As others have mentioned, I wanted to contribute to the community with what worked for me to pass this exam. I studied about 2.5 months. Typically 2 hours in the mornings before work and many Saturdays were dedicated almost entirely to studying. I don't have much experience so much of this content was new to me.
1. Building Construction Illustrated - I read this in its entirety and took very detailed notes. The notes were crucial to me to be able to review the content several times without re-reading the book again.
2. Building Codes Illustrated - I read this in its entirety as well and took notes.
3. The Architect's Studio Companion - I felt I was re-reading a lot that I had read in Building Codes Illustrated and Building Construction Illustrated but it does the best job discussing mechanical and structural systems to the extent that the exam will test you on. (What system is best for specific situations)
4. Black Spectacles- I used this strictly for their practice exams. Overpriced but their practice exams are the closest to the actual exam, both in terms of questions and the way the test program works. I practiced each exam version several times until I was getting in the 80%. For PPD I took both PPD and PDD practice exams. I always spent a lot of time reviewing my wrong answers.
5. IBC - I didn't memorize anything from the IBC except the locations of the major tables that you will most likely have to use during the case studies. I really think this is crucial to get through the case studies as you don't have much time to fool around searching for the right table or chapter.
6. ADA - I have a stack of ADA requirement flashcards that I made for ARE 4.0 which I always review before the exams. They have the major dimensions and requirements to keep in mind. You can review ADA however you may prefer, just remember these questions pop up once in a while.
7. Hyperfine Architecture - This is a great daily morning exercise to do. Each exercise only takes 10-15 minutes. Not meant as a primary study resource but got me to realize some things I needed to look at further.
8. Ballast - I didn't read any of Ballast review manual. I only used the practice exams for both PPD and PDD. Again, I spent a lot of time reviewing wrong answers.
9. Designer Hacks - I took all the quizzes and exams for PPD and PDD many times.
10. Personal recordings - I highly recommend doing this. I really found this to be helpful. Anytime there was something I felt I needed to remember or was having trouble with I would record a question or note regarding it on my phones recorder. I would listen to these in the car or walks outside for a change of scenery in my studying. I had about 10, 30-minutes recordings by the end of my studying for PPD. It was also extremely helpful to go through all them the week before the exam.
11. Personal flashcards - Similar concept to the recordings...I would make a flashcard for something I felt I needed to review again. I had a pretty large stack by the end of my studying for PPD.
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