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    Robert Hott

    I just passed PPD and PDD in the last 3 weeks. My biggest point of advice is to prepare yourself for a marathon. If you've studied all the material maybe you should make flash cards for each category and separate the cards in to two piles, cards to review often/right before the test and cards to review less often. I had about 600 flash cards for PPD/PDD. Take as many practice tests as you can to see where your weak areas are. Waiting 6 weeks between tests means you'll forget a lot of info. I studied for both tests for 2 months, then took them 2 weeks apart. Carolines and Jenny notes helped me condense down the info into and easier to consume format than an entire book. I studied for about 25 hours per week, and at least 3 hours per day minimum. 

    Jenny's notes can be found here >

    My questions for you would be

    Have you already passed other exams? PPD/PDD should be taken last. 
    Are you taking notes while studying?
    Practice tests?
    How many hours per week?
    Did you eat a high protein meal and get good sleep the night before the exam?
    Did you run out of time?
    Did you have time to review at the end?

    My ideal testing ritual was having grilled salmon and broccoli the night before the test and vitamins and eggs that morning, bringing a thermos of coffee with me to the testing center to get more caffeine during the break. I noticed if I did my normal morning routine before the test, I was super burnt out by the halfway mark, and the last 1/3 of the test is the most difficult, so I switched to eating fish and eggs and that got me through my last 4 exams. Remember that during the test, there will be some questions that should take 15 seconds to answer and some that take 10 minutes. I marked all the most difficult questions for the end and quickly sped through the test, which left me with an hour to just review the hard ones. Also watch out for questions with way too much info, I think reading the last sentence, then the full problem is helpful. 

    Hope that helps and good luck!

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    Daniel Burko

    Hey, I first want to say Thank You for writing such a lengthy response.. It is more than appreciated.


    To answer some of your questions.

    I have passed the other 4 exams (in 9 weeks actually)

    These 2 exams are all that I have left to pass, but seem to be giving me a hard time.

    I take notes, and highlight things, which was easier on the first 4 exams then these honestly.

    Yes, I have taken, black spectacles, AEP and ballast exams.  I can get 90's on those....  With the practice exams however as much as you try to not memorize the answer and focus on why the answer was correct.  It is very hard.  The other thing with the exams is that they are so much different than what is actually on the exam.

    I study about 13-16 hours per week for the exams.  Usually 2 hours per day.  I usually take practice exams on the weekends.


    I had a good night sleep and had a nice steak the night before.  I purposely take my exams around noon, so I can have a good breakfast in the morning and skim over some notes and what not that I have created (about 5 pages worth)

    I never run out of time, and I usually have about 45 minutes left to review my flagged questions at the end.

    I already downloaded Jennys notes and I am going to be reviewing that now too.

    Unfortunately I have to wait 6 more months now, to retake this exam.  NCARB you can only take the exam 3 times in a 1 year period.  Which brings me to January 6th.


    I am at the point with the review materials that I am getting bored because I keep reading the same stuff, which I can basically recite in my head.  I guess thats what frustrates me the most about this.


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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )


    i am a big believer in understanding the "typology" of the questions. also the "typology" of the syntax. i think syntax messes up more people than folks realize.

    in terms of the typology of the questions - i just did the "rotate the rooms and place in a 10 degree rotated building plan" problem in the practice software. unless i am missing something you only have six possible solution for this (assuming you successfully rotate the four rooms by ten degrees) so i am just going to put the rooms on the plan, rotate each of them ten degrees, then place the objects in the outline. move ONE to where it needs to be (morning sun or whatever) and then move the second where it needs to be. the third and fourth pretty much have to go where they fit. this is like a low stress gimme. but maybe i am missing something on this.

    also, in terms of syntax. i am removing all "adject-jivey" words like "composite" from "composite metal wall cladding" and just reading "metal wall cladding". my brain gets mis-directed with all this stuff.

    same if it says "your client..." for this i am going to substitute "your test proctor...".

    for example, there is a handbook or video or whatever question with some 1005 Egress code language that is super confusing (granted it is the IBC but usually i find IBC OK). anyway, it says "Exception: For Groups other than H and I...". this is like a weird double negative. my brain locks up on this stuff. it starts to think "Ok, so this is a Commercial Occupancy so it is not - er, not in the exception - er, it is in the exception..."? and i saw a lot of it in 4. for this one i am reading "Exception: For all occupancies except for H and I".


    are you indicating that memorization is a critical factor in passing PDD and/or PPD?!


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