Failed PPD for the 4th time.

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    Liliana X. Lais Nuh

    Hi Darryl,

    I am as frustrated as you are. I am on the same situation, I have been working full time in architecture since 2002 and have a lot of experience, however somehow I cannot pass PPD and PDD.
    These exams are different because they are related to engineering. Why do we even have to be tested on it, I don’t really agree with it. In real life we have engineers to back us up and to sign and seal their drawings! Why are we getting tested on their discipline? It sounds more like a way for NCARB to make extra profit on the exams and make our lives incredibly difficult.
    I would also love to sit with NCARB and go over the questions with them. I am attempting for the third time to pass these exams and to be honest the level of their questions and the books they required us to read we might as well go back to school and study engineering and we would take less time. We are architects, not engineers, in an office setting we would never work on a project without an engineer side by side. Not even in architecture school did we learn all what NCARB is asking us to study. There has to be some change and to be honest with you, I feel that the exams that I already passed were enough to prove my knowledge in architecture. I would like to start a petition to remove building system and Structures from the NCARB exams.

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    Tatamin

    Hey. I also failed PPD for the 4th time about 2 weeks ago, so please don't be so discouraged. I will be taking PDD for the 1st time soon. 

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    Joseph Petrarca

    Darryl

    Man, it's so frustrating.  And expensive!  Yes, sitting down with NCARB would be extremely helpful...and completely unrealistic.  As we know...NCARB does not care about your concerns.  The current (2018) pass rate for PPD is 46%!  Forty six percent!  And they think that's fine.  When people are studying for three months, for ONE DIVISION, they are fine with only forty-six percent of candidates passing?  I'm sure they see it as "the more fails we can generate, the more fees we can generate".  That's just wrong.  No other profession would tolerate that.

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    Robin Owens

    Hello All,

    I am so glad that I read this one post out of the 100's that I receive. I went through the same thing this time last year with PPD and PDD being my last 2 tests to pass....and I failed them both. I too, have 20 years of experience in Design and Construction. Further, because I switched from 4.0 to 5.0, not passing these 2 exams wiped out all of my 'Passed' exams - Now I am essentially forced to start all over again. NCARB definitely has some things to improve - if we are being asked to bear with them while they work out the 5.0 glitches, they reciprocally should bear with us in understanding that an exam pass is more than a percentage - its years of experience, tons of money, and emotional dedication spent by the candidates. 

    If anyone is interested in connecting further to discuss, feel free to email me - rcoarch@yahoo.com.

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    Derek Mason

    Robin,

    I hate to say it, but I am glad I am not alone in this crappy boat we call the ARE v5.0. 

    I have about 20 years of experience too, but off and on due to the economy and moving. I started to take the exams only recently and have felt that I shold have done this years ago and also that I should be able to easily pass them. I have failed PA about 4 times and will take it again in Oct. I am up for my 3rd time for the PPD. When I took the PDD for the first time several months ago I got a level 2 on everything but one division, where I got a level 3. I felt that if I had gotten a handful of questions correct I would have squeaked by. 

    It would be nice to understand more of where we go wrong. 

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    Natalia Cebollero Venegas

    Hey all,

     

    Wow, My best friend and I both started ARE 4.0 5 years ago, we both transitioned into 5.0 and have been trying to pass PPD and PDD for 2 years!!! Its insane! We both have close to 10 years of experience and somehow can't seem to pass these.

    Ive been told we might be looking at it from the "real world application" point of view rather than just the NCARB way. It is frustrating as hell. I have to pass them all by Feb of 2020 or I will loose all of my ARE passed exams. This sucks.

    It is unfortunate to say that if I can't pass these exams by then and I loose my previous exams I will probably not pursue my license anymore and NCARB will loose the possibility of charging me the NCARB fee for the rest of my life. NCARB!! DONT MISS OUT ON CHARGING ME FOREVER, GIVE ME A PASS ALREADY! I really think I am qualified to pass these exams. I just don't understand why I can't seem to actually PASS.

     I really hope we all get to pass this. We all deserve this Im sure.

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    Darryl Jackson

    Afternoon All,

    I know I shouldn't make light of this topic but the only solace I take from reading your responses is that I no longer feel like I'm alone on the Island of Experienced Idiots. 

    My rolling clock dies this year at the end of October so I've scheduled PPD and PDD back to back for the week before the clock dies.  I can't afford to continue to fail and retake these same two exams.  Much of my life...personal and professional...has been put on hold while I try to pass these two exams and it's gotta stop, one way or the other.

    As I stated in my original post, I have read every book, pulled on every in-house and online resource I could afford to and/or had access to but these two exams simply have my number.

    I'm not ready to fully buy into the idea that NCARB is happy about the low passing rate or the profit made solely from candidates taking exams multiple times.  Although, It is hard to believe, they are losing sleep over it...

    I don't believe the questions in the multiple choice nor the scenarios are incredibly hard.  I believe we don't need both and the time it takes to complete them are unrealistic.  If one of the goals of 5.0 was to better align the exams with a candidates real-work experience than I challenge NCARB to show me a firm or client that demands answers to structural questions in 1min or less...and dont get me started on the time it takes to read the program requirements, familiarize yourself with the code sections and plans, manipulate the PDF's horrendous zoom functions AND THEN answer questions...

    I believe the better approach is all multiple choice OR  just the two scenarios.  The scenarios are the closest to reality so just have us tested on those.   4.5-5hrs is plenty of time to walk through the scenarios in a realistic way.....was this NEVER an option?!

