What to focus on for PDD versus PPD given all the overlap

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    Joseph Petrarca

    I'd appreciate any info on this too... Aside from "PDD focuses more on detailing and materials"

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    Gwendolyn Frank

    I recently took both of these and felt PPD was more conceptual and PDD was a more zoomed in look of things (Macro vs. Micro). PDD also has more on the construction of a drawing set, so understanding specs and drawing sets I had to take PDD twice and between the first time and the second I read through Building Construction Illustrated. Having minimal experience with details and materials I found it helpful. I also used Elif's ARE questions doing a quiz or two each day the week before (https://arequestions.com/). This was helpful to see what topics I needed to dig deeper into. Hope that helps some!

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    Joseph Petrarca

    I just purchased the "arequestions" for PDD.  Excellent resource.

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    Joseph Petrarca

    From experience, is there any PPD content that does NOT show up on PDD?

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    Christina Yessios (Edited )

    Hi Gwendolyn, 

    Thanks for the feedback, that was helpful !

    Joseph and anyone else tackling these two exams-

    I was able to take and pass both one after the other and I do recommend studying for both at the same time, there is a lot of overlap, although I have seen others say they don't agree with that. My study approach was relying heavily on Amber Book Systems and Construction sections (I felt the cost was worth it, you can get a discount on the program and push yourself through it in a month if possible).  His Code Case Study practice problems are very useful.  Also doing most of the Hyperfine study problems, taking good notes while reviewing both and reviewing those intensely 1-2 days before the exam.  I found that to be enough although you can also sign up for PPI online and do their practice exams the week before the exam.  

    I agree with Gwendolyn's description that while material you need to study is similar, PPD is more about the concepts and PDD has more focus on being able to identify items in a wall section, MEP plan, or Arch plan that is relevant to experience coordinating CDs.  At the same time there was at least one question about flashing location etc on the PPD exam, but more of those type of questions on PDD.  

    Between the two I found the structural questions to be similar type and few (about 3-4 per exam), more on the intuitive side, not really requiring calculations. I wouldn't spend a lot of time studying structural calcs if any, recommend just basic free body diagram analysis.  You should have understanding of deflection for beams and frames depending on load/ support configuration.  Important to be clear on difference between moment frame, shear wall and braced frame; general concepts about how to avoid failure in seismic and how masonry works in seismic; concepts of wind pressure on a building. 

    The PDD exam doesn't include much on site configuration while the PPD has more emphasis on that, you should be clear on the best massing and configuration for different climates (actually PPI covers this well).  Try and cover some material sustainability/ recycling, sun orientation and identifying MEP equipment within a building diagram for both. PDD had more emphasis on reviewing cost estimates and value engineering which I find tends to be more straightforward. 

    I hope that helps a bit.  

    Best,

    Christina 

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    Gang Chen

    PPD focuses on SD and DD, while PDD focuses on CD phase of the design.

    Gang Chen, Author, Architect, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Joseph Petrarca

    Yeah, that's the basics but it's an oversimplification. In reality the line between them is fairly fuzzy. You will still get IBC and ADA questions on PDD. You could get a site question where you need to calculate distance to property line , angle of repose, amount of excavation given a certain slope, etc. This is why so many people take them back to back. Just a guess but I'd say there is up to 40-50% overlap. If you do Ben's Hyperfine course, you'll get a good sense of the overall range of subject matter. He probably delves into a level of detail just a bit greater than the actual exam... Which is perfect.

    Elif Bayram's "arequestions. com" are very good for giving a sense of content and the level at which the exam will be. In my opinion, the two of them are "must reading" for both divisions. Extremely affordable too, and you're supporting actual young architects instead of a corporation. Both of them will answer emails to help you if you get into trouble as well.

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    Joseph Petrarca

    The positive aspect is that the subject matter of both of these divisions is very directly applicable to our day-to-day work. Great stuff to know.

    Another book that I think is extremely useful is Architectural Detailing. By Edward Allen. Extremely good approach at describing the basic principles of detailing (mostly mindsets about stopping water and air infiltration and accommodation of movement due to temperature and moisture). The principles are easy to understand and the description and drawings are very cogent and really help you to understand how detailing works. I'd say it's essential if you have not done a LOT of detailing in an office. I have been in an office for 27 years and I still learned a lot.

    It's much better than graphics standard... AGS is just too dense and too broad-reaching. To get to the content and mindsets that PDD addresses, you just got baffled and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information in AGS. Not cheap. $82 for paperback on Amazon. But really worth it IMHO.

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