Passed PPD! Now for PDD... Lot of equations???

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    David Kaplan

    Bryan,

    If I can impart on you ANY advice here, it is to NOT overstudy structural calculations.  PERIOD.  Many people on this Forum have echoed this sentiment - yes, you will likely get a "few" (and I stress a few) structural calculations questions, but they will be straightforward and at a basic level.  I can't speak for everyone's exam experiences, but personally I did not encounter anything to the level of sizing beams or other structural elements.  

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    Bryan Moore (Edited )

    Thank you for the reassurance David, that's a relief to hear. Hope you're doing well on your path to licensure.

    Edit: Are shear/moment diagram/calculations in the same potential range of "few and simple" equations I would be faced with? 

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    Joseph Petrarca

    Bryan

    You should not be facing very much serious structural, mechanical, lighting or electrical stuff. That was your PPD. In no way will (or should) you spend any time memorizing formulae.  Anything that you need beyond EXTREMELY basic stuff will be given to you in exam resources.  Just like your PPD.  Don't chew up brain cells and time.  This is really focusing on details and a small amount of estimating work.  If you go thru Elif Bayram's questions (quizes and exams) you will get  a very real sense of the level that the questions will be presented.  (arequestions.com)

    You have to know the major components of wood-frame structures, light gage steel framing, steel structures, steel joints, bolt connections, door and window terminology, how a storefront and curtainwall function, and how they differ, you have to know roof types and details...all the flashings, counter flashings...all that stuff, super important....also parapet details and top coping/caps!  Roof drains...where and how water leakage will occur...air barriers, vapor barriers, rains screen assemblies, various insulation properties, R values...relative costs....mortar types, brick types, brick shapes, Portland cement types, concrete types...CAVITY WALLS, masonry veneer, Window sills, door thresholds...types of glass and how they are different and when you would use each...fasteners...the galvanic reaction chart...this is important. You don't need to memorize the chart completely but have a very good understanding about which metals are more anodic and how where they are located on the chart will affect corrosion activity...and which material is going to corrode.  Termite shields and how to best protect a structure from termites.....Really important. also the CSI Masterformat spec divisions...know all the major ones for sure.  You won't have resources on the exam to help you with that....you get the idea. 

    One resource that I have found invaluable is Architectural Detailing, by Allen/Rand.  I've been doing this scope of work in offices for almost thirty years and have been a carpenter for many years.  I learned a lot.  The book tackles detailing by certain principles.  That is, common approaches that are used in many different situations to deal with water, air and wind infiltration, temperature and building movement, etc.  If I remember, there are five major principals, or mechanical methods of dealing with physics, and they break it down as to how these principles play out in curtainwall mullions and sills, window sill details, parapet and flashing details, etc.  (such as Upstands, and capillary breaks)  It's easy to read and interesting.  Unlike Architectural Graphic Standards, which just has way way too much data to be a good study resource in my opinion.

    The illustrations are excellent and tie in perfectly with the text.  Highly recommended.

    In my opinion, the whole gig here, and you know from PPD, is to be smart about what you are studying and at what level of detail.  Ideally you want to be studying at maybe one level of detail greater (at MOST) than the exam will present you with.  That way you'll have a deeper understanding of how stuff works and be able to make intelligent decisions that go beyond "place the items where they below on the wall section" (although there will be a lot of that.)  You don't want to overwhelm your brain studying material that you won't be tested on or studying at too great a level of detail.  for example....most of the Ballast stuff in my opinion is too deep.  You just won't face material at that level.  Similarly, MEEB, while an excellent resource, is frequently really getting into nitty-gritty.  You have to use those resources with a critical eye...gleaning out the Important Principles and Concepts and bypassing when it starts getting too specific.

    And remember, you only need to get a "D". Don't be proud. Nobody will know if you got a D or an A. Not even you.

