Finally passed my last exam, PDD (passed PPD last week!) and can say wow, I haven't never felt more relieved in my life. Not to mention I basically HAD to pass these things before September or my rolling clock was going to time out and I would be taking all the 5.0's... something I had zero desire to do. That being said, I wanted to hop on here and share what I did to study because I was definitely struggling with some fails (failed structures on 4.0 and then the rollover kicked me into 5.0... so technically I managed to do the ARE with MORE TESTS; failed PDD first go and then had to evac the test center during PPD and the test didn't count.. fun fun fun times).
Study Stuff that worked for me:
I have pretty good comprehension and have worked in both design and technical architecture (for better or worse, some of the details they ask you questions on are really not good) but what I struggle with is focus, study strategy, and just making time to study when my brain isn't a complete blob after a long workday. I needed study guides to get that game plan together.
- Amber videos (watched all of them, just went through in order, make flash cards) -- did this first to set a "baseline".
- Gang Chen practice tests (used this with the NCARB practice tests to just get a feel for questions, both PDD and PPD - it's really all interchangeable.)
- Hyperfine Assignments (I cannot say enough good things about the assignments that are included in this program. It's cheap, it's effective, it gets your brain in the game, and it gets you engaged in a way that I needed in order to stay focused and recognize areas I was weak in so that I could improve. Also, it was COMPLETELY RELEVANT to both the test and just work in general. Go buy this, you will not regret it.)
- DesignerHacks practice tests for both PDD and PPD (do them all whenever you have free time. They have a huge amount of rotating questions and help you just learn to respond to things when asked in a variety of ways.)
YOU CAN DO THIS. You just have to find the strategy that works for you and stick it out, even if it takes multiple tries. My computer froze 4 times at the test center this morning and they had to move my workstation twice- yet somehow, miraculously, I still managed a win and I think it was hugely based on just being confident that I had put in the time and work to really think through the problems.
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