Tips for understanding building systems



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    David Kaplan


    I strongly encourage you to pick up the Architect's Studio Companion if you do not already have it.  It has very simple diagrams and explanations of all the systems, why you should choose them, when you should choose them, etc. and explains well to us architects the components that make up each.  To me this book was paramount for PPD and PDD, and it does the same exact thing for structural systems as well.  Can't recommend it enough.

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    Taneesa Morris

    The Architect's Studio Companion is a great book, but I recommend getting the 5th version if you can find it cheaper. My friend had the newest version and the book quality is not as good, and my version had more simple tables when we compared our book versions. If you have the MEEB book looking at the diagrams are great, and there is some study guides out there (like Hyperfine) that recommend which chapters to read. David Thaddeus has a great structure courses and I believe he has videos as well you can watch from online. I took his in-person seminar awhile back and gave us a great workbook with reference that he works through. Not sure of cost, but if you have a hard time with understanding structures and how loads affect materials he is a great resource. 

    Now I had a hard time passing those exams, and I felt comfortable with systems and structures. I failed PPD 3 time and PPD 1 time before passing both in the same week just recently and study less for a month this last time. One of my friends gave me good advice on a good game plan on taking the exam, you dont need to answer every math question. I get test anxiety and it affects my judgement and I have the need to answer every question and as the time ticks away my judgement gets worse. 

    My full exam strategy:

    I skipped every question at the beginning that was math and didn't try to solve it at the beginning. I went through all the questions that I could answer within two minutes, flagging a few that I was not as comfortable with. Than focused on the Case studies. After I had gone through the "easy" questions and case studies I went back through the unanswered questions and did the math questions that I knew off the top of my head on how to solve, If I was unsure I passed it up. I than read through the flagged questions that I wasn't confident in my answers or knew it would take me a little more brain power. Than I took a break with about an hour left on both exams, ate some food thought to myself a little bit on those questions I was unsure of. Once I finished my break I started on the questions that did not require math and tried to answer them with my best ability. I than went through the difficult questions that I knew I had a hard time finding the correct answer and than the math questions that I was not as sure on how to solve.  

    I am a roll over from the ARE4.0 and I only had to take the PPD and PDD of the ARE 5.0. I had a harder time with the newer exams style because of time management and some of the exams have some serious time trap questions. Good luck. 

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