I passed this exam a while ago and the forum was really helpful to me. So even though I am a little late to the game here, I wanted to contribute a few words of advice.
I won't sugar coat it. This exam is a beast in terms of content covered, and in my opinion it's the most difficult (I have taken and passed all divisions). I didn't feel like I was going to pass while I was taking the exam, and was actually rather surprised to find out afterwards that I did. I didn't feel like much of what I studied was on the exam, and I also felt like there wasn't enough time provided to complete it because almost every question involved a lot of reading or analysis. I like to read every question twice and check my answer, but I definitely felt pressured for time at the end. In fact, I wasn't able to get through the last few questions so I just selected random answers as the clock was running down.
The best advice I can give is to really make sure you understand CONCEPTS for sustainability and building systems, and do not spend time memorizing facts. You will be shown construction details you have to analyze. You will be asked questions where you have to choose the best structural or mechanical system for the condition described. You will be asked to organize a spatial diagram given specific site criteria. You will be asked to analyze structural diagrams given certain point load conditions. You will be asked to interpolate graphs and information given to determine things like cost analysis, R- values, light spacing requirements or fixture counts. It's very difficult to know what to study for this exam, and much of my success had everything to do with my ability to read each question thoroughly, stick to my testing strategy, and pull from my 8 years of professional experience.
My recommended study approach is to read Building Construction Illustrated and Architect's Studio Companion, read the NCARB handbook and example questions, and take as many practice tests as you can. If you aren't familiar with the building code, take some time to go over chapters 3, 5 and 10.
Most importantly-- budget your time during the test. Try to answer about 33 questions per hour, and leave yourself at least 1.5 hours for the case studies. Remember that every question is worth 1 point, so don't spend too much time on a question that you really don't know how to answer. I personally guessed on any structural calculation that I saw, and that allowed me more time to focus on the questions that I actually had a shot at answering correctly. This exam is pretty mentally taxing, so remember to take your 15 minute break whenever you are starting to lose steam whether that occurs in the middle of the multiple choice section or right before starting the case studies.
PPD is certainly difficult, but it's very possible to pass if you just stay focused during the exam. Good Luck!
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