PDD Retakes Like Its My Job

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13 comments

  • Avatar
    Derek Mason

    The 3 big exams PA-PPD-PDD and all multiple retakes for me. 

    I'm comparing the handbook 'outline' with the study material and reviewing. Which books and topics cover the handbook paragraph. 

    I feel as though I have nothing else.

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    Bradley Mitzelfelt

    I'm on my 4th try at this on Saturday. Originally I started with materials online and the Building Codes Illustrated books. Then I added in the Ballast 5.0 guide. Now I'm adding Black Spectacles so I'm hoping this time is the charm. If not I only have one more attempt before I lose credit for an exam.

    Moral of the story, don't stop retaking it no matter what. Keep trying and you'll get it eventually. Oddly enough I'm struggling primarily with the CD, Spec, and Code portions even though those portions are what I do all day at work.

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    Brett Spencer

    Highly recommend to anyone studying for PPD/PDD to check out the Amber videos.  If you can get into a group, a one month subscription is cheaper than paying for the retake.

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    Kristin Perry

    Thanks for this post, it's motivating to have a reminder that I'm just a person taking these exams and not a complete failure. It's like failing these is a rite of passage or something. They're difficult but we'll get through them. I'm going into my second retake of PDD and this time I am going in using the Amber video series and practice book as my main study materials. I've had 2 fails at PPD (haven't passed it yet) so I'm pretty well versed in the study material available for these and am already at a loss of what else to use, but I'm hoping hard that this works. I was able to get in with a large group. It's $190 bucks a month AFTER the discount, but I swear, if it helps me pass these, it is worth every single penny. 

    My other supplemental material will include looking over my firm's standard details heavily, memorizing the main codes table locations (this 100% contributed to my failure last time as i had several questions on a table I couldn't find for the life of me). Also going to look into the topic of graffiti and refresh on the main formulas for MEP and Structures again this weekend. I've also been told it's important to know what angle your building should face in certain climates, so I'll refresh on that as well since I think that's one of the few memorization things you may need to know. Thanks for reading my rambles. Typing this out is helping me cope with nerves and get a plan together!

  • Avatar
    Brandon Estes (Edited )

    Not sure if my two cents will help anybody, but here's my ramble...I posted on this a week or so ago, but as NCRAB doesn't like sarcasm or any points of view that are not supportive of NCRAB, they removed my post.  That said, I am taking my 2nd retake of PDD and 3rd retake of PPD this September.  These exams are a royal pain.  When you go into the exam, think in terms of safety and/or keeping the elements out of the building.  That is the essence of what we are being tested on.  People with over a decade of experience are failing these exams.  NCRAB's job is to, 1) make money, and 2) shrink the profession (though they are actually suffocating it).  Keep lining NCRAB's pockets with $$ and as was pointed out to me, you will probably pass.

    I had to xfer from 4.0 to 5.0.  If I don't pass PPD/PDD in the time allotted, 3 exams I was credited from the xfer will expire at the same time.  That is where I draw the line.  I have done some soul searching and, though this is in part due to my career path, I don't NEED the license.  Ask yourself if you NEED it.  If you don't absolutely need it, ask yourself why you are chasing it and if you can be happy without it.  Since I have realized that I will be perfectly happy without the title "architect" and that life will go on, I don't care as much about the exams and I am stressing less.  There are many career opportunities with the degree and no license that are as (or more) lucrative than being a traditional licensed architect: fire and life safety professional, building official, construction administrator, facilities manager, capital outlay manager, codes administrator (think ICC or IAPMO) and that's not mentioning the creative opportunities.  Also, if you don't have one yet (or even if you do), with the time and energy you are putting in this license you can get a Master's degree in another field which is more valuable than a license and will open more doors.  My employer is more than happy to work with me if/when I choose to stop chasing this additional piece of paper and I bet yours is too.

    I am not trying to discourage anybody, but recently my mother reminded me that life is short and I need to do what makes me happy.  The process of becoming licensed is a disaster at best (disasters are not happy things), and NCRAB keeps moving the target.  So keep going for your license but do it for the right reasons, not to validate architecture school or because licensed architects advise you to get licensed (which just validates them going through this hell), but because this is part of your dream, something you truly value, and something that you will use to make you a better person, otherwise, why bother?  Imagine yourself 5 or 10 years in the future: were the years yo spent chasing this paper worth it?  And if/when you pass, was it worth the sacrifices you made?  Kids, learning an instrument, time with family, traveling, dating...  I landed my current job which is architectural, without a license, but I have a Master's of Public Admin/Policy (and it took me only 2.5 years to get at night!).  All of us taking these "exams" has options - licensure isn't the end-all of everything and not getting licensed doesn't make anybody less of a professional.  

     

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    Cait Larson

    Thank you everyone for your great advice! I can’t afford the amber videos but I think that since it’s been a long time since taking the other tests that’s a major contributing factor. I will take it 20 times if I have to! Brandon Estes they cant take your post out of my email inbox ;) I can just see them eating our money in the Cayman Islands and a lot of people have lol’ed at that imagery now.

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    Kristin Perry (Edited )

    Just got my "likely to pass for PDD!!!" There were SEVERAL things from the Amber Book videos that showed up on the exam. It's all a blur now but I highly recommend it for those who can. Hopefully this means I just have 1 left!

     

  • Avatar
    Bradley Mitzelfelt (Edited )

    I passed it a week ago Saturday. I utilized Black Spectacles and the Brightwood book. Black Spectacles I believe is what did it for me. Before I was just using books. Adding the videos I think helped me as I'm a more visual learner. Highly recommend people use them!

    Congrats on passing, Kristin!

  • Avatar
    Kristin Perry

    Congrats on your pass as well Bradley! I agree, the videos help so much.

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    Tasanee Durrett

    Congrats Kristin!

     

    I'm debating on investing in the AMBER videos again. I did for PPD last year and they helped with my understanding of topic tremendously, I love them! However, I'm not too sure if the videos that have been added since then will benefit me. 

    What is your take on this? Wondering if it is a good idea to invest in them again?

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    Melissa Threatt

    I just took PDD (first try) this morning and got likely to fail. I am so disappointed. Passed PPD on the first try two weeks ago and have studied nonstop before and since. I have used Hyperfine, Pluralsight, Designer Hacks, Ballast, BCI, and Graphic standards. Maybe I didn’t have enough time between exams, I don’t know. But today I am fuming because the second case study was so horribly presented and the drawings were lacking crucial information. I am so upset. This was going to be my last exam. I have 72 days left on my rolling clock or I’ll have to take CE. I was going to be DONE today. Send positive thoughts... thanks friends.

  • Avatar
    Bradley Mitzelfelt

    Sign up for Black Spectacles and watch all the videos prior to your next retake. They're very thorough. You'll get it the next time.

     

     

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