CASE STUDY "user interface user tips"

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    Michelle Gonzales

    I can’t say that my methods for doing the case studies were great and solved all my problems, but these were my tactics:

    - Taking my break between MCs and Case Studies so my mind is somewhat refreshed 

    -  Leaving 90 minutes to tackle case studies and the technical difficulties that surround them. 

    - Writing down bullet points of the case study synopsis so I don’t have to be flipping back and forth to refresh my memory every minute. 

    - The search tool is a life saver - I cannot emphasize this enough. Great for finding needles in haystacks. Can also be used to find room numbers, door tags, detail tags, elevation tags, etc

    - Mentally preparing for the absurdity of the zoom tool. I already knew that this tool will send me to 300 percent so I mentally prepared by knowing that it will take about 4-5 moves to get the right zoom and then I’ll pan around from there.

    No matter how good you get at the zoom tool, or the search tool, or the pan tool, the case study is going to be an exhausting process. I somewhat gave up during my first try at PDD but I shouldered my way through my lack of willpower in the retake and finally got over with it. I found myself always losing wind at around halfway of the second case study. I say all this to say that mindset is key. When you are tired going through the weeds of these case studies, stay motivated and keep the momentum going. 

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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )

    thanks a ton michelle.
    so - er, ah - HOLD THE PRESSES!
    you can use the search tool to find - well say door number 108 in a 15,000 square foot building plan?! this tip alone would save me five minutes of whatever it is i have left after the repeated drawing lags, black drawings etc etc.
    so - can you help me more here? younused it for other stuff that i don’t understand?! it basically reads vector text (?!) in the pdd drawings or something?
    i mean i could use it to find room number XXX or door number XXX or the east elevation by searching for “east” or something?!
    does it search all the pdf drawings and all CASW STUDY REFERENCE MATERIAL and all the tabs in“resources available when testing at the same time” or what exactly?
    THANKS

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    Jonathan Chertok

    MG,
    for what it is worth PPD for me was like being thrown off a cliff tied to a short rope.
    lol
    ; )

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    Michelle Gonzales

    From what I can recall, the search tool is at the bottom left of the box. I kid you not, if the question asked me to look for door 120, I typed in ‘120’ in the search field for the plans document and toggled until I found door tag 120. Of course you might end up bouncing into a room tagged 120 along the way, or some other 120’s floating around, but the point is that you are a few toggles away rather than having to scroll, zoom and pan around a large floor plan and read all door tags to find the right one. Works for elevation tags, detail tags, etc. For reference texts, like IBC, works just the same. So if the question is asking for number of parking spaces required for staff, you can go to the zoning ordinances and type in ‘parking’ in the search.

    The other thing I could recall is that the Table of Contents for their IBC excerpts also has hyperlinks to the various chapters so navigating to chapter 5 could be a click away rather a laborious scroll through the documents. That tool probably helps somewhat if you are given several chapters to decipher.

    I hope this helps.

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    Michelle Gonzales

    Oh, and have you also tried the demonstration exam? That is really helpful for people on here in getting used to theses kinds of user interface issues, including the lagging and the hopping from one resource to another.

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    Anson Nickel

    Seconded on the search tool, especially for questions that refer to written documents in the case studies (code, zoning, lighting cuts, etc). I've taken all but PDD now, and the search tool proved fruitful for, at minimum, 2-3 easy "find the zoning regs on flag poles" or whatever type questions. What would have been 2-3 minutes scrolling through the document and maybe glossing over the word, took maybe 20-30 seconds with the added benefit that I was 100% confident in the answer. 

    As for zooming, I just click "fit to page" from the start and go from there.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi michelle.
    thanks. so just help me here again? i have access to the practice software and worked in it rather extensively. for instance there are 33 decimal places in the answer boxes. lol.
    and the trig functions and percentage symbol in the calculator can can be a bit “non-obvious”.
    but are you searching in the DRAWING WINDOW - er, after a specific drawing load? or do you even need to load a drawing? i mean is there a search box for the drawing that is separate from the pdf documents that all have the (oddly named) “bookmarks” (it’s an index). or can you help me with what to look for? or does it search “everything” (?) and i guess you just scroll through results by clicking “Next” and it shows a highlighted yelllow box and zooms in on the object in a drawing (?!) and/or displays the text in a pdf text document?!
    i probably spent five
    minutes on one question looking for a number thinking it was a room and the coild’t figure out what they we’re asking and then i went back and discovered they were asking about a door and i went back looking for the door.
    but between the rotate tool and the zoom and the pan and the mall window it is like being in a first year studio designed fun house in there for me.

