PPD-Fail Twice



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    Elif Bayram

    Hi Jodi,

    I am really sorry to hear this. I am planning to take PPD and PDD in a month or so and it seems very hard to study because they both  are so broad. I don't like to give advice on the exams that I haven't passed yet but based on my ARE 5.0 experience so far, I want to say that instead of third party materials, studying on references of NCARB  helped me a lot to pass the other four exams. I don't know how many exams you have passed and how did you study for those but I think 3rd party materials don't get 5.0 exams well enough. I have designer hacks and arch exam prep too but they were not even remotely good sources for the exams that I passed. Same goes for Ballast and Kaplan materials too. I don't know Amber book or Black Spectacles but I read more people failing just studying with those than passing here in this forum. I hope not to get discouraged if I fail from PPD or PDD so I wish the same for you too.

    Hope you pass next time, good luck!

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    Scott Barber

    Hi Jodi, so sorry to hear about your second fail. I know it's hard, but hopefully the score report will give you an idea of what to focus on. 

    I will say that it looks like you've focused on third party resources (AEP, Ballast, Amberbook). I used AEP and Ballast on this exam, and thought AEP was pretty pointless and Ballast only scratched the surface. No experience with Amber, but I focused on the primary sources and that seemed to work well. Building Construction Illustrated is a start, but The Architects Studio Companion is probably the most important book. MEEB can also be good for diagrams, and Architectural Graphics Standards is also helpful (though it's more aligned with PDD). 

    Good luck, you can do it!! Not sure if you've taken other exams or not. It may be worth studying for PDD and then coming back to PPD (they have a lot of overlap). 

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    Jodi Zoerb

    What's funny is I am looking through my old notes from Building Construction Illustrated and Architect's studio companion and I understand it all.  I just don't know how to apply it in any of the context of this exam.  In 4.0, you could understand what section of the exam they were searching for.  In this one?  I have absolutely no clue.  There is one question that always pops up that I never know how to to answer.  Every forum on here reveals a half truth about how to approach the question.  Of course I can't ask specifics even though that would actually help me understand.  These questions might as well be in Greek for me.

    I thought the Amber book was really helpful, but I just need practice on how these questions are.  The questions are what confuse me the most.

    As for my score, the first time I took it I got: Level 3s on all except content area 4 which I got a 2.  The second time, I got a mixture of 3s and 4s, but a 2 in Content Area 3.

    PDD is in a month for me because I've been told to 'not lose momentum'.  This will be the 3rd time and I am losing steam.

    I ordered MEEB.

    At my last time where I tested better, I did use Architect Exam Prep and I supplemented it with Building Construction Illustrated and Architect Studio Handbook.

    I have no idea how I've gotten so off base.


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    Megan McVey

    Hey Jodi

    I just failed PPD for a 2nd time too..you aren't alone..and I'm doing the same thing you are - except didn't order a MEEB book as I already had one..but I did order the Architect's Studio Companion..I have PDD next month - its a retake as well..I understand losing steam..I am really tired of giving up my free time for over a year now to finish these test. I was thinking to add AEP for these last two but reviews from others have been pretty negative..I did black spectacles the first time (along w/ NCARB recommended reading) and the second time Amber..I like to think that I am close..and your score sounds like you are as well..don't give up..

    I also tried writing on my test paper (as a reminder) for PPD - broad strokes...design development and PDD - finer details..construction documents..

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    Jodi Zoerb

    I think Architect Exam Prep did a really great job at their 4.0 versions.  As soon as I got their study guide, I started passing.  

    I felt like the AEP for 5.0 completely dropped the ball.  I scored 'close' but I was very much out of my element.

    Then I decided to take a breather and get back into it with Amber Book.  Honestly, it's very good/great with the lectures.  Better than Black Spectacles for sure.

    What is missing though is the new testing and how they do it.  Black Spectacles has 4 practices exams and flashcards.  I felt the questions were similar to how they word their questions on the test.  That is where I get hung up on.  I freeze with these questions!  I hate them.  They are even worse than 4.0 by a long shot.

    I am spending a lot of cash these days on these exams.  I hope I pass ASAP before my credit card melts hahaha.




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    Cassidy Sanderson

    If you are still struggling I would recommend Young Architect Bootcamp. Honestly best decision and money spent! I was guided and informed on what i was missing. Michael does an amazing job and gives you so much study materials.

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