I took PPD this morning and failed. The exam was way different than what I expected. I don't think the Handbook reflected this exam accurately which threw me off because Handbook has been the foundation of my exam strategy so far. For PA, PcM, PjM I have always read very carefully what Handbook asks me to study and it worked perfectly, but not for PPD. The example questions per each section on Handbook is way too easy for the actual test. Don't adjust your expectations per Handbook. I studied and reviewed most of the recommended books on there: ASC, Building Code/Const Illustrated, Olin's etc..read FEMA chapters, reviewed MEEB and AGS spent around 200 hours and two months on studying. I listened Black spectacles videos and Amber videos too.
- Requires memorization of direct knowledge such as occupancy type, construction classification (as per IBC) and ADA. I am literally planning to memorize related IBC sections for next try because exam expects you to know if a given building is an A-4 or A-5 occupancy without giving you access to IBC. Which was weird and unexpected of NCARB.
- I have read here a lot of people saying how PA and PPD has overlaps but I didn't feel the same way. I passed PA in December and I feel very confident about site/climate related issues but didn't get too many questions from there. The climate related questions were more related to building system details.
- After reading ASC three times cover to cover, I was feeling very confident about which mechanical/structural system works better for a given function or building type of questions (Handbook has examples of it too), I still do, but I didn't get too many of those either. In fact none of the mechanical. Instead related questions were more about details in smaller scales.
- Had a lot of questions about photo voltaic panels,geothermal systems, elevator types, different wall/ceiling finish materials per different client use/needs etc... Except elevators I was def under prepared for all this questions because I was thinking those are very detailed for PPD
- Different wall, floor, ceiling finish types and their installation methods - Got 5-6 questions in this area. You have to know all those different type of finishes and their application details and their advantages disadvantages over each other again felt rather a PDD scale question.
- And the weirdest thing for me was the amount of question I got from CDS (I guess equal to CE in 5.0) related questions. I believe I did them correctly but it has been a while since I took CDS so definitely caught me off-guard.
-I love math questions in general cause, they are my guaranteed correct answers however the ones on PPD were unnecessarily time consuming -especially cost/budget ones- which didn't left time to go back and check again. The numbers were too long so you can easily make mistake. And they are all fill in the blank type of question so there is no way of guessing. If you typed one number wrong in one of the four 6 digit budget items (each) it is gone.
- In general PPD had the shortest questions. Some of them were 4-5 words, directly measures if you know something or not. No deduction or reasoning. Answers, one word.
I have PDD scheduled in 2 weeks based on what everybody recommend here I studied 2 months for both but mostly focused on PPD and scheduled them 2 weeks apart. But my foundation - the Handbook - is gone now, I don't know what to trust now? What to base my strategy on? I am still planning to take PDD, will focus on details on AGS & MEEB (I reviewed both roughly), will look into my CDS notes, try to read as much as I can from IBC CH 3-5,6,7-9 & 10 and give it a shot. I am so discouraged though, especially after reading and studying a lot and finding out that I wasn't prepared enough.
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