PPD Pass on 2nd Attempt - feedback



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    Andre De Mattos (Edited )

    Peter congrats on the pass!  I just failed my first try...literally just got back from the testing center.  Didn't think it was a hard exam, just endless.  

    Anyways, what killed me was time management.  I didn't know we could start with case studies first..my own fault for not learning all about 5.0 exam structure.  I didn't take a break either...didn't know how to use it.  I was so drained out towards the end. 

    What was your experience on both tries regarding case studies? 

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    Peter Wentz

    Hi Andre,

    Time management certainly is a key issue on an exam of this size. I limited myself to a minute or two per question on the first pass - there were dozens of questions I wasn't 100% sure about, so I just took a best guess & marked those for review. There's no partial credit or bonus for not answering, so getting an answer down for each one is a good start.

    The case studies have been preferable to the main body of the exam in each of my experiences (I've also taken & passed PA). There's less of an opportunity for NCARB to throw you a total curveball when there's more of a "real world" reference.

    I'd recommend learning how to use the break function - there's a mini practice exam available through your NCARB portal that, if nothing else, can help orient you to the controls and functions. I'd also review your exam results to see what areas to focus your studies for your next attempt.

    Good luck!

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    Andre De Mattos

    Appreciate Peter. It was my first try on 5.0, but I've tested on 4.0.  It was a rookie mistake on my end, but moving on to PDD in two weeks. What are you taking next? 

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    Peter Wentz

    PDD next, as I understand there's a fair amount of overlap with the material. My intention is to begin studying in earnest next week. Giving myself over a month of prep time - structures will surely be the biggest area I focus on!

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    David Kaplan


    Congrats on the pass. First off - when is the new Fall Out Boy album coming out?  (look up the band members if you aren't getting this joke).

    Second - "structures will surely be the biggest area I focus on" - I want to caution you on this.  The PDD test is HIGHLY involved with construction detailing, knowing your way around a set of construction documents, understanding how to read drawings, etc. etc.  Everyone's test is different, so I'm speaking from personal experience only, but I did NOT have a large amount of structural questions on my PDD exam. 

    You passed PPD.  Again, my test experience here, the same level of knowledge I had taking PPD I was able to apply to PDD 10 days later and pass it. 

    Simply offering some advice.  If you feel you are very weak in structural systems concepts and haven't a clue about the basic calculations - yes, brush up on those.  But I wouldn't consider it to be "the biggest area you focus on." 

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    Peter Wentz


    Ha! I'm plenty used to getting mixed up with the FOB guy. We are not one and the same, but maybe he'll take up architecture one day.

    Thanks for the advice. I'm not expecting many structural questions, but my comment was addressing my own areas of personal weakness. Having worked for years now, I feel I know my away around construction docs & details pretty well. So while I'll definitely brush up as needed, it won't be my main area of study.

    Structures, on the other hand, I feel pretty lost on. Not sure I could tackle even the most basic calculation - which is why I intend to focus studying on those. Not so much because I expect PDD to be 50% structures questions, more so that it's by far my weakest area.

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