I passed PPD and PDD with a few additional resources that are not often mentioned on this forum.
1. ARE questions by Elif - No one likes to be told your answer is wrong without giving you somewhere to look into. I've taken many other practice questions (Ballast, Brightwood, Black Spectacles, NCARB, WEARE etc), and her questions are definitely the best in giving a well-rounded explanation that is not obscure, fact-checked, and reliable. Her questions are based on references noted in the handbook or other reliable references. Her questions vary from concepts to specific details that NCARB sometimes likes to throw at you. Super affordable and best value for what you're paying.
2. Essential Craftsmen Spec House Series - If you don't have a lot of CA or construction experience and you tend to procrastinate on YouTube (like me), definitely consider giving this a try. I gained a lot of knowledge for PA, PPD, and PDD on how a single family home comes together in reality, not just from 2D detail drawings. Perfect for newbies to learn the terminology, how-tos, and construction sequence on how a wood framed building gets built. There are A LOT of episodes, but they are very calming to watch if you need a "productive break".
3. ARE 3.0 practice questions + ARE 4.0 practice questions
Although a lot of people suggested a lot of third party study programs/resources, I decided to only stick with the ones listed on the handbook. I've read Ballast and used Amber to reiterate some difficult concepts, but when I hit uncertainty and there's a discrepancy between them and the references on the handbook, I go with the latter. With that said, I reviewed the 3.0 and 4.0 questions multiple times to get a feel of what is asked and then seek the explanation of the answers on my own.
While most people recommended Chapter 4, 5, I also read through Chapters 2, 3, 8, 9, and paid special attention to all of the visual references.
A lot of good information for PA and I find all the site work and prep work procedures beneficial to PPD questions.
7. The actual code + Building Code Illustrated as supplement
I highly recommend studying the actual code with BCI together. It might be easier to understand code from BCI, however, it's ultra-important to learn your ways through the actual code during the exam. Know the terminologies on how occupancies and programs are called. Know by heart which chapter (or even better, which table) to look for fire ratings on walls, roofs, floors. I spent one whole day reading through the code just to know where things are located. By doing this helped me gain a lot of confident for the case studies.
Hope this will be helpful to all future testers!
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