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6 comments

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    Scott Barber

    I tried AEP for PPD and PDD and didn't like it at all. I heard others say good things about it when using it for other exams but I didn't use it again after those two. 

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    Jacob McKinney

    I purchased the AEP material for PDD, but haven't taken the exam yet.  The study material feels too general so I'm not sure if I'm well prepared or if I should take a look at some of the other material that's out there. Thanks for the feedback!

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    David Kaplan

    I purchased it for 4.0 exams - loved them.  They were awesome.  When I transitioned to 5.0, I gave it a shot for the PA exam.  Terrible.  Way too broad.  They were clearly just a reorganization of their 4.0 stuff.  Found the ARE Handbook resources (and this forum) to be MUCH more helpful.

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    Scott Barber

    David beat me to the follow-up comment (as he often does, haha), but I would absolutely agree that for PPD and PDD it won't be enough. I spent too much time studying AEP for those two and should have focused on the "primary sources" listed in the ARE Handbook and discussed throughout this forum.

    Building Construction Illustrated, Architectural Graphics Standards, and The Architect's Studio Companion were the top 3 books for those two exams. There are a lot of good exam recaps people have written for each exam, I'd look through the forum and read those. David wrote a good one I referenced, among a number of others. My recap for PDD was a little more broad since it was my first exam and I wrote about the overall experience more, but I did discuss what I studied here.

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    James Mackey

    Their value lies in the audio guides and practice exam questions. That said, only their Gen 2 products contain images, schedules, charts, or graphics which make up a large portion of the ARE. I think that taking their practice exams has helped me effectively manage time during the actual exam. It's been helpful to remember terms, especially on PcM and PjM. I don't see myself purchasing the CE content, but I will be listening to the audio guide on A-201 that I got through the PjM purchase. 

    I'll agree with other posters that their PDD content seemed off. It was heavily focused on seismic forces and their affects. I'm not sure how useful it was in the end, it was actually discouraging taking the practice exams and getting low scores because their practice exam content was so focused on obscure abbreviations and seismic forces. There weren't a lot of conversions between insulation values, shear/moment diagrams, water proofing, or vapor barrier questions. I think their content is really close to being excellent and hopefully their Gen2 products get them closer.

    Whatever third party can replicate drag and drop, click an area, and other graphic questions first would  bet the best product offering out there. I love the Black Spectacles video breakdowns for that reason. It sucks because they take 75 minutes to go over ~5 questions, but by drawing the answer out it gets close to the thinking you need to employ on the exam, in addition to the graphic nature of the exams themselves.

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    Christopher Kiefer

    For the PDD exam, I got Architect Exam Prep's "Enchilada" package, and spent a few weekends with the online exam simulator. My favorite parts of the package were the mp3 files and the OMECS (aka Online Multiple Choice Exam Simulator). The mp3s allowed me study informally nearly at all waking hours--such as when walking my dog, putting my child to bed or while I was at work. Studying informally like that was a major advantage! That feature alone probably doubled my time spent studying.

    The OMECS is also a nice study tool. Those questions are challenging. They are somehow different than the standard Ballast/Kaplan questions. For me, those made Architect Exam Prep worth it--in addition to my other study materials.

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