After failing PPD I took a few weeks off to relax and blow some steam and then picked up the books again. I think that failing PPD was a big part of getting the chance to pass PDD, there is so much overlap that when I studied for PDD I started the realize how much of the material I only had a cursory grasp of. So if you failed PPD... dont worry about it, get up, dust yourself off and hit the books again.
Here is what I studied and the resources I used:
First and foremost, Ben Norkin at Hyperfine needs to be your go to material. The practice questions and his case study are your baseline for starting your studies and what you should review the day before you end them. Dont just solve the problems, look at his resource material and get to know it because your going to see it again in your other books and then again on your exam. Dont take the test until you know all of these questions by heart. Review them until you know what the math is before you started the question.
Buy a copy of the IBC and get used to reading it. Know the sections on Fire Separations 508, Mezzanines 505, Building Height and Area 501, occupant load 1004, exit access and travel 1017, stairs 1011, guardrails 1015, classifications chapter 3, atriums 404 and construction type 601. You don't need to memorize the code, but you do need to be very familiar with it and know the code section numbers so you can find it on test day (esp with the horrid UX that the test provides.) REMEMBER when your done with the test your going to get a license to practice, you need a copy of the code anyway.
Get a copy of MEEB and read it, or at least skim through the whole thing and highlight all the material that seems important. YES ITS 1700 pages, but it took me about one week to do and it should be the same for you. Plus each chapter has a review and question section which I didnt bother with and the appendix and toc, so its really only about 800-900 pages. Skim until you find stuff that is intresting to you, or that you saw in other books or in other study material. THEN READ THAT PART one because its truly fascinating and two because that is the stuff you will see on the test. You will keep this book on your shelf and reference it later for sure. Plus your highlights will allow you to review the important stuff later.
Ching building codes illustrated and building construction illustrated. Read and highlight all the chapters. Your going to need it for PPD and CE for sure so go ahead and get craking. Take it with you everywhere you go and read it. At the office, at the coffee shop, in the passenger side seat for that long drive, on the train, on the plane, with your kids at the playground. These are your new bibles so get reading and make sure your highlighters have ink in them. It really reads super fast (thank you graphics) and you can highlight and reread the important stuff later.
Architects Studio Companion another go to source for your HVAC and structural systems. I found myself making drawings based on the systems and noting when and why its used and I think this really helped me to remember and understand why and how these systems are deployed.
Graphic standards for Architects: I spent time just looking at all the pages and trying to digest the material. The sections on Materials, and Building elements (sections 2 and 3) are the most important but don't forget to review section 1. When you find written material that seems interesting (or that you saw in another book or study source) then digest it and try to hold on to it. The details are amazing and you will see them again.
The ballast book is a great idea and the first book I ever got for the ARE, dont give up on it if it has a bad review or two. Read the PA, PPD and PDD sections. They are all so close together and you will need it as a reference for all the other books your reading. Dont worry so much about the method of sections or all the other math functions they throw at you (literally skip that,) count on Hyperfine for 90% of that material. Once your done with those three sections, review your highlighter parts a few more times and think about how much overlap is in all these books.
Lastly for the math, I counted on Hyperfine, but you really need to see youtube for the Engineer4Free bending and moment diagrams. They have about 10 practice problems to freshen up your statics and free body diagrams, THAT YOU WILL NEED. Dont stress, its super easy and you will remember the material, especially if you do 2-3 problems again before test day.
Thats it, now I need to get back to the books and review a few more times before taking PPD again hopefully next week. As per practice tests, I got them but didnt focus that much on them this round. There was more then enough material in these books and frankly I did a bunch of practice tests for PPD and failed that. I still have my Black Spectacles subscription and enjoy seeing that guy talk at 1.5x speed on the material but I think its a little over rated at the moment. Ill likely redo his practice exams before taking PPD but I think the best course of study is read the material and then reread my highlights. THe best part of the practice exams I think is learning your timing on the test, which takes me to my last part.
When your taking the test, remember how to attack it. Remove unlikely answers, dont read into the question for whats not there take it at face value and no more, Flag questions your unsure of but remember that your first answer is usually the right one. If you feel like your failing then take a moment collect your thoughts and attack the test not the material. Think about where the weakness is in the exam and try to use it to your advantage.
Oh one last thing, I found myself running alot in the early AM. I made time to try and keep in shape and think about what was important to me. On the day of the exam I did the same, I woke up at 5am thinking off all the stuff I didnt do to prepare and how I could never pass the exam. My early AM run helped me keep a perspective on whats important and hey when I took the exam it all worked out.
Best of Luck.
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