Ballast 5.0 material conclusion for PA



  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    Good info Stephen, sorry you weren't able to pass though! I will say, while I agree Ballast alone isn't enough for any of these exams, that it also depends on your personal knowledge and experience you have going into the exam. A good friend of mine passed PPD and PDD and only spent about a weekend studying for each one - but he worked in construction for a number of years and has a lot more experience going in than most people do. 

    I actually relied on Ballast more heavily for PA than I did for any other exam, and felt like it was more useful for me (given my experience at work and school) than the books. Problem Seeking is helpful but was mostly info I already knew, and SPDH seemed too detailed for the exam and I didn't spend as much time studying it. I think both of those books are helpful and worth reading for anyone preparing, but for me personally  I didn't get as much out of those two.

    Best of luck with the exam next time around! Hopefully going through the exam itself and having the score report will help you know what to focus on and study more intensely. You can do it!

  • Avatar
    Stephen Starks


    Thanks for the encouragement! You also have a good point about experience being a key factor.

    Personally, I almost never get into the programming and analysis phase at work (SD and beyond is a different story), so my experience on this test subject was defiantly lacking.

    On a side note: In a way it seems that the two tests on the ARE (with the lowest pass-fail rates) deal with elements of practice that are not typically entrusted to interns. Those being practice management (PM) and programming and analysis (PA).

    Logically, an employer would not put relatively inexperienced staff in positions of firm management or in situations of direct client interaction in regards to programming. Those areas are better served by more seasoned staff.

    That is not to say learning these topics is impossible, but it is more challenging without direct experience.

  • Avatar
    Scott Barber

    That's a good observation, Stephen. That's one of the reasons why I started with PDD and PPD (which is opposite of most people), but I definitely took my experience into consideration when studying. That's why it's hard to give people a list of books (or chapters within those books) to study that will be "everything they need to know." I always try to make it clear in my posts/comments that what I studied won't necessarily be what they need to study, everyone's situation is different.

Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk