Having taken this exam twice ( I accredit my initial fail to being mentally burnt out after 6 months of exams) Ill summarize the most important items. Many of these items are repeated in content in my retake. If you dont pass write down all the topics to study for your retake. The questions may or may not be the same, but few new topics came up in my retake.
The 25 case studies are time consuming and complex for the most part( many layers of thought/analysis). I would recommend focusing on the 95 multiple choice questions to accumulate a majority of your correct answers.
For the exam forget the overly detailed material info. You can get atleast a third of the required points by being sharp and coordinating drawings/details on the exam. There isnt much to study for here unless you're not used to already doing this.
Focus on (no particular order)
- Dealing with thermal topics ( r/u values, insulation, details(ch 7 of BCI ))
- Fireproofing/fire safing/ smoke control (locations? methods? We own this so know it well )
- Dealing with a building/material that expands/contracts(joints? finishes?details?) Not just concrete/masonry but how it affects the interior of the building as well
- Reading drawings to resolve clashes/inconsistencies.Who to coordinate with depends on the changes. Probably nowhere to study this except experience through first-hand real-life headaches.
- Codes related to life safety.
- Changes to drawings during CD's. Also alternates,allowances,unit pricing, ect...
Having taken this exam twice, these are by far the most re-occuring themes. Id say makes up 80% of the exam.
Unpopular opinion time- PDD and PPD have nothing in common. PPD and PA have WAY more in common regarding building systems analysis, foundations, climate, daylighting, ect.... I would not recommend taking PPD and PDD 2 weeks apart.
PDD is by far the hardest exam ( and Ive spent most of my career in CDs) The level of analysis in most questions is very draining. I would recommend taking this exam earlier in the testing order.
Keep your eye on the prize. The process is taxing, but it will make you a better professional
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