PPD and PDD pass, FINALLY finished with the ARE! Here’s the timeline of how it happened after transitioning from 4.0 – I’m 6 years out of school and it took me all together just over 2 years to complete all the exams. Hopefully some of you can relate, be informed and ultimately be encouraged by this.
PPD First Try: I studied for 2 months, 15 hours a week, Ballast 5.0 PPD and Black Spec PPD course. I took the test and was super flustered with the new format. Ran out of time - it wasn’t pretty. Failed.
PPD Second Try (PDD first): I decided to combine my study efforts with PDD and studied for 3 months, about 15 hours a week. Materials I used were: Ballast 5.0, Graphic Standards, Building Construction Illust., Building Codes Illust., Architects Studio Companion, Black Spec.
I was totally obsessed and had my mind set on passing these exams. I scheduled them a week apart and really put the pressure on myself (which in retrospect did more harm than good). I felt so confident going in that I FLEW through the questions. I had 30 min to review questions at the end of each, which isn't a bad pace, but I was breezing through the questions and answering based on my first instinct (which isn't always a good thing, make sure you absorb the content and nuances of the question). I took PDD first and failed. I thought for sure it was a fluke, so I kept my head up and took PPD with the same confidence. However I ended up failing PPD too, again.
I decided at this point in time to just take a break with no studying and just forget about the tests. This wasn’t a strategic move but mostly a move of exhaustion and frustration. I went 5 months without even thinking about the tests and clearing my head of all the information cramming.
PPD Third Try, PDD Second: Then off a whim, I decided to schedule both exams for the following week, on back to back days. I told myself that I didn’t want to get psyched out and didn’t want to know whether I passed or failed one or the other (declined to look at provisional feedback)
Here’s the amazing thing: I had so much more stamina and clarity for the tests. I was able to focus on the CONTENT of the question, not strut through each question wielding my wealth of newfound knowledge. I asked myself: what is NCARB looking for from me? What are they trying to assess by asking me this question? And ultimately how would a fully capable architect answer this question?
Turns out I passed both and couldn’t be happier!
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