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    Kristen Charters

    By search function, Michelle is talking about in the pdf resources. Like for codes, you can search by keyword and it will highlight the terms and you can skip to them. Makes it much much easier than scrolling. 

    My advice is to read the question and answers thoroughly to get a sense of what they are asking and then hunt for the answer. Also if you can't figure out the answer in two minutes, mark it and move on to the next one. :)

    Hope this helps.

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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )

    aok. just a note though. she is also indicating (!) search will also find TAGS (as in room or door numbers).

    i spent ten minutes using the horizontal and vertical scroll bars (because i kept forgetting to turn the Pan back on i think...) in that little window looking for tags...

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    Kristen Charters

    WHAT? If only I knew that when I was re-taking PDD. :( I spent a good ten minutes looking for tags too... That could have saved me so much time. 

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    Michelle Gonzales

    Yep. You can search for tags.

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    Kristen Charters

    :) Always a good thing to know. Thanks for the tip!

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    Jonathan Chertok

    i know. squeeky wheel and all. you never know what you might turn up. big thanks to michelle...

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    Luke Durkin

    sorry if someone else already said this stuff...

    If it's that slow I'd consider going to a different test center next time.  I went to the Colorado Springs test center yesterday and I thought the loading time was very reasonable, not a concern at all, <1 second.  I also liked that is was less busy than the Denver test center.  That may have translated to faster loading times, idk.  I'm sure these Prometric centers are very standardized and have to meet strict specifications for internet speed, computers, room temperature and so forth.

    To your original question, it was a while before I realized that the questions and answer options weren't just at the bottom of the scenario (first) tab, they are at the bottom of every tab.  

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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )

    hi luke. i had no choice on test centers. i had to put up overnight in a hotel to get anything close to my first exam. seems odd to give a professional exam where you are choosing testing centers by whether in not you think you can get through the exam at one or the other test center. but whatever.
    anyway. what do you mean by l”the question and answer options”?
    i’m going to take another look at the practice software and test out the search function again so the more tips the merrier!
    /thanks/

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    Luke Durkin

    Page 146 of the ARE handbook is an okay example.
    https://www.ncarb.org/sites/default/files/ARE5-Handbook.pdf

    There is a scenario, "After construction has started, the contractor..."

    Then a question: "Using the most cost-effective option, what will the cost difference be for the new carpet?"

    And in this case a fill in the blank (my strategy work better for multiple choice and case studies)

    I don't have much patience for reading so for me, reading the question first and knowing what I'm looking for or asked to do before I read the scenario helps me focus but also means I can ignore non-pertinent information and know I may not need to figure something out that I assume I might have too.  For example, I often found myself doing things like figuring out the occupancy type, only to realize that didn't factor in for one reason or another.  Pg 107 is an example of a question with lots of non-pertinent information. 

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi all,

    for anyone feeling a tad dyslexic with all the interesting interface types in the exam i just tried the search function in the PDF drawings. so - because i know you have enough to deal with - if you go to question 16 on the practice software and go all the way down into the lower left hand corner of the drawing you will see a search bar with a magnifying glass icon.

    you can put in "existing building" and you will see that it has a very small highlighted bar that will either go over "existing" or over "building' or highlight somewhere next to these terms.

    it's a great tip and one i didn't want to bury underneath other material.

    best o luck.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    luke.

    i'm not following. you are saying you read the answers - after reading the question - before trying to solve a question. in multiple choice and in case studies? or what exactly?

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    Luke Durkin

    Sorry, I forgot to clarify that.

    I'm suggesting to read the question and answer choices before reading the scenario.

    I find when I read the scenario first, it kinda goes in one ear out the other and I just have to re-read it anyway. Also, it let's you filter out the info in the scenario that isn't pertinent.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    thanks for that luke! i’m glad i followed up. yeah, i’m going to do that. just work it backwards basically.
    i’m also considering calling the window for the backup info “the window of death”. that and taking a deep breath and holding my breath while i’m in there. if i’m in longer than two breaths - i’m going to get back out and reread the question or move on. it’s like being underwater in there. without the search tool it was like deadly...

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