And I am finally done with the exams after over 10yrs of stops and starts. Posting my study process after lurking in this discussion board for so long and benefitting from other people's experiences. Hopefully someone else will benefit. I did the 4.0/5.0 transition. First comment is 5.0 is much much better than 4.0.
I scheduled PDD two weeks after taking and passing PPD (Second try for PPD), on faith from what others recommended. Two weeks is not a long time and I crammed and still felt like I could study weeks more. I think there's diminishing returns at some point, which is why this strategy seems to work.
I recommend this scheduling. 2 or 3 weeks max, depending on how much was studied for PPD.
In hindsight, I can't discuss my study process for PDD without including PPD study. They overlap so much that PPD studies were integral to my passing PDD.
For PPD ( for the 2nd time), I used Black Spectacles PPD videos and mock exams, Arch Exam Prep study guide, read Building Construction Illustrated, concentrating on front half, and Architect's Studio. I also got to know my way around the IBC, concentrating on remembering which chapters contained key tables. No memorization, just how to navigate the relevant chapters.
Took about 5 weeks. Black Spectacles videos seemed to keep my mind on the bigger picture of how all this material inter-relates, which is key to understanding how questions are posed. The combination of repetition of the material I read with the verbal explanation helped coalesce it all in my mind. The mock exams, which are graphically and functionally close to the real exam were essential also. I took two of those in that time. One at the beginning to see where I stood and another towards the end. Really, any way you can take mock exams (doesn't have to be Black Spectacles), the simple act of extracting the materials from your head to an answer is the best preparation of them all.
For PDD, I tried to watch as many of the Black Spectacles videos as I was able, concentrated on the rest of Building Construction Illustrated, and refreshed the code book, concentrating on anything relating to fire and egress. I have extensive experience by now of CDs and such, so I didn't cover that very much, but if you don't, get someone to help you. Understanding how to navigate a set of drawings and where to find information is important. BCI helps if you don't have much experience in working on wall assemblies and detailing, also key to this exam.
I watched a couple of Dilip Khatri's videos for structural review, but nothing beyond that. Between Khatri, BCI and Black Spectacles, I was able to understand structural CONCEPTS. No need to retake Structures class. That is really all you need, in my opinion.
As I took the exam, I felt that I covered most of what I needed to, which is a rare feeling, but probably because of the PPD/PDD overlap.
In both exams, REVIEW YOUR REFERENCE MATERIALS. I had 2 or 3 straight up structural calculations that I was able to cut a tone of time on by finding the formulas in the given reference materials. In PPD, there were lighting and acoustical questions that were similarly assisted by the reference materials.
If anyone is a poster child for 'it's never too late', that would be me. I go back to having taken ARE 3.0 exams! Life and career took some twists and turns, but I persevered. Good luck to you all!!
Please sign in to leave a comment.