Hi Everyone, I took PPD earlier in the week and just received my official pass so here are my thoughts to contribute to the forum. Just for some background info, I’ve been working for about 3.5 years and have already passed PcM, PjM, CA and PA (in that order).
- Study: For all my previous exams I have relied solely on Ballast and the Designer Hack questions (I think they’re a great value at $40 per section and easy to help reinforce material; when I can’t focus on reading or am getting distracted, taking a 10-question quiz helps me stay productive and focused). For this exam I first read all the ballast chapters then worked through specific chapters from Building Construction Illustrated and Building Codes Illustrated. I know people recommend black spectacles and the Amber videos like crazy, but I’m not trying to spend that kind of money so I watched all the free videos that both companies have posted to YouTube.
- Timing: I ended this test with about 50 minutes left. Compared to Programming & Analysis the questions on this test did not require as much time to complete. Even the case studies were pretty straightforward and I finished both in about an hour. I probably had about 40 questions that I flagged and went back to review. With the extra time I was able to digest the question a little more and ended up changing my answers once I realized what the answers NCARB was really looking for.
- Material: Do not slack on studying MEP. Honestly, I felt the exam was lacking on the architecture side of things and what they did ask was pretty easy if you have been working for a decent amount of time. I would honestly say that two-thirds of my exam were related to MEP and some structure questions. Plenty of content on site locations and climate types. Do not forget to study wind; I definitely wish I had reviewed that material more. Focus on the pros and cons of each kind of HVAC or structural system, things like typical spans are important and not difficult to memorize.
- IBC: Review and understand the IBC. If you’re familiar with the resources in the case studies you know that they only give you the relevant chapters to the questions they ask and the search function will help save time but it’s important to be comfortable reading all the different charts and the way things are worded. Even for some non-case-study questions it was helpful to check if the provided sections of the IBC could help at all. Read Chapter 3 on Occupancy over and over and over again.
Thanks to everyone on here for their help especially David Kaplan and Scott Barber. Don’t really know what else to say that hasn’t been said elsewhere on this forum, but I hope this helps.
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