Ballast 5.0 Study Guide...really worth it?

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    Scott Barber

    Hi Joseph, 

    I'd recommend spending some time reading through the posts on this forum. You'll find a lot of good advice and experiences that will likely be of benefit as you prepare for these exams. Before I started studying, I read through every post for the specific exam(s) and it helped me know what books to study and what content to understand and be able to apply.

    I wrote a post after passing each exam, so feel free to look at those, but these are the 3 must-haves in my opinion:

    - Building Construction Illustrated

    - The Architects Studio Companion (great, perfect resource for PPD)

    - Architectural Graphics Standards (better for PDD but relevant for PPD)

    There are others out there and what you need to study will vary based on your previous knowledge and experience, but those three are very important. 

    I did use Ballast as a starting point, but spent too much time on it. In general, I find most 3rd party resources to be lacking, especially for PPD and PDD. I used Ballast and AEP but neither one would be enough to pass these two exams, unless you have significant real-world experience already.

    Hope that helps, good luck!

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    Katie Merten

    Ballast is decent--there's a lot more info in there than I gave it credit for, but after reviewing all the other materials, it is redundant, yes.  You can also sign up for online access to their books, quizzes, flashcards, etc for either $19/month/exam, or $59/6 months for all exams, which I think is worth it.    

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    Joseph Petrarca

    Good to know that!  Thanks Katie.

    Scott: I have been looking here a lot.  Many folks use Ballast.  And most appreciate their practice exams.  Ballast study guides seem to be rated kind of average here, while on Amazon, it looks super poor.  I'm trying to get a sense of these must-haves for an office resource library.  I have the other books you suggested as "must-haves" on the list.  Along with MEEB.

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    Scott Barber

    Joseph, glad you're checking out this forum! It was a great resource for me, as I didn't have anyone in my office or local I could talk to about the exams. 

    Ballast wasn't a bad starting point, but I see people relying on that solely and that's not going to be enough 95% of the time. MEEB is a good resource, but I think it gets too detailed for these exams. The diagrams are worth studying closely, but other than that just be careful not to get too caught up in the details of that exam. 

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    Yung-Han Chang

    I use the Ballast Review Manual as a knowledge base but you can't rely on it to be comprehensive resource.  The other thing is that it is very poorly organized.  It jumps from one topic to another topic.  There are also a lot of typos as mentioned in the reviews.   Also the ARE test will test you on a lot more things than just the division in the book.  This was especially the case in PA and I am assuming also for PPD.  I found I had to study PPD and PDD sections of the book.

    I use the Ballast Practice Exam much more than the actual Ballast Review Manual.  The Practice Exam really tested my knowledge and so it helped in finding what I need more work studying.  Also reading the answers after answering the problem really helped me retain knowledge and understand concepts.

     

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    David Kesting

    Ballast helped me pass PCM, PJM, PA and CE all of which I used additional study material for. Ballast is not perfect and CANNOT be used as your only study source, but it shoul dbe added to your list of things to read for a least all the other tests.

    After im done with PPD and PDD Ill update you.

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    Ronaldo Guimaraes

    Ballast books and also the PPI2PASS web site is very helpful, I recommend.

    As mentioned by others, you shouldn't rely only in one source of study material. 

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