PDD 4th time taking, and failing!

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    Emily Wetherbee (Edited )

    Geraldine, I completely understand and am sorry to hear about your fail. I have failed many exams and spent over 6K on exams since I began in 2012. I think back on the different choices in life that I could have made over the last 8 years, but instead chose to keep trying. At times this is very depressing. Your happiness, success and prosperity should not be measured by this accolade- yet it seems to be for me. I have PPD and PDD left to pass and will be having a baby in April. If I do not pass my exams before then I will be taking a step back to evaluate their worth. But this morning and I am studying for PDD (again). Is this energy well-spent? Its debatable.

    I do recommend joining the Young Architect Bootcamp. It has kept me inspired to keep trying.

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    Brandon Estes (Edited )

    Geraldine, do not beat yourself up or attach this horrible licensure process to your identity.  I am in the same boat.  After the 4.0 to 5.0 transition, I lost exams and hundreds of IDP hours.  It took me a long time, but now I have only PPD and PDD to pass but I have taken them both multiple times, and the more I study the worse I do.  So, like you, I said screw it!  I am not giving NCARB another dime!  In fact I am surprised I can respond to your post because I didn't pay my NCARB "dues" late last year and I am not going to.  Since I began architecture school, NCARB has changed the rules/moved the goalpost 5 or 6 times.  I am over it and glad to put it in my rear-view mirror.

    After I decided to stop chasing the title architect (and if you think about it, that title is never "yours" like your degree(s), you rent the title from your state bureaucrats), I grieved for months.  I got depressed.  But then I spoke with seasoned architects in my community, and they all had one thing in common to say: NCARB is a joke and it is killing architectural practice.  Architecture has become nothing more than project management and rote memorization of some basic material properties and connections.  It's not rocket science, it's not data analysis, it's not law nor medicine nor engineering.  Architects don't DO anything anymore - it's all smoke and mirrors.  NCARB/AIA/ivory-tower architects are trying to reduce the number of licenses issued to create the perception of value of architectural services.  The fact is that so much of what made an architect valuable in the past has been given to other vocations because architects wanted prestige and didn't want to get dirt under their fingernails.  It's also the reality of the world we live in today: 30 years ago, a middle-class family could afford to hire an architect and build a custom home.  A business owner could commission an architect to design a structure to house operations.  Very few people can afford that now.  And with modern buildings becoming so Lego-like, the need for architects just isn't there unless you are rich, a public jurisdiction, or a huge corporation. 

    When is the last time you, or anybody you know, needed to hire an architect?  How often do you see a structure being built that is so unique that it requires a full, bottom-up design by an architect?  It's rare.  Now-a-days, most new construction is akin to a kit of parts with instructions and a construction manager can basically put the building together without an architect.  So congratulations!  Save your time, save your money, and save your sanity!  Architectural practice is a sinking ship and NCARB/AIA/the ivory-tower architects are blowing holes in the hull.

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    James Wyatt

    I am in the same boat as you guys. But I refuse to give up.

    All the effort, time, and money we put into it to just give up?

    Then have all that wasted?

     Nope. Not me.

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    Brandon Estes

    James, I suppose it has to do with one's particular situation and perspective.  I don't see breaking up with NCARB as "giving up" anything.  In fact, I see ditching NCARB as moving on to something new.  I see it as a net gain.  I see it as ridding my life of something that has never contributed to my happiness.  

    Architecture students are taught to believe that architecture is the ONLY path, the only way to work/live/breathe.  It's a bunch of self-serving garbage propagated by architects.  Contrary to the propaganda marketed by NCARB/AIA/licensed architects, there is a vast world out there with many lucrative opportunities available to people who are not architects.  In addition to a B. Arch I have an MPA to fall back on which makes it easier to say that, however. (Getting my master's in a different field has been one of the best decisions of my life.) 

    It is commendable that you will keep testing.  But to say that somebody is "giving up" because they don't want to deal with the garbage anymore is presumptuous.  For me, there is nothing to give up because NCARB added nothing of value to my life, so by leaving NCARB I have everything to gain.  The cost of becoming licensed far outweighs the benefits for me - I simply don't care anymore and it's liberating being able to say that and mean it.  But that might not be everybody's story, obviously not yours.

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    Brian Starkey

    Feel your pain....22 years of experience here and I am scheduled for this one at the end of February (6th time taking it). And it's my last one. It has been my last one for two years.

    This one is ridiculous with not a ton of real world applicability. At this point, I have a year left on my rolling clock and I am only in it to prove I can do it at this point. 

    The key takeaway for me, for this whole process, is the lack or focus on the exam. Sure, you get an entire list of reference materials (sorry NCARB, far too much for a single exam), and now they are "approving" study providers who provide little, if any, actual, specific information. 

    Come to work with me one day, NCARB...follow me... There....test done. 

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