After reading numerous books, watching the Amber and Thaddeus videos, working through the Hyperfine exercises, and taking Ballast and Ching practice tests, I took both PPD and PDD and failed. I was at a loss for what to do next, since I felt like I had already studied everything possible. The study materials listed above really helped me establish my base knowledge, but I needed more to get to the finish line.
I decided to sign up for Michael Riscica's Young Architect's ARE Bootcamp, which was the key to my success. The best part about the program for me were the meetups, since I'm more of an auditory, think-out-loud learner. Every participant is asked to host a couple of online meetups, which means gathering about 20 questions at a time for anyone who wants to join the meetup to answer. This results in numerous meetups per week to choose from. It was a great way for me to fine tune my knowledge, discover areas of weakness, and learn how to read a question (sounds simple, but it isn't always!).
The group is also an important source of camaraderie and moral support. And you log your study hours each day, which holds you accountable and helps you keep up a pace. As a working mom whose time is very limited, I really needed this.
After about 14 weeks in the Bootcamp, I passed both exams on the second try!