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    Scott Barber

    Hi Danielle, I don't think it makes a big difference which you take first. If you've already taken PA, then PPD would probably make sense to go first but it's not a significant benefit one way or the other.

    You've probably seen this already, but a lot of people (including myself) suggest studying for them together and taking them close to each other. I studied for them at the same time for about 2 months averaging 1-2 hours a day, and passed them 2 weeks apart. The specific timeline will vary depending on your existing knowledge and experience for this content, and how easily you read and retain the info. 

    There's a lot of overlap between these two exams which is why people study for them together, but not everyone goes that route if that seems too intimidating. There's no universal answer for everyone of course, so don't feel pressured to do more than you're comfortable with.
    If you decide to take them one at a time, I feel like 6 weeks could be a good timeline for each one (or maybe 6 for the first exam and 4 for the second), for an average reader to get through all the content and be adequately prepared.

    Hope that helps, good luck!

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    Danielle Sturman

    That's extremely helpful thank you! Although unfortunately I have not passed PA and will have to wait to retake it in April, I have been studying for it so PPD first probably does make sense for me. I was initially thinking more like 13 weeks and 7 weeks, mainly because of the holidays I know those 13 weeks will not all be 100% focused. I think because I had so much trouble with PA I am hesitant to rush myself. I did transition and have CDS and PPP under my belt but I have not been able to conquer a 5.0 exam yet which is affecting my ability to schedule an exam 6 weeks out confidently. 

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    Danielle Sturman

    I will also add that I work on the design end at my firm, so I have been pretty removed from a lot of the topics on these two exams for the past couple years. 

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    Scott Barber (Edited )

    I think that sounds like a good plan! I didn't really factor in the holidays in my comment, so I think that's definitely good to keep that in mind. 

    For me, PA was the hardest to prepare for, compared to the others. And it's definitely the most challenging in regards to time, I didn't run out of time but a lot of people do (I went as quickly as I could after hearing others talk about it). I think your studying for PPD will help you for PA next time around, too. 
    If you've been working in an office and have worked on projects during DDs and CDs, I think PPD and PDD will seem more familiar. I had only been working full time for about 8 months when I took those two, and my "real life" experience helped out with the exam on several questions. These two exams are definitely very broad, but there are good suggestions all over this forum to help you know what to study. I'm sure you have (or will) do some research, but the top 3 books for PPD are probably The Architect's Studio Companion (ASC), Building Construction Illustrated, and Architectural Graphics Standards. ASC was fantastic - the perfect amount of detail for this exam. 

    Edit: just saw your latest comment. I know I mentioned that my work experience helped for these exams, but I don't think you're at a heavy disadvantage or anything that you've been on the design side of things. If you have a decent understanding of how a building goes together and can visualize or understand the concepts as you're studying, that will go a long way. Any work experience will help, but it's not a necessity by any means.

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    Danielle Sturman

    Scott, all of that makes me feel a lot better! I actually just failed PA this morning and I am very curious to see my score report because I felt really confident during the exam. I am hoping that studying for these two exams gives me the edge I need to pass PA in the spring. 

    I started working on CDs right out of school but after a year I was moved over to design (which I do prefer) so I have a little work experience in CDs but will have to take all of that into account when studying. I have already got my hands on those three resources, I think I'll plan on starting with the plural site videos and moving on to those books as well as other primary resources. I think I have pretty much given up on using third party resources other than for practice exams.


    thank you again for your comments!

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