specific ballast 4.0 review manual chapters for PDD 5.0?



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    Kristen Charters


    I think this has been covered in other posts but to reiterate:

    Due to the amount of information and material that crosses over between the two tests, its really not worth it to study for the two separately. Schedule your two tests now within a couple days of each other. 

    Now, you've said you have already reviewed Ballast 5.0 PDD and PPD. Great! I wouldn't spend too much time focusing on Ballast. I (and others) have found the NCARB matrix materials to cover the material in much more detail and often with better explanations. 

    Out of the matrix material, I personally used (as these are what I had available to me):

    Architectural Graphic Standards


    Building Construction Illustrated

    Heating, Cooling, Lighting (for HVAC and lighting review)

    Site Planning and Design Handbook (reviewed things I didn't know like site assessment)

    AIA contracts

    Architectural Handbook of Professional Practice (relevant chapters from here)

    IBC and ADA


    I also used:

    Architect's Studio Companion

    Michael Ermann videos (AMBER videos)

    Thaddeus videos (structures concepts only)

    FEMA 454 (chapters 3, 4, 5 only)

    Schiff Hardin lectures

    It took me about two months or so to study for both at the same time.

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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )

    thanks as always kristen!

    i'll study this (THANKS) to see if i am missing anything.

    i sort of meant the post as a PDD/PPD inquiry for the ballast material in case there was something in there that was written more technically than some of the other info in ballast 5.0 etcetera.

    i keep seeing things on site, mechanical, electrical, etc, etc and i thought if there were 4 or 5 ballast 4.0 chapters worth reviewing i would take a crunch through them...

    i forget - you did 4.0 as well or were you strictly 5.0?

    much appreciate it.

    - jon


    >edit: ok, i see that old post. i don't think i agree with some of the content there. 5.0 ballast seems organized quite differently than 4.0. also i feel that the 4.0 material is more "pedantic" if that makes sense. perhaps still useful to /some/ of the material in 5 IMHO. also i think it is not correct to think that the content in 5.0 exams is the same as the content in 4.0 (if that is in fact what someone was indicating...). but of course i have not taken PDD/PPD in 5...


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    Kristen Charters


    I see what you are concerned about but I think you are focusing too much on Ballast. Other sources previously mentioned by myself as well as others are far more informative and more well written than Ballast.

    I have taken (and passed) both PPD and PDD via the transition from 4.0 (took CDS, SPD and PPP in 4.0) and I have gotten very similar material on both 4.0 and 5.0 as well as on PPD and PDD. Likewise, I have both Ballast 4.0 and 5.0 material available to me and it is 90% the same between the two-it is simply reorganized to as 5.0 is structured differently. The remaining 10% can easily be covered with matrix materials.

    That being said, the practice tests are different- I would take the BDCS, BS, SPD, PPP, CDS ones in addition to the PPD and PDD ones as they cover different things.

    If there are things in Ballast that you want to study in more depth (site, mechanical, plumbing, construction, etc), go to the matrix materials that you have available to you. I wouldn't worry about going out and buying all the matrix materials (its not worth your time and money to buy multiple sources that all reiterate similar things). See my response above for what I recommend.

    When do you take your exams? 

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi kirsten
    thanks a lot. sounds like you were in the same boat.
    yeah. so i’ve been surprised to see that masterspec and contractual issues are in PDD (i guess) since they are not listed as resources and i am just trying to nail down a handful of items so i can “bank” some multiple choice questions or cover anything i may be likely to miss. also seems like a lot of noise on the forum about site planning vis-a-vis bodies of water, etc etc. also about being “surprised” by the breadth of the exam(s)?
    it seemed like reviewing some 4.0 ballast might be the way to go at least for mechanical or electrical and such.
    i’m just doing Ballast 5.0, ASC, building codes (i had to do it for a damn retake of a failed CDS vignette and then a failed building codes in the retake. i didn’t even know building codes was in CDS so once i figured out what was up (or down) with the vignette it never occurred to me to review anything since i passed all MC. i’m not a big fan of being in an exam unprepared or surprised. i also don’t like being in a meat hook for two months.
    planning on doing a quick read of building construction illustrated.
    xerox some IBC code tables. xerox some AISC code tables. practice the online exam 20 times. do some wiki searches on random technical stuff like electrical line voltage, calculating lighting whatever it is, reading a lighting cut sheet, place a generic vapor barrier on the “warm” side of insulation (inboard in cold climate, outboard in hot climate). then i plan to take the ballast 5.0 two small review guides.
    i find communicating in the forum problematic but does this sound OK.
    can you please explain what you mean by BCDS etcetera?! i did’t look at this stuff in 4.0. are you saying to read these chapters in ballast 4.0? to take the exams for 4.0?
    i don’t really mind skimming or reading some duplicate material. as someone on the forum said, reading it in a different way can be helpful.
    ALSO, i was going to work on the ballast 5.0 problem sets in the 5.0 review guide and just skip overly complex ones. worthwhile?!

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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )

    one more note. colleagues seems to think ballast 5 is fine if you have experience. if they are odd base it would be interesting to understand why
    also, last notes here on remaining study materials:
    AGS: some single random reference to something or other that i have to look up.
    AHPP: can’t find any suggestions on what to review. oh, maybe some lighting calcbot info in there or maybe it was in AGS
    MEEB/OLINS: quick skim. then decide on what to sell, keep, give away or burn.

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    Kristen Charters

    Your plan looks good. (I don't think its necessary to review the online exam more than 2-3 times. You just need to be familiar with the format of it. YMMV)

    What I meant by BDCS etc was in relation to the practice exams that Ballast provides. They are a good resource for practice questions and I highly recommend looking over them.*

    MEEB is good for all MEP, FP and lighting questions. Yes it goes into way too much detail but its a very good resource. I would just look at the diagrams/anything that you have questions on as you've mentioned.

    AHPP chapters: http://narmourwright.com/wp/index.php/wiley-publishing/

    Building Codes Illustrated would be good to review for code. (I believe code/ADA shows up on all exams)

    The ARE Handbook says to review "the project manual and specifications". So you need to know every component of the project manual including specifications and AIA contracts.

    I've never used Olin's so I can't comment on that resource. I'm also not sure what you mean by meat hook. But if you can squeeze in 1-2 hours per weekday and 2-4 hours per Sat/Sun for a couple months, I think you will be in good shape. 

    *For the practice exams, I would take both the BDCS, BS, CDS exams and PPD and PDD problem sets and practice exams. I wouldn't skip the complex ones or if you do, just understand the reasoning behind how the answers are obtained.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

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