black spectacles (or other) for PDD?

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    Jonathan Chertok

    i should add i need specific and factually precise material. i don't want to deal with imprecise or vague material. 

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    Rodolfo Fabre

    Just passed PPD and moving on to PDD today, so I don't have direct experience with Black Spectacles for PDD.

    For PPD, though, I found their video series helped me with keeping an eye on the 'big picture' on how all of this material will be approached through the exam questions. I still read Building Construction Illustrated, Studio Companion, IBC Code book, MEEB (perused MEEB, I should say) etc., but the videos were more supplemental in that regard than informational. I found that to be extremely helpful and felt more confident going into the second attempt at PPD (failed the first try).

    That being said, the Black Spectacles mock exams were more important in my prep than the videos. They are graphically formatted similarly to the actual exam, which was helpful for me to become more accustomed to the new format coming from 4.0. The best way to study I have found is to take mock exams repeatedly to get used to extracting all this information from your brain, if that make sense.

    Just fyi - I studied for about 6-7 weeks. I did not make it through all the videos. Read the bulk of BCI and Studio Companion, got very familiar with the IBC relevant chapters and tables and used ARE Prep flash cards. 

    My strategy for PDD will be to use Black Spectacles videos and mock exams, as well as the materials from the NCARB list as much as possible, some of which overlap with PPD. I plan on taking this exam 2 weeks from now as people recommend, so we'll see!

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    Katherine Loecken

    In my opinion, black spectacles videos is a great into and overview to the material you should be studying. It is conceptual, not detailed. 

    I highly recommend their practice exams. More detailed than the videos, and very well designed and formatted to be super similar to the actual exam. Of course the exam questions are much harder than the practice exams, but they are a good tool. 

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    Kay Galligan

    I agree with Katherine.  With English as a truly second language for me, the videos of Black Spectacles helped a lot. It prepares me to tackle the questions in the way that NCARB wanted me to answer.  I also thought the videos made me a better architect too.  I finished my last exam (PDD) 1 1/2 weeks ago, and it's still very surreal that the long study-oriented life suddenly ended.  But for both PPD and PDD, I really watched the videos carefully.  The video sound and the facial expression helped kept going because I was getting burnt out with the traditional book-reading method.  Although the real exam questions are a lot longer and more complicated, I just kept using the practice exams and read all of the answer explanations which offered further knowledge.  Personally, Black Spectacles was my favorite study material.

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