I studied a lot...probably over 200 hours.
I read FEMA 454 Seismic
Skimmed Studio Companion
Building construction Illustrated
Hyperfine course for PPD/PDD
The AEP (OMCES) online exam simulator practice exams
A few Amberbook
Caroline Joseph's notes
Bunch of other stuff online especially miscellaneous resources recommended by Ben in each of his Hyperfine homework assignments.
The trouble with MEEB and stuff like that, it's overwhelming. It ALL seems like good information so how do you take 2000 pages and see what the essential content is?
I was very impressed with Hyperfine's approach. Having taken PA and PPD in 5.0, I think that practical approach is very on-target. Rather than trying to know everything and memorize flashcards, you approach a specific problem, stumble up against the unknown, go do research, learn what you can learn, make flashcards or take good notes for later, come back, resolve the problem as best you can, read the Answers for the correct information. And keep moving.
For some of the homework assignments he also provides videos of the answer logic as well as written answer descriptions. His case studies are very good and realistic.
I was surprised that the exam seemed to cover content in a very basic fashion for almost all the content areas (seismic, wind-loading, structures, lighting, acoustics, thermal and energy, sustainability, plumbing, HVAC, mechanical, historical preservation and repurposing....daylighting got significant focus but again it was not difficult.
The case studies can be frazzling because you are easily scattered trying to understand the question and race off to look through resources and try to do calculations fast
My advice is if you are getting too frazzled on a case study question, ditch it before it consumes you. So what, you got one wrong...maybe...big deal. Put down anything...mark it for review and forget about it. Get to one that won't make you go crazy. You get the same one point for the case study question involving FAR, separation of occupancies with accessory use areas and whether or not the FAR will allow a height that is allowed by IBC etc (I'm making that up, but you get the drift)..you get the same one point as the question that asks whether an incandescent or an LED is most efficient. (Again, made up question).
Personally I'd much rather answer questions like the second one than the first one when a clock is ticking. Remember, you don't have to ace this and impress the Partner in Charge. You need to get a "D". Nobody is going to know whether you got an A or a D. If you get a D minimum, you pass.
Maybe I studied too much but I expected a significantly higher level of complexity.
I tried the approach of tackling the case studies first and it was taking too long to get through the questions and I was getting frazzled, so I abandoned that at the end of case study 1 and just started hitting the regular questions and knocking them off. It paid off. By the time I was done, I had 45 minutes to review all my marked questions. It was tough to try to stick to a predetermined schedule because the exam does not give you time elapsed AND time remaining, like Netflix. It JUST gives you time remaining. so if you wanted to take 25 minutes for the first case study and 35 minutes for the next, you have to do the math to find out what that means for "time remaining" and keep track of it on paper. It's awkward.
ALL the formulas and data you need are on the Resources...so don't sweat that. When you are in the IBC...hit the little bookmark icon. That is HANDY because it gives you the table of contents with titles of each section and it hyperlinks to the section. so you can just scan until you see OCCUPANCY FACTORS...and then click and get right to that section.
I will note that last time I had THREE crashes in my PA exam and this time I had ONE crash. It's nerve-wracking and Prometric definitely needs to do a way better job.
I encourage you all to not dread PPD. It's not as difficult as we lead ourselves to believe.
One interesting thing to note, on the drag and drops, where you have to move a component or a room space to the correct location, you can rotate them but it's not obvious. double-click on the item and a dialog box will pop up asking for the rotation angle. I discovered that by accident.
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