     

    I have no idea if Im gonna pass this time but the last bit I want to leave NCARB with is this....I've been working my a$$ off since 1998 and I believe I am great at my job and I have the performance reviews, client comments and design awards to provide it.  By not passing these exams and thus not having my license, my current firm and any firm I may work for in the future will affectingly be able to slow my advancement to a crawl all because they can say..."We have this policy that states in order to get to Level 'X' you gotta have your license." 

     

    It doesn't have to be this hard, especially for those of us who have been grinding it out for years and years. We know what we are doing and we are not Experienced Idiots. The system is broken if so many of us cannot pass these two exams and if you asked us...perhaps we may have a better way of fixing it so that the exams are actually aligned with our real-work experience.                  

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    Ted Young

    I couldn't agree more Darryl. There is no client who demands structural questions in 1 minute - I agree. I want to know why NCARB requires this to be crucial in exam passing and licensure. Usually a client wont even ask if you can do a beam calc on the spot, you would tell them,  "I will have to get back to you on this, via email," or something along those lines. 

    Also, what client demands a project feasibility be done in 10 minutes? Its just not realistic. I think sure, you can find the basics in a few minutes, but grinding out all the case studies in 2-5 minutes or less, in a tight, crowded test center computer room, I dont think is right. 

    I want to know what NCARB is going to do to start thinking about how to make these exams, more real world experience, because 1 min per question is just ridiculous on some of those questions. 

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    Ted Young

    I think we should have at least 24 hours to take the exam. What is the hurry anyway? Projects can take weeks/months/years to finish, so why do they cram these exams in like 4 hrs on us? WE tell the client how long it will take, not the other way around. So if NCARB is trying to get us to take exams fast and get things done fast, that is their status quo, not ours. Maybe I want to spend the weekend working out a feasibility study for a 2 story gym. Why and who says I need to know it all in 2 hours???? Makes no sense to me ! 

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    Robin Owens

    Darryl,

    Thank you for telling your story in a such a clear and concise way - your story, all the way through matches mine. And, I went through the same feat last October with these 2 exams, and the rolling clock - and unfortunately I didn't make it across the finish line, but was so teasingly close. A complete emotional battle - professionally and personally. My career has definitely taken a hit, as I'm faced with on going questions - Are you licensed? Why haven't you gotten licensed? When will you get licensed? Trying to find an answer that people understand is challenging, especially when there are NCARB statistics that boast on how successful the program is, and how many people are getting their license. I guess we the Experienced Idiots need an exam just for us, and since we have some unexplained deficiency, perhaps we should be scored differently as well. As architects, our creative ways of thinking are not from a cookie-cutter, and do not fit within the false sense of reality that the ARE forces us to conform to (echoing Ted Young's description above of unrealistic question timing). 

    I have to say in the grand scheme of it, one thing NCARB has gotten right is this forum - it is helpful to connect with others who are going through similar challenges. Thank you all for sharing! 

    I look forward to carrying on the support, for continuing our journey one way or another.

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    Melody McKool

    Brandon can I get your email?

     

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    Brandon Estes (Edited )

    Hey Melody,

    I am happy to exchange emails.  I don't want to leave my email posted for a long period of time, so email me asap so I can then delete the post.  I am actually taking a PDD exam today around noon which I don't really care about because I don't expect to pass.  With each additional fail on PPD/PDD I care less and less about an additional piece of paper.  I applied for a construction admin position which pays equal what a licensed architect position pays where I work.  There are 3 openings.  If I land one I am no longer pursuing this license.  

    **Update:  Melody, if you want post your email up here I will email you.  I have edited my post and removed mine.  I failed PDD for the second time today which is no surprise.  I have my third retake of PPD in 10 days.  Frankly, I don't expect to pass that either.  I am able to confirm that I don't care.  I also noticed that I do OK until the case studies...something about navigating through a set or poorly drawn construction documents within a 10"x10" window on a glitchy computer is futile.  That is when I realized that I need to move on.  While taking the exam, my time was running short and it was either 1) just toss in some answers or 2) run out of time.  

    Some of the details on the exam that we are supposed to analyze are about 1.75" inches square with bad graphics.  I am not sure how people do it.  Never, while analyzing a set of drawings, have I been expected to do it within a 10"x10" window with *&%^y graphics under a time clock.  I stand by my words: as NCRAB makes becoming licensed more and more difficult, the license is becoming worth less and less, not more and more.  Being an architect was once a solid middle-to-upper-middle class profession.  You can't change it into something like medicine or an academic research endeavor (PhD), or make it more "prestigious" by making it more difficult to call yourself an architect.  It's like the architectural institution, which is being destroyed from within, is holding on to the last thread of its own existence by creating the appearance that it's above all else, above reproach, above criticism...but eventually the balloon will burst, there will a faint "pop" so far in the distance that nobody will notice and the helium will disperse into the ozone.

    But more seriously, do you know that in order to be on the NCRAB Board you must have already had an appointment to a state architect board?  Think about that.  Who, among the newer generations, has held a seat on a state architect board?  Who even cares to do so?  And to be on NCRAB's board, you do not need to have a degree in architecture, nor do you need to pass the current ARE.  There are more licensed architects and building officials in California retiring than there are people to replace them.  Where are people going to make the time to become licensed AND sit on the architects board, earn a living, AND sit on NCRAB's board?  I digress.  Have a great weekend everybody!

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