I failed PDD. I'm quite upset cause I used all the resources listed here that are helping people pass. Amber, Black Spectacles, Hyperfine, Elif's Questions, Practice Tests all of it. I felt really confident going into the test and even while taking the test I felt like some of the questions were easy (ha, how dare she). Clearly I missed the mark.
I will say that one of the things about the test that stood out to me was when people say general concepts are enough to study for a test, they're right sort of. Walk with me on this journey here:
Yes, it's true you need to understand general concepts of basic building science and systems. But I think what people mean by that is that you need to understand the multiple roles that a particular concept plays. We all know that there are specific things that a vapor barrier, rigid insulation, air gaps, CAV systems, etc. do. Why? Because we're all reading and watching the same material. BUT, we need to go a step further and think of the primary, secondary, and supplemental roles these concepts play, which can only be figured out by going a step further than what the prime suspects of materials give you. I got a question about a specific topic. If I mentioned what that specific topic was on here, I guarantee all of you would have the same response to that topic. Why? Because, all of the material we read/watched (including NCARB references) told us that. I'm so confident in that, I'd put money on it. But that response wasn't one of the options in the answer. That's where I feel the terms "general concepts" should be elaborated on. A true understanding of a general concept is understanding the in's and out's of why something is the way it is. It's a detailing test. Know the pieces of the detail and their multiple roles. (this is my hot take on the material, take it or leave it, I don't care)
I will reiterate that studying calculations are absolutely a waste of time. I hate math, I'm terrible at it. You can ask my colleagues. All the stuff I saw on my test was simple math. If I can handle it, you can too. Roll your eyes all you want, but trust me. Don't sweat math.
So rather than venting frustration (I've done plenty of that already), I want an action plan. Back to my original point of this post: HOW are you guys studying? Is it just reading and taking notes? Flashcards? Questions? Are you guys organizing your notes in a specific way?
I read and take notes, and a few flashcards based on what I get wrong, and a LOT of practice questions where I'm looking up wrong answers. Does anyone else have more suggestions? I'm ready to try something creative to study.
Also, I know a lot of people have gripes with various materials and NCARB. That's fine, you're allowed to have an opinion on that. But I need this post to be productive, and I know other people are going to benefit from hearing about how people study. So if you've got an ax to grind with a resource or NCARB, please respectfully take it somewhere else. I just want to pass.
Last note: If anyone is curious about how my testing experience was, it was fine. No crashes, zoomed in on PDFs in the case study and could clearly see the drawings. Whiteboard functioned perfectly. The *only* thing was that sometimes my calculator didn't show up on the screen. But before I panicked about it, I went to the next question, came back to the previous question, clicked on the calculator, and it was back. I was fine. I feel terrible for anyone who had an experience that was otherwise, but I didn't experience anything negative and I was content with my testing experience.
Good luck everyone, we can do it. I spent most of yesterday feeling like garbage, but the last thing I'll ever do is let a few tests stand between me and a license, or let a fail define me. I'm so much better than that and so are you.
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