Happy to say I received a provisional pass today, but not without difficulty. I'm now batting 5 for 5 on the first try (PDD is next/last), but I found PPD to be the hardest exam so far for a number of reasons.
Given the volume of suggested reading materials, I chose not to read all materials twice, as I had for the previous exams. What I did read cover to cover for PPD was The Architect's Studio Companion (ASC), Building Construction Illustrated (BCI), and the Ballast ARE 5.0 Review Manual chapters for this division. I had already gone through Site Planning and Design Handbook (SPD) twice for the PA exam that I took 6 weeks ago, so I didn't review that resource again. I then did some spot reading through Heating, Cooling, Lighting (HCL) as well as Architectural Acoustics Illustrated (AAI).
As with previous exams, I also went through all the Ballast Practice Problems and took the Practice Exam. The format of the questions & Case Studies that Ballast presents is very similar to the actual exam in that 1.] sometimes more information is provided than is needed to answer the question, and 2.] knowing what the wrong answers are and striking them out leads you to the right answer without having to do a whole lot of thinking (very handy when you have to choose the 4 correct answers from 6 choices, and 2 of them are so obviously the wrong, even if you're on the fence about some of the remaining choices). Critical to doing the Practice Problems and Practice Exams is taking the time to go through the narrative of the solutions.
When it came to the actual test, I felt as if I knew everything and nothing all at the same time. A lot of basic stuff I expected to encounter was lacking, and some bigger concepts I had finally wrapped my head around weren't even touched upon, whereas there were some terms, elements of design, and names of entities that I didn't once come across in any of my study sources. This is where reading the question very carefully to look for clues comes in handy. A clue in the question will have a reasonable association with one of the answers, so when in doubt, go with the made association.
Time-wise, I wasn't as lucky as others who finished with ample time to review. I had about 15 minutes left to hurry through my flagged questions and got through them with 26 seconds left on the clock. I'd have been sweating if the room weren't on a blast chiller setting. Seriously.
From what I've read on this forum, it sounds like PDD has very similar content as PPD. Given what's still swarming in my head, I'll take everyone's advice to schedule it in another 2-3 weeks. I'll also be sure to take a very heavy hoodie with me....
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