Just took and PASSED 5.0 PDD.
Here is a list of the materials I used to study, what I thought was important and relevant, and some tips:
-Architect Exam Prep: Great for general overview of all topics; generally skims the surface of everything on the exam. If there were topics I wasn't super confident on I referenced other materials.
-ARE5 Ballast Review Manual: Super dense, but good content. Personally, I felt like it was WAY over the top on formulas and math. The exams aren's so much about memorizing formulas, but more so about knowing how to get to the answer. Example: Ballast asks you to calculate the size of a beam using extensive formulas - for the exam you need to know generally how far a specific material can span to determine the proper material and system.
-ARE5 Ballast Practice Problems & Practice Exam: Good for quizzing and practicing (duh).
-Ching Building Construction Illustrated: This was the most directly related study material. A lot of this exam is reading and evaluating wall sections, and Ching does a great job breaking down wall assemblies for all materials. Also, Ching does into a lot more detail on material properties which I found useful during the exam. I read the majority of this book but at a minimum skimmed the entire book.
-The Architect's Studio Companion: If you have studied for PPD, a lot of the material to study is the same from this book, but I re-read it anyway (I had a large gap in-between taking those two exams). The most important thing to study from this book is occupancy classifications and building type. Where on PPD and PA you might be given a chart to assist in occupancy classification, you're on your own for this exam. Same goes for building type.
-Designer Hacks: They do a great job on this site of phrasing questions similar to how they are on the exam. Lots of content on the quizzes too. I did the 10 and 25 question quizzes probably 20 times each and got new questions every time. When I started to get repeats I took the times 120 question test and made me feel confident. (They even have a disclaimer that if you pass their times test and don't pass the exam they will refund you).
Overall, this exam was daunting and long and mean, BUT it is also a very mental exam. Just try to remember that common sense will get you really far.
Please sign in to leave a comment.