Just Failed PDD & PPD - Online Courses?

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    Scott Barber

    Sorry to hear that, WD. These two exams are definitely challenging, and having a good plan of attack for the exams themselves is also very important. I wrote a post for each exam after I passed them, but here are a couple thoughts:

    - When I took the exams, I completely skipped the math questions and did them all at once (kept track of them on my scratch paper). That helped me focus on math problems all together; I'm pretty comfortable with those questions but it helped me prioritize my efforts.

    - I went through the non-case study questions pretty quickly one time through, flagging any question I wasn't sure about. If I got stuck on a problem for more than a minute or two, I would flag it and move on, leaving it blank. Getting stuck on a problem or two can eat up time and mess up your rhythm of the exam, and there's probably always going to be one or two questions you have no idea on. However, with 120 questions I felt comfortable giving a wild guess on those minimal questions I came across.

    - The case studies take up a lot of time. I'd limit yourself in regards to time for each case study (maybe 45 minutes to 1 hour each? up to you) and, again, try not to get stuck on any particular question. I don't think there's an easy way to study for the case studies, aside from working in a firm and getting used to flipping through drawing sets and knowing where to find what you're looking for. Everyone has a different approach, but when I did the case studies I would read the overview and understand what resources were provided, and then I would answer each question at a time. 

    - Not sure what you studied the first time around, that might help us give you more guidance for what to study for round two. For online courses, here's what I've heard:
    Hyperfine is new and inexpensive, seems like a good resource to help you study. I've heard a number of good things but I'm not experienced with it. 
    Thaddeus is a fantastic teacher/professor/person (I had the privilege of having him for a few classes in grad school), but his structures courses are geared towards 4.0 exams and waaay too detailed for 5.0 (that's true for any structures source out there, I'd say).
    Young Architect is one I've heard a lot of people talk about, seems like a good way to have some accountability and encouragement along the way, and help you know what to study. I didn't use it but it seems pretty popular. I'm in a Facebook group (organized by the YA guy) so a lot of people on there have gone through the bootcamp.
    I haven't heard of any private tutoring that's worthwhile. Seems like you can get all the same advice and encouragement on this forum and the Facebook group I mentioned above, I used both these communities heavily while taking the exams and they were a big help. 
    Amber Book is one I've heard a lot of people talk about and it seems to be popular, but was way too expensive for me. You can get a discount signing up with other people, but I just couldn't afford it. 

    Hope that helps a bit. Keep at it and stay motivated for these exams! It's a lot of work and we all have experienced the sacrifice of studying for them, but it's worthwhile and will help us become better architects in the future. Good luck!

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    WD (Edited )

    Thanks for the quick response and yes it does help!

    I used the following:

    Designer hacks
    Ballast text and pratice exams
    Black Spectacles videos and pratice exams
    BC Illustrated
    Skimmed the IBC
    ASC
    FEMA ch 5
    Skimmed Fundamentals of BC

    I'm planning on adding simplified engineering for architects, applying the building code, and perhaps a site planning and sustainability book, and any other suggestions you might have I will consider.

    I have been looking for a list of math problems, has anyone found one? I found one for site/slopes which is great.

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