PDD Pass on 2nd Take - Strategies before and after failing the first time

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8 comments

  • Avatar
    Tony Young

    Michelle,

     

    Thank you for this input, I am going to take my PDD for the first time soon.  When you didn't pass the PDD the first time during the 60 days did you re-study PDD or you moved onto another test? 

  • Avatar
    Luke Durkin

    Michelle, 

    Thanks. I must say, this seems like a ton of studying.  I'm just starting PDD after passing 3 tests in 4.0.  Can I ask how much work experience you have, what degree from which school you have how you felt each prepared you?  I'm trying to determine what the appropriate amount of studying for this test is.  I just started the Black Spectacles courses 1.5 weeks ago.

     

    Thanks a lot.

  • Avatar
    Michelle Gonzales

    @ Tony: PDD was my last exam so it was the last to finally get done.

    @ Luke: Studying for 5.0 is a different than studying for 4.0. This is all the more true for PPD and PDD, as they each are 4 exams in each one so a lot of ground needs to be covered per each sitting. Some have had success sticking to one source but, based on what I’ve seen on here, most (including myself) have had success using the extensive resource list found in the ARE Handbook.

    That being said, I have about 5 years experience. I have a B Arch from Howard University and an M Arch from UC Berkeley. I’m not sure how much any of this affects my or anyone’s probability of passing, though. I’m sure everyone has learnt the same sort of things in school that would come up again in these exams, especially since all programs are monitored by the accreditation board. As for work, that helped me somewhat, based on my exposure to certain topics. Either way, I’ve seen people with far more experience have issues passing, while other with less experience knock them all out early. I think that, at the end of the day, it boils down to test taking ability and retention. If you are good on getting down a hefty amount of stuff in a short period of time, you wouldn’t need months like me.

    One last bit of advice on Black Specs as a former user - that shouldn’t be the only one resource you use. I’ve used them in the past and while they try to cover all the areas, they are very light on substance. I even heard the makers in one of their most recent ARE Live podcast episodes encourage people to read the Ching books BCIs and MEEB. It’s not an insult to the program - there is some merit to using it, just not as a stand-alone thing.

    I hope this helps. I tend to be wordy.

  • Avatar
    Luke Durkin

    Michelle,

    Thanks, I tend to be very wordy too.

    I guess I should state my goal is to narrow down from NCARB's and people's suggestions what are the most valuable resources to study since NCARB presents such a massive volume of texts to study, number +/- 1000 page books.  For example, many people have said MEEB is far too in depth and isn't a good use of time.

    With these two tests, in particular, I've heard a lot of people say things along the line of structural classes were an afterthought at their universities or that the student body didn't pay appropriate attention to those classes.  Meanwhile at other universities structures is very serious and they may even require more classes than the accreditation board minimums.  

    With experience, they test creators have stated that ARE 5.0 tries to separate what you really know and retain rather than what you've memorized and won't retain.  Thus, people with experience have reported having to study less than those who are trying to knock it out straight out of school.  

    Then I agree with what you say, it's a lot more individually based than degree based.  Unless of course, you're not coming in with a NAAB degree.  Many states don't require a NAAB degree, many even allow you to get licensed with a high school diploma (plus a ton of experience)   In that case, you're probably having to study a ton!

  • Avatar
    Michelle Gonzales

    You are correct on the NAAB requirements not necessarily being the standard - I moved away from CA but I recalled that it wasn’t necessary but you were required to complete additional years of work.

    I see you are definitely doing you research into the statistics behind passing, which is good. Thinking back, I was a pretty good student in my Structures and Systems classes but I think school as it concerns the non-studio classes more pushed us to memorize rather than to understand and retain concepts. I had a couple of construction classes that stuck for a while, but by the time I left school, those memories faded away, along with the workings of shear and moment diagrams, lol!

    As for the resources, during the second round of studying, I tried to be over cautious and also pay particular attention to my weaknesses. I only left about 3 weeks after PPD to sit my first take on PDD, while I had a good 3 months until I retook. So I made sure to understand more of certain topics (e.g. the reason for me delving into the mammoth of MEEB.’)

    In retrospect, if I wanted to be economical with my time for PDD, I would have relied heavily on selected Ballast chapters, BCI (both books), FEMA, selective chapters in AGS and trusty Google/YouTube.

    I hope this helps.

  • Avatar
    Luke Durkin

    Yes, that helps a lot thanks!!! And congratulations on passing!  

    Sometimes I'm thinking I'm overstudying, sometimes I think I'm understudying.  I just want to be done, thus the desire for efficiency.  Plus I'd rather under-study than over-study for my first attempt.  I think I over-studied for PPP, the first-one I took....ug

  • Avatar
    Michelle Gonzales

    I hear you there, Luke. Thanks and all the best!

  • Avatar
    Adelina Koleva

    Thank you Michelle for this post, I'm very grateful! Going to use it as a guide. I'm preparing for my first attempt at PDD.

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