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    Michael Molinari

    Congrats Baraa, thats awesome.  I'm taking PPD on monday and wondering if you saw a bunch of structural questions, and if so, were they the simple and basic variety or more complex.  Also wondering if the PDD exam was heavy on the structural questions and what the types were.  Structures is where I'm weakest and its giving me the most stress.  thanks

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    Baraa Yakzan

    Michael, 

    I got 2 or 3 structural questions on each of the two exams, but not more. Some of them were simple, a couple not so much. I would suggest the following: know the basics, try to understand the structural systems as much as you can, but do not stress yourself with all the formulas and the complicated things. If you know the basics, you will be able to answer half these questions. You might be left with around 2 questions that you do not know how to solve- this should not make it or break it, you should pass the exam regardless. I'd rather do that than spend 10-15 extra hours of studying structural systems just to answer 1 question on the exam. Makes sense? 

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    Michael Molinari

    yep, thanks... so 30 hours of structural seminar videos are not worth the time.

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    Michael Molinari

    HI Baraa, was there anything on the PPD exam that was a big surprise to you?  something you hadn't studied or paid a lot of attention to?

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    Baraa Yakzan

    Nothing surprising for me. Study well and go in there with confidence and resilience. It is not a difficult exam. You can do it! 

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    Ariel Jamison

    Michael,

    I haven't taken PDD, but when I took PPD, I had just 2 questions on structural, and they were very very general. One was SO general I almost laughed out loud. Review structural systems, know their strengths/weaknesses. Don't spend much more time. Maybe just review the Ballast chapters covering it. Code and site design questions were a much broader category for PPD.

    I also second Baraa in saying, why are PPD & PDD suggested to study together?? At the same time??? No way, just study one and then the next. Also seconded. PA does have a lot of overlap with PPD, but I still wouldn't lump study for any of these tests. Just dont have a gigantic gap between them, you'll have to review old material, but dont try to study so much material at once. They are separate tests on purpose, leave them that way. I also think trying to lump PPD & PDD together leads some people to failure! Because they dont pay attention to the idea that they are different tests with different levels of focus. Granted, I have taken PDD yet, so maybe I'll feel differently later, but for now I completely agree with the sentiment in this post above.

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    Michael Molinari

    Ariel, 

    I passed PPD on monday and agree with your assessment of it.  My last test is PDD and i'm hoping to knock it out in september.  I was definitely sweating structures, but i had less than 5 questions on them and they were all super generic.  So far, the math on each test has been fairly basic algebra, and i wonder if PDD will be the same or if the difficulty will ratchet up.  

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    David Kaplan

    Michael,

    My personal PDD experience was the same as your PPD experience with regards to structures.  5 questions or so, basic math.  Others may have more to add.

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    Sara Loquist

    I just failed PPD for the 3rd time, rescheduled for exactly 60 days.

    In your opinion, continue to study the PPD material? Or move onto PDD?

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    Giovanni Cortes

    Hello Baraa, this information is very useful to me, I'm taking PPD in one week. I've dove in pretty hard on structural calculations for foundations, trusses and joists. it seems that acoustics and mechacnial calculations for friction and Temperature loss is just as heavy. I'm reading through this that i shouldnt focus on that. Earthquake design is pretty heavy too. I will focus on concepts more htat problem solving now.

    How about the case studies? whats your take on them, did you get many? which type? time consuming? are they worth more than any of the other questions? thanks a lot and congratulations.

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    Baraa Yakzan

    Sara & Giovanni:

    Sara: I guess there is no right or wrong with this, it's a matter of how each of us thinks- it's a psychological game to some extent with these exams. If I were you, I'd go back to studying PPD and retaking it until I pass. I don't like keeping matters unfinished, and I think it is a good idea to study more while the information is fresh in your mind. But again, that's just my way, you might be comfortable doing something else. Just don't get discouraged. 

    Giovanni: Make sure you understand the concepts of everything (earthquakes, thermal, acoustical, etc...), I do not think it is necessary to clutter your mind with complicated calculations and formulas. Go through the formulas that are given (in the NCARB Handbook), and make sure you understand them. If you need them in your exam, they are available for you to look at. 

    All the questions on the exam are weighted equally. Case Study questions are not worth more than multiple choice questions. You never know how much time a case study requires. What you can control however is how much time your multiple choice questions take. That's why I go through the MC first, giving myself 40-45 minutes for every 30 questions. The exam is 120 questions, 4 hours and 15 minutes long- here's what I did:

    - By the time I have 3:30 remaining, I need to be at question 30. 

    - By the time I have 2:45 remaining, I need to be at question 60.

    - By the time I have 2:00 remaining, I need to be at question 90. 

    This leaves me with 2 hours to finish up whatever MC questions I have left (should be around 8-10), and then dive into the case studies. Do not underestimate the time it takes to read through the case studies and understand the given- 2 hours or a bit less should be enough. Do not fret about MC questions you do not know- if it takes you more than 3 minutes to get to an answer, flag it and move on.  

    Hope this helps 

    Good luck 

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    Giovanni Cortes

    That is great advise Baraa, thanks. Did i read you correctly? if you need formulas they give them to you? that is a game changer!

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    David Kesting

    Thank you for the advice Baraa!

    I am preparing for PPD PDD and was thinking about taking them both back to back as recommended by a number of people, but now I'm questioning the wisdom of the double up mentality. 

    I have taken PA and did well on that test. It was actually my first exam. Since then I have passed CE, PJM, PCM and now the final two hurdles to go.

    In regards to study material, I currently have the black spectacles subscription, Im looking in the hyperfine one, I have the ballast study guide, the Architects handbook, fundamentals of construction, all of which are read and have recently added to my library:

    building codes illustrated
    Ching

    Allen, Edward

    Lechner, Norbert
    American Institute of Architects
     
    all of which appear to be rather large books, although I do love to read. Are you familiar with these? Are there any parts of these books you ( or anyone else who has taken these exams) recommend? Are there other items on my reading list I should add?

    thank you in advance for you help!

     

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    Ronaldo Guimaraes

    Hi Sara.

    Sorry to hear that .
    I was just wondering if it is possible to retake any test after the third failed attempt before the one year period?

    If I am not mistaken NCARB's web site mentioned that.

    "Retaken a Division"


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