PPD Fail and Upcoming PDD

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    Gang Chen

    If I were you, I’d take PDD first because PPD and PDD has a lot of overlap. Taking another exam first will expand your knowledge base and increase you chance of passing for both divisions.

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

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    Joseph Petrarca

    I don't think it matters which you take next. Personal preference. You can redo PPD and know that you are already familiar with the content, or get your head in a slightly different space with PDD.
    Thirteen years of experience should be more than enough to help you with these two divisions. I'd suggest changing up your study approach or augment with new approaches. You have GOT to have a firm grasp on IBC for PPD. Much less so for PDD.

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    Joseph Petrarca

    The content of both of these divisions has been discussed a great deal. The trick is to know to what DEPTH to study. The exams do not typically require you to have extensive knowledge.... The basic level of knowledge for each subject area is what's required. But you need to study a lot of material to get that. Although the level of knowledge isn't very high for each subject area, the aggregate of the studying will also enable you to tackle questions which may span several subject areas. Example... A question may give certain parameters of an existing building and ask what would be the best strategy for th Architect to implement regarding schedule priority. You may have to know about roofing systems, seismic, brick veneer systems and structural bracing systems. These types of questions are not uncommon and really embody what ARE 5.0 is trying to achieve. Namely, getting us to think like architects.

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    Cassandra Cook

    I have 10 years experience and every time I took PPD or PDD I left feeling like I had studied for the wrong exam.  The exam content level is not consistent from one exam to a retake.  For example the first time I took PPD I had multiple structural calculation questions, the second time I took it I did not have a single structural question.  It was infuriating.

    As far as the close scoring, I've had the same thing, level 4 and 5 for most of the sections then a level 1 for a category that was only 5-10% of the exam.  WTF?!  I found out that the cut lines are not disclosed and they fluctuate depending upon the combination of content you get on your exam.  Completely asinine concept for a professional exam.

    I have found that my experience has worked against me in these exams.  So what I do is ask myself "How would a 25 year old answer?"  This helps me from overthinking the questions.  Also get Building Codes Illustrated if you don't already have it, it's a fabulous resource.

    Having taken both PPD and PDD I would say it doesn't matter which one you take next, the information overlaps.

    Best of luck!

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    Joseph Petrarca

    When you finally pass your last division... Leaving this hall of mirrors behind will be such a relief. It's a torturous gauntlet where logic doesn't exist and arbitrary changes in the system always seem to create yet another obstacle to passing. Maybe some of us will get the opportunity to join NCARB and change things for the better.

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    Monica Retzke

    My advice  is take PPD again.  My PPD and PDD exam were totally different. First time took PDD  I left feeling like I studied for the wrong exam too, failed. I took PPD  6 weeks later and passed. There are some crazy questions and I have 10 years of experience in US but I have a foreign degree. I feel pretty good with  all the contents, everyone was telling I would pass. I studied a lot still failed. I left the exam exhausted because half way I knew I was behind in time. Time is the biggest problem in this exam.  The whole idea that the change to ARE 5.0 was that it would align with our  day-to-day office experience is bullshit. Experience means nothing on this exams. 

    Resources that I used and  were pretty good: ppitopass quiz generator ( now they have even case studies), Design Hacks and Hiperfine are also very helpful. Google  Karen' PDD and PPD notes. 

    Even tough  some  reference books overlap on PPD and PDD they are total different exams. I know people that passed both with only  a week between each exams but I know 10 more people that failed both and several times. The pass rate for both exam are ridiculous low compared to 4.0 rates, it is not a surprise NCARB  made changes to it.

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    Brian Blodnikar

    Thank you everyone for responding to my post.  I took the PDD today and got a likely to pass.  It seemed like it was easier than PPD.  I don't want to say I enjoyed the PDD exam but I liked the test questions and format better than the PPD I took during the fall which makes sense since they are different exam subjects.  I was not impressed with the whiteboard and missed using the scratch paper.  I had a glimmer of hope when I was told to keep my pen when I went into the testing area, but no.  Even the person checking me in said she did not understand why they took away the scratch paper.  I told her NCARB did it to make it an even playing field for people taking the exams on home.  She did not agree with that decision either.  

    Anyways on to retake the PPD and be done!

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