Happy to say I was able to knock out both PPD/PDD this past month. I was lucky enough to pass PDD on my first try. PPD was my retake and it was a much more difficult exam to pass. This platform has helped me tremendously in preparing the exams so I want to share a few thoughts in return.
PPD & PDD DIFFERENCE - Initially I thought the two were going to be very similar, but they turned out to be quite different. I’d say PPD is half PA and half PDD. At the end of my PPD studying (after passing PA and PDD already), I was studying everything I’ve learned up to that point. The questions in PDD were actually more difficult and technical, but PPD was much broader and thus harder to retain everything across the content of 3 exams. I do suggest studying and taking them closely together, or at least keep taking them until passing both.
AMBER VIDEOS - After my failed PPD, I decided to try out Amber. After two weeks of watching it I passed PDD, in another 3 weeks I passed PPD. I’m not saying Amber is all it takes to pass the two, but it definitely was the single most impactful material I used. I’d say Amber is slightly more suitable for PPD and covers 60-70% of all PPD/PDD content. The two greatest things about Amber: Everything is in video format, so you can literally be a couch potato and be productive at the same time. I watched them multiple times but in 1.5x speed. The videos also throw questions at you, ask you to pause the videos and think, which is helpful in confirming if you actually understand the content.
DESIGNERHACKS - My favorite practice material. I mostly used them in the 25Q format. I never got 100% on any of them. I didn’t try to memorize the answers but rather to understand every single answer choice. The questions are the most similar to the actual exam, but about ½ to ⅓ the difficulty (yeah you read that right). What I discovered was if I was consistently getting 22-24 out of 25 I would pass the exam.
OTHER MATERIALS - Prior to Amber, I used a bunch of stuff - ballast, jenny’s notes, ASC, BCI x2, AGS, SPDH, pluralsight, hyperfine...just to name a few. I think it’s important to go through them if readily available. Otherwise spending your money on Amber and designerhacks might be more worthwhile. The idea is to not overwhelm yourself with endless amount of resources, and thinking if you don’t study one of them you will fail. You want to have the confidence that if you spend enough time, in depth and focused, on only a few resources you will walk out of the exam with a big smile.
CODES - IBC was heavy in the case study section. Having that experience from my fail in PPD, I focused on getting really proficient at navigating IBC, mainly chapter 3, 5, 6, 7 and 10. The only things I spent time memorizing were the numbers in chapter 10 and the occupancy class in chapter 3. I suggest being comfortable with the idea that you will spend time scrolling through and reading the IBC during the exam. The truth is even if you have memorized all these numbers, you will still scroll through them to double check. The point is you want to have the confidence knowing that once you scroll to it the answer is there for you.
Also, fluid consumption and bladder management is critical. These are long exams so plan your water and coffee accordingly. It was almost tragic on my first PPD exam. Hope you guys pass!
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