I received a pass on my PDD exam (my last ARE test). Thank you to those who have provided feedback and insight on this challenging test! I am a strong advocate for knowledge sharing, and this forum has been instrumental in my study strategy for all six exams.
I want to briefly share some of the resources I heavily relied on and some general comments about the exam itself.
Fundamentals of Building Construction
- I had an older version of this, but it wasn't an issue in terms of content. Though this book is long, I read it from cover to cover, especially if you do not have strong construction experience.
- This book mixes both diagrams/drawings and photographs, which is helpful to understand what something should look like once its realized.
- This book is organized by specification divisions, which is extremely useful to understand what types of construction / methods / materials go in what division.
- The thermal chapter was particularly helpful for me.
Architectural Graphic Standards
- I only have the 10th edition from my office, but it served me well, especially for reviewing detailed drawings.
- If you can afford it, I recommend purchasing a used copy of the student edition!
Ching's Building Construction & Building Codes
- Great for overall / summary of building materials and wall sections.
- Rely heavily on the knowledge already learned from PPD in order to do a 'deeper dive' into PDD content. For example, I already read the Architects Studio Companion for PPD and did not revisit for PDD.
- Review diagrams and drawings from MEEB. This book is extremely long and you can skip most of the detailed sections. I skimmed through mostly for vocabulary and to review any drawings/diagrams provided.
- Review your notes from CE (AHPP / AOC responsibilities). This will be helpful for the Project Manual & Specifications portion of the exam.
- Make flashcards & sketch out the various wall section types (mass barrier, cavity wall, pressure-equalized, etc). Drawing out the details helped me further understand each component and important adjacencies.
- I took notes on a Google Doc (but recently migrated everything over to Roam Research) and I organized my notes on building systems/materials into specification divisions, which is how Olin's is organized. This helped me memorize spec division content.
- Received a handful of cost estimation questions that were more 'involved' than your typical x * y = z. If you are slower at executing calculation questions, I recommend skipping them and returning to them later.
- Pay attention to the clock. Unfortunately, I did not finish the exam. I had 3 case study questions left before the time abruptly ran out. Pay extra attention to your time clock when its below 10 minutes. There is no warning given to when your time will expire.
The Test Center:
- If you are planning to take it within the next few months, you do have to wear a mask the entire time. Please review Prometric's policies with regards to COVID. https://www.prometric.com/covid-19-update/test-center-policies
- Due to COVID, occupancy may be limited depending on demand. I recommend booking an exam date as soon as you can if you are ready to take it.
Lastly, thanks again for everyone's support & knowledge sharing, especially during these tough times.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
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