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!
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