PPD & PDD passed in the same week! ARE finally done!
I just received my official pass score report this morning! Very excited that my ARE exam journey is done. Today the sky is blue, and life is so good.
I took PPD last Monday, and PDD on Sunday. It was an exhausting week with a deadline in my office, but I had no choice since my rolling clock is clicking. If I fail either of them, my previously passed PA exam will expire. But lucky I passed both. I have failed PPD and PDD many times earlier this year. I've been basically taking one exam every two months but wasn't able to get them passed until last week. I'm also a mom for a 3-yr old, which means balancing life, work, and study is not an easy job. I've lost a lot study time while being pregnant, giving birth, etc.
Study materials I found helpful (highly recommend Amber, FBC, BCI):
1. Amber Book and Videos. I teamed up with 5 other co-workers and bought Amber series. I highly recommend Amber. Sometimes you study something in a book but the content is dry, and you need to google image or youtube videos. Amber does it for you. It's easier to understand and memorize when Mike talks about certain elements and show photos or videos of how it works. It makes learning fun. I took notes in 2 notebooks. Constantly referring back to these notes.
2. Fundamentals of Building Construction. For some reason I listed this book as secondary study material, and didn't read it until two months ago. It was a GREAT study material. Based on what I read, I can see Amber videos reference some of its content. This book is particually helpful for PDD, as you need to understand details. I took notes for this book and drew a lot of details from this book.
3. Building Construction Illustrated. Good stuff. I took notes and referred to my notes all the time.
4. Black Spectacles. The videos were ok. not as good as Amber. But I love their practice exams. I'm not a good exam taker. I mostly get 60% to 65% correct, about a month before my exams.
5. MEEB. For some reason I found MEEB difficult to study. Very dry. But if you can go through that it must be helpful.
6. Pluralsight. Kind of basic, but I recommend it as a secondary video. I took notes by clipping them into a pdf in bluebeam. Basically made myself a guide book for all the topics. Good thing about pdf notes is that I can create new pages and add on them. I took physical notes for all other books but adding on new contents in the middle of my notes is difficult.
6. Designer Hack. Kind of basic.
7. Building Codes Illustrated. Flipped through some chapters, like IBC chapter 3, 5, 6, and 10. Read these captures till you know which form is from which chapter. Will be a huge time saving to navigating through case studies. Most of the time you find the case study reference materials load very slow in the real exam. Knowing which chapter to find your answers is huge help.
8. International Residential Codes. You need to flip them as well. Get a good understanding for the requirements of habitable spaces.
8. Architects Studio Companion. I like the chart they showed for building system V.S. spans.
Good luck on everyone who's taking this journey! Hope everyone will pass soon!
I don't think it's possible with just Amber Videos, at least not for me. If you are a great exam taker, and/or have learned a lot on your job, maybe it is possible.
So I studied Amber and took my first shot at PPD but failed. My failing report said I was close, but not very close of getting a pass. Also I was in bad luck in exam day, as the computer in Prometric Testing Center was extremely slow that I cannot even open up Case Study reference documents without loading for 30 seconds on each page. I switched to another test center from then on.
After first try, I studied FBC, Designer Hacks, Pluralsight, MEEB, FEMA, Black Spectacles practice exams, and Ballast practice exams. Had a pass on PPD/PDD in the end.
Honestly, Amber set up a good foundation of my study, and I probably studied 50% of content from Amber. But without another 50% from other study materials, I don't think I can pass.
I think Amber's strategy kind of makes sense, as we want to take as little time as possible and try multiple times if we got a fail. But after failing an exam, we need to wait 60 days to take another shot, and it's kind of silly not to study other materials within the 60 days.
COngrats! I am studying for my ppd right now, and I am currently reading the ASC. I was wondering, while you were studying that book, what kind of information you need to pay attention to? There seems to be like a lot of dimension table and such. I was wondering if we need to know that?
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