Hello and congratulations to the people who already passed PPD and or maybe even PDD!
I am one of those people who passed the other four and left PPD and PDD to the last. I will take them both in March, three weeks apart, beginning with PPD. My exam strategy always includes a very careful analysis (decoding) of the Handbook which has worked well so far. I believe NCARB both in exam questions and in Handbook selects every word carefully. However with PPD exam I am not sure if I am understanding Handbook correctly so I wanted to break down it here and ask you guys who already passed this exam to help me understand it correctly. Thanks in advance.
- Environmental Conditions & Context (10-16% - Approx. 15Q)
What to study: Sun, Wind, Light, Architectural Graphic Standards and Site Planning Design Handbook: Building orientation strategies per climate, elevation, views, winds etc.
Typical Questions: A site analysis scenario with a specific climate, storm run-off strategies or a design solution need for an existing problematic site and/or building. Mostly analyzing of given situation type of questions.
- Codes & Regulations (16-22% - Approx. 23Q)
What to study: General knowledge of Codes. IBC 2015 and B. Codes Illustrated must be reviewed well.
Typical Questions: FAR, set-backs, building massing type of math questions and interpretation .
- Building Systems, Materials, & Assemblies (19-25% - Approx. 26Q)
What to study: The Architect's Studio Companion, Architectural Graphic Standards, FEMA chapters. Know how to determine mechanical, structural, plumbing, etc systems. This is the scariest part for me because I don't have experience in structural elements like steel and wood or complex mechanical systems. Besides I am not sure what kind of structural calculations should I expect?
Typical Questions: As far as I understand, we are expected to know to specify the proper mechanical system for specific scenarios. Structural load calculations, wall types, acoustical properties of different wall types, fire separation requirements etc are also likely to be asked. Expect scenarios giving specific situations that expects to asses the options - couple of them might be relevant - and find the most relevant/ appropriate system for the scenario.
- Project Integration of Program & Systems (32-38% - Approx. 43Q)
What to study: Site Planning and Design Handbook, Sun, Wind, Light, Plumbing, Electricity, Acoustics: Sustainable Design Methods for Architecture.
Typical Questions: I believe this part has the most overlap with PA. Therefore most of the questions will expect you to asses site conditions, building and site's relationship. Questions are more likely to be time consuming due to amount of given information. Considered that this is the largest section of the exam I am hopeful that it will raise my chance to pass the test cause I already passed PA. Or not..?
- Project Costs & Budgeting (8-14% - Approx. 13Q)
What to study/Typical Questions: General knowledge of architecture and simple math calculations.
Any comment/addition or correction to my decoding above is appreciated. Please let me and others know what you think.
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