PDD final week prep - focus points?!

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    Scott Thorson

    I took PDD earlier this month. I would say I encountered few calculations, maybe 2-3 and they were not in depth. I would suggest focusing more on the "properties, details" etc as you put it. And know the shapes of moments/shear.

    Due to time restrictions on studying I made a specific choice to punt on studying the very specific structural calculations that are in Brightwood and Ballast. I figured at most a couple of those questions would pop up and it wouldn't sink me if I got them wrong. That being said, I haven't received my exam results so I can't say if my strategy worked! :-)

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    David Kaplan

    Aspen,

    There is a lot of overlap between PPD and PDD, so the good news is that you've already done most of the studying you need to do.  I agree with Scott above - DO NOT kill yourself on formulas.  You'll walk out of the PDD test saying, "Man, why did I waste all my time with that?"

    BIGGEST THING: you really, really need to know your way around a set of Construction Documents.  If I asked you a question about doors, you need to be able to say to yourself "I know what drawings I could find that answer on in a drawing set."  If an owner makes a change to a project, you need to be able to understand that change and know what drawings would now need to be revised as a result.  You also need to be able to do the basic looking at a floor plan and knowing how its details are keyed, and then finding and understanding those details within the drawing set.  

    Wall sections.  You need to have an understanding about insulation, R- and U-value, and how water gets out of wall assemblies.  Look at the various construction types.  I believe that the Handbook lists exact details you should be familiar with.  I haven't tested in 3 years so the book may very well have changed, but when I tested it specifically said "curtain wall, storefront, and flashing details" as one thing to know.  You better believe I got a bunch of questions on those.

    When it comes to structure and MEP systems, PPD was more "which system should we use?"  We're past that now in PDD.  The system has been selected. Now we have to coordinate it with our architecture.  You will have questions regarding that.  You should be aware however of ramifications for when MEP and structure changes - what needs to be coordinated when that happens?  You tell an engineer "I can't have a column here, we need to take that out." You should be able to understand what effect that has conceptually on their structural system.  MEP guy says "sorry this duct needs to increase in size."  How does that affect you?

    This is where I would focus my time during this last week.  

    Hope this helps.

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    Aspen Thorstenson

    Very helpful! Thank you both. I got passive house certified while in school, so luckily have some of that knowledge built in for sustainability, VB's, insulation, details, thermal bridging, etc. I am always surprised by a few questions on the AREs and have to remember its so broad that I can't touch everything. Just have to resist  being a perfectionist for the test period.

    Fingers crossed you get your results soon Scott!

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    Scott Thorson

    I definitely agree about being surprised by some of the questions and why they are on the exam.

    While respecting the Community's rules, I will say literally the first question on my PDD exam was super specific and was not in any study material or professional work I had ever seen. I had absolutely no clue what the answer was and had to just quickly move on and refocus.

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