Finally passed PPD & PDD

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13 comments

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    Scott Barber

    Congrats Ethan! I actually started with these two and thought it worked well, but I can understand where you're coming from, and everyone is different.

    You will find the other 4 exams much smaller, though I'm hesitant to say they're "easier." There's a lot less to study comparatively, and as a result they are easier to prepare for, but for me there was more content that I was less familiar with, so it was still a challenge. I do remember getting through the content for PcM, PjM, and CE (combined) and thinking "is this it?" I was able to read through the relevant sections of the AHPP in less than a month for all three exams, while it took me twice that long to rush through the content for PPD and PDD. So I think that will make it feel easier if nothing else.

    Best of luck moving forward! Getting through the two big ones is a major accomplishment, congrats!

  • Avatar
    Ethan Warren

    Thanks Scott!

    The amount of study material was definitely a lot to get through for these two. Having a wild little boy running around the house and my wife traveling for work, studying that amount was getting difficult. 

    I imagine the next 4 may be more difficult, but as you said it will be easier to prepare.

  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    Wow, I can imagine! I have a great deal of respect for anyone taking these exams with kids. It was a big enough challenge for me without that extra responsibility! 

    To elaborate a little more, I think the level of difficulty for PcM, PjM, and CE depends on your experience in those areas. I had done very little relevant work in those areas when I was studying, aside from a little bit of CE. If you've been exposed to the contracts that alone will be a big help. 

    I took PA after the big two, which worked well - it has some overlap with PPD and for me it was a good transition. I actually enjoyed taking this exam (though I had a hard time knowing what to study), because a lot of it is problem solving and felt like solving a puzzle. Time is a challenge for a lot of people for PA, but I felt comfortable with it. 

    I'm sure you'll be referencing this forum and other people/sources to help you prepare moving forward, but feel free to reach out with any questions that you may have. 

  • Avatar
    Ethan Warren

    I plan to take PA in November and then I will take a few months off before I tackle the other 3. That will give me plenty of time to get comfortable with the material. I'm in the same boat you were, I've only done a little bit dealing with CE and that's it.

    Thanks for your insight!

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    John McLoughlin

    "I took PDD yesterday (Oct. 1) and the new changes were in effect. "

     

    What are the new changes you're referring to?  

     

     

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    Rodolfo Fabre

    Changes are the switch from 2012 IBC to 2015 IBC

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    Ethan Warren

    NCARB sent out an email a couple of weeks ago about it. IBC 2015 and contract references.

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    Sha Liu

    Hi Ethan,

    Thank you for your post. I am going to take PDD on my third try on October 20th. I have the same question regarding to the new changes. Can you be more retailed about the changes ( of course you do not to be specific). Some of the graphics of PDD is very confusing to me,I hope the changes get rid of it. To me PDD is the most hard one. I passed PA and PPD so far and found them quite straightforward. 

  • Avatar
    Ethan Warren

    Hey Sha,

    The only changes that I am aware of are the new code being referenced. But as you know, they give you the necessary code references within the case studies on the exam. 

    I feel like the details were clear on what they were asking. But this test is very mentally draining so you just have to make yourself clearly think about what you're looking at (I had to take my break in the middle of the test to clear my head).

    The biggest change I noticed from the first time I took it to this one was the 5 extra case study questions. Adding 5 case study questions can add some serious time to your overall time. So just be prepared for that.

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    Sha Liu

    Thank you Ethan, that's help. I just felt PDD case study is not straightforward as PPD or PA. There was one egress question, I do not really know what it is asking me and there was one wall detail question, it is just impossible to figure it out based on the drawings ( very bad graphic) the exam provided. I hope they can get rid of those confusing questions.

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    Tasanee Durrett

    Hi Ethan, 

    Thank you for your advice and insight on your experiences! 

    I took PPD on Oct. 1st and failed. However, I know what I need to focus on for the second time around.

    I'm taking PDD in 3 weeks on November 1st. (I'm giving myself about a month to go over the structural aspect of the exam and also brush up on PPD material).

    Would you say that it is critical to dive deep into structural formulas? or to have a good understanding (ie: structures class from college type of knowledge or borderline structural engineer knowledge)? I'm trying to make sure I learn what I need to gain as a designer, but not go down a rabbit hole when it comes to understanding material properties and structural systems.

    Thank you in advance!

  • Avatar
    Ethan Warren

    Hey Tasanee,

    Most people that have taken these tests will tell you not to get too in depth with structural calculations, and I would have to agree. You definitely do not have to be a borderline structural engineer, you just need to understand the concepts of structural systems. Studying your college structures class material may be helpful.

    If you looked through the references when you took PPD you were able to see all of the structural formulas that are given to you by NCARB. I think the same formulas are given for both of these exams. Those formulas will help you solve most of the structural calculations that you get (I may have had 3-4 structural calculations). The only formula I needed to know was the modulus of elasticity formula, for a change in length of a steel member. I knew most of that formula so I guessed on that question.

    Good luck with PDD! These two tests are very difficult and it is very hard to keep your focus on these so don't get down if you don't pass them the first try. 

  • Avatar
    Tasanee Durrett

    Ethan,

    Thank you so much! 

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