Finally finished PPD after failing it the first time. Just wanted to post my thoughts about where to focus study time -
Amber Book Videos - These were by far my most helpful study tool. They're a subscription based streaming service that costs $390/mo or $290/mo if you sign up with a friend. You also get a book to go along with the videos but the videos themselves are the meat of what you're paying for/studying. It's pricey but I definitely think they were worth it. Being able to see this stuff while it's being explained to you and having the visual to help you retain the information is invaluable. Plus I was more confident taking this last test that any of my others after watching these videos. Something about the way things are explained on there helped me think critically about the questions and get to the correct answers. Now, I transitioned from 4.0 to 5.0 so I've only taken PPD and PDD and don't know how well these apply to the other exams but I believe them when they say that 5.0 is so cross-pollinated that it's good to just study it all.
Building Construction Illustrated - Great book to read cover to cover if you have time. This one was invaluable for PDD more so than PPD.
Architect's Studio Companion - Excellent to go through if you don't get the Amber videos, but I think you retain more with the videos rather than reading.
All of the FEMA chapters everyone keeps telling you to read, mainly for the conceptual stuff when it comes to structures.
Hyperfine - I bought the PPD/PDD bundle. It was definitely a big help. It covers a lot of the same stuff that the Amber videos go over but its more spotty whereas the Amber stuff is blanket coverage.
Know your 2015 IBC. Chapter 5,7,9,10. Occupancy types and separations. Also know ADA. Door dims, clearances, etc. A lot of this is picked up from working in an office but unless you are there for the figuring out occupancy types, height and area limitations, and all that jazz, you're probably not as good at it as you think, at least I wasn't.
One of my friends is plowing through these tests just by studying the Ballast book. He's like 5/5 on these so maybe look there. I didn't, but I thought I'd point it out. He swears by it but says it's a rough read. I just cant do the all text thing. I need pictures to help cement it in my brain.
Anyways, good luck to everyone!
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