    Test strategy:  Answer ALL he questions.  At least take a good guess and put something down and mark it for review later on.  I did this with all the calculation ones.  Questions that were multi-step and where there was a pretty good chance for error under pressure and definitely any questions that seem like they are going to take more than a couple minutes!  Can't stress that enough.  Head-scratcher?  MARK IT and MOVE ON!  Come back to them at the end when you know you have clear headspace and start knocking them off one by one.  (don't forget to plot your break strategy) Remember...all the questions, even the odd case study ones, are worth one point.  My analogy is a video game.  You got the flying saucers flying across the screen and you have to shoot them,  The slow fat ones are one point...and the hard, fast, tiny ones...are ALSO worth ONE POINT!  Don't waste your quarter trying to hit the fast ones until you have knocked off all the slow easy ones.  There are NCARB "testing" questions in there...probably one or two....these will seem odd or complex or from another division. These one or two questions are not scored.  So if something seems totally way out in left field, allow your mind to dismiss it as an NCARB curveball.  Mark it and move on.

    Good luck.  Most of us have been detailing in an office for at least  couple of years.  This should be the easiest of all the divisions.  It's very nuts and bolts.  (speaking of which, know your bolt types, AISC connection types...)

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    Alison Chen

    Congrats! I second the above. Also (in line with what many have said previously on this forum) I found that Ballast is really not a good resource for PDD. It's way too detailed and includes a ton of unnecessary calculations that just bog you down when you could be studying more useful things. 

    Regarding the shear/moment diagram/calculations I think it's important to know what shear and moment are relative to each other and the forces acting upon the beam. I had studied how to calculate beam loads and max moment but personally never had to use that knowledge. As you probably know, the formulas and shear/moment diagrams for the most common beam loading conditions are provided in the exam resources. 

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    Bryan Moore

    Thank you Alison, 

    I've been flying through the PDD chapter in the Ballast book because "ignorable" equations make up most of the content. I'll be supplementing the Ballast with Designer Hacks, Hyperfine courses, PPI practice exams and whatever the PPI flashcards suggest is necessary.

    And that's helpful, I can solve shear moment diagrams comfortably. I'll just familiarize myself with the provided equations instead of continuing practice on drawing and solving shear/moment diagrams.

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    Joseph Petrarca

    I love the Hyperfine stuff but his PPD/PDD package is really more geared to PPD. Read the topics I suggest above. I found that there was significantly more difference between PPD and PDD than I thought there would be PDD is VERY much about the details.

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    Bryan Moore

    Thank you Joseph, 

    That's a little unfortunate because I just passed PPD. Did you see enough PDD content in the Hyperfine course to justify purchasing?

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    Joseph Petrarca

    My personal opinion is no.... It really is a PPD resource. And a great one!

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    Bryan Moore

    That's helpful Joseph, thank you!

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    Joseph Petrarca (Edited )

    Definitely go to arequestions. com and get Elif's practice quizes and exams. This is the closest thing I have seen to the actual exam. Well worth it. She provides some rather short answers that are useful if you don't know the question content. I would frequently jump off and go research a topic on my own if I didn't understand it perfectly. The exams are timed and you can view correct/incorrect after each question  or wait til the end. After you have done all the quizzes (12).... Take exam 1, study the ones you got wrong and then take exam 2 at the end of all your studying.

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    Joseph Petrarca

    Did I mention RAIN SCREENS, CAVITY WALLS, INSULATION , VAPOR BARRIERS AND PARAPET/ROOFING details?

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    Bryan Moore

    Great resource! I'll add that to my list of practice exams!

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    Joseph Petrarca

    Also a GREAT book for PDD is Architectural Detailing.... By Allen/Rand. Kinda expensive for a paperback at $82, but well worth it. I've been doing this work for decades and I learned a lot from that. It's very clear, with great diagrams. Much, much more digestible than Arch Graphic Standards... Which has WAY WAY too much information to be a good stuff resource. Take a look at the book.
    If you have not done at least 5-10 years if detailing in an office doing commercial work, get this book. .

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    Bryan Moore

    Thanks for the recommendation. I have done interior commercial CDs for 6 years, I could use some exterior wall section/detail practice.

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