Passed PDD yesterday after failing it 2 months ago.
I've lurked on this forum borrowing ideas for several months. Thanks to everyone posting their study and exam techniques.
When I failed the first time, I told my wife: "I'll bet if it took it again right now I'd pass, I think I had bad luck on the questions they asked."
This time I had better luck. But "Darling, luck favors the prepared."
Here's how I studied:
I took the Blackspectacles Mock Exams (PDD and PPD) over and over again, and after taking the test I read thru all the answers and their reasoning, even the reasoning behind the wrong answers.
And I read their Top 10 Tips: https://blackspectacles.com/resources/the-top-10-tips-for-passing-the-are
This seriously changed my mindset going into it the second time. Maybe the most helpful thing I did between examps. For example:
Tip 6 "ON THE EXAM, NO ONE CARES IF YOU’RE A BRILLIANT DESIGNER It’s about simplicity and competence. And health, safety, and welfare."
I'm a very sculptural-artistic designer. But with this tip, and the mindset, I hit questions I wanted to answer aesthetically and then dropped that idea and the answers were pretty obvious.
TIP 5 "YOU ALREADY KNOW STRUCTURES We promise, you already know structures. You just have to translate what you know into the special language of engineers."
"It’s not about doing math. There will be more questions on the ARE about general ideas than there will be about math. Every once in a while you’ll have to do some equations, just so they can see that you know how to plug in the numbers. You aren’t expected to memorize formulas (although it’s useful to memorize a few). All of that information will be given to you, and you just have to be able to find the right information and plug it in the right spot."
With that mindset, when I got a problem requiring math with no equation given, I assumed there was probably some way to add, subtract, multiply or divide it and tried that out. Plugged in the numbers they gave me. Again, many answers seemed pretty obvious. The harder part was many of them required changing from ft to in, or sq yards to cu yards, and keeping that straight took most of my concentration.
I also re-read Building Construction Illustrated and browsed a friend's old 2010 Kaplan 4.0 books, but I don't think anything new I picked up was on this exam. Mostly I took the BlackSpectacles Exams over and over -- even if I only had a few minutes I'd take one, get thru 5 or 10 questions, then end the exam and just look at the way they answered those questions.
11 days to PPD, and then ITS OVER*! :D
(*if I pass it)
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