure I failed.  I studied for 3 months, and I don't believe anything I studied was even tested.  I referenced Ballast, Building Codes Illustrated, Building Construction Illustrated and Mechanical & Electrical Equipment for Buildings, as well as, Black Spectacles.  I did take practice exams through NCARB and Ballast, and the exam wasn't anything like either one of them.  I'm really frustrated!

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    Jennifer Johnson

    Hi, thanks for your input! Really helpful. I found a few editions of Heating, Cooling and Lighting. Can you tell me which version you used for studying? Thanks

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    Trupti Mehta

    Thank you for your response

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    Belle Taylor

    Peter, thanks for your answer. I know it seems like a stupid question but both times I took PPD I actually got a bunch of questions on a variety of Systems to select. Thx

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