I have two remaining exams, PPD and PDD. I'm scheduled to take PPD in about a month. Since this is a transition for me from ARE 4.0, I expect the approach to be different. I'm seeking advise on some of the resource materials out there, as they add up in cost quite quickly, I would like others to share their experiences with any of the ones I mention. Thoughts on Black Spectacles and Architect Exam Prep (I've read the other threads on these but am still unsure from the responses reviewed).
AEP is $99 and BS is $179. I've read that both of their versions of flash cards are worthless or a waste of time as the content is far too broad or not focused enough (ok, thats fine, i can do without that). I understand that the testing will judge your ability to determine big picture approach as well as specific relationships or requirements that are consistently utilized across the jurisdictions. However, I feel that I don't need hundreds and hundreds of pages of material to bog me down. I feel, at this point, I should already be well equipped to understand the big picture.
To me something like Jenny's Notes are amazing as it takes all the content and boils it down to a clear bullet point list of key items (although I have caught several discrepancies). These are really all i studied for SPD, CDS, PPP. I did read the entire Kaplan cover to cover for SPD and that's when i realized this was a waist of my time, but in general was good to brush up by noting key points. That's just it, i really just need key points! I just don't need 85-90% of the text to get to the point of things (many many hours/days worth of time i could better use elsewhere).
Now, I will say, I understand that for many it is critical to read Kaplan cover to cover, to read all the recommended material cover to cover, especially if you don't have any or little work experience and that schooling may not have covered these materials as in depth as one would like, or too long ago, or for whatever the reason. But that studying approach is most definitely not applicable for me. I love to learn, but quickly, almost like writing short hand. ...what can quickly and accurately convey a message or point without all the gibberish in between. I always come out of studying a better professional to sharpen what is there, to build upon, or even add what I may not have already known specifically, obviously.
However, I want to ensure i'm not being too lax and would greatly appreciate any insight from others. As of now, I'm waiting to purchase any further material until i can better have an understanding of the content each provides for its practicality, direct relation to ARE exam content and if it is really of value for someone like me who doesn't need to get into the drawn out global details.
Building Design and Construction Systems
I plan to get a PDF of FEMA to add as well but only chapters 4/5/8
Black Spectacles seems to have very knowledgeable staff to cover material, however, their videos can put me to SLEEP! they spend tremendous amount of time covering one question and talk at a snails pace, no offense. For this reason i doubt wanting to purchase as i feel it will consume most of my time to study and not cover much. I'm a key points type of guy. what are critical must know topics and specifics. But maybe their purchased content is better? It's odd for me to grasp that they are the only approved NCARB ARE exam prep out there, based on the videos I've watched. I'm sure they are very helpful for those needing in-depth break down of every question. I don't mind that, but I feel there is a ton of time that could be saved if there is more targeted review content.
I appreciate BS and have indeed gained a different insight to some topics, which is why I don't want to fully exclude them as an option.
I've also read that AEP is completely different content than Black S (which makes me scratch my head) but also has areas of material that seem too broad picture as well. I've read pros and cons to both, all of which questions whether to purchase any of it.
I've read and watched NCARBs initial material for PPD and took their online sample exam. Which seems that the vignettes have been integrated into the multiple choice and case study questions on a dramatically simpler approach.
If you are similar to me, I would love to learn your approach as well as any suggestions. I'm always open to new ideas! Ironically enough, apologies for the novel I wrote!
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