Passed ARE in 11 Weeks with Amber Book (and) What I wish I knew ahead of time.

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    Madison Gilmore

    Hey Austin - Congrats! I am in a similar boat. PDD is my last test and I just failed my first attempt. After you failed your first PDD try, was there anything specific you changed about your studying that made you feel more prepared the second go around? New material that you supplemented with AB or perhaps new topics that you decided to dive deeper in?

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    Austin Wilson

    Hey Madison, I really don't think I did anything that different 2nd try.  I did go over the wood, steel, masonry, and concrete sections again on 1.5x speed which helped jog my memory on a few things.  The roofing, enclosure, and to a lesser extent systems are important to know as well.  I skipped site, and if you passed the other tests you'll probably know enough to answer the contracts corrections correctly.

    I did take a longer look at the details linked in the AB flash cards, and looked at some details in Building Construction Illustrated (if you don't have the book, not worth it for that IMO, just google curtain wall and flashing details).  I think I had a much better grasp of details 2nd time around.  I also did the PDD practice test again, and read the answers for the PPD test.  They added some new answers in the past 2 months.

    But honestly I credit my passing mostly on learning HOW to take the ARE better, meaning taking a look at the questions and getting rid of the extraneous information, figuring out what the question is REALLY asking, which fortunately often makes the question much easier.  About half way through I realized if I didn't pass I wouldn't know how to study differently.  The only other advice I could give is to study other terms for things.  AB uses the same terms a lot, don't get thrown off if a similar term is used that you're not familiar with.  I don't really know how to study for that, but most of them are common sense.  Trust your common sense, stay calm and you'll do fine.

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    Doh Young Kim

    Congrats Austin! thanks for sharing your tips and experience.

    How much time did you give between exams? 1 day? couple days? 2 weeks?

    I've finished pcm and pjm. i'm planning to take CE -> PA -> PPD -> PDD and i'm not sure when to schedule for CE. should I wait until I go through all the contents of Amber book then, take all remaining four, maybe a week apart for each exam?

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    Brett Bowers

    Doh - I can't speak to AmberBook, but I studied PjM+CE together. Took CE yesterday and PjM today. In hindsight, I would have studied/taken PcM+PjM+CE together, considering the considerable amount of overlap and the foundation of knowledge coming from AHPP and contracts.

    The PjM exam already covers bidding & CA phases - and the CE exam is simply a deeper dive into those phases. It adds in the basics regarding; site analysis & soils; hazardous materials & remediation; excavation & foundations; testing & analyses; project closeout; CSI divisions & specifications; typical exterior wall sections & waterproofing. There's less focus on project delivery methods & pricing, but more of a focus on contracts/responsibilities & CA (G-series) documents.

    Depending on how fresh PjM still is to you, I'd get right back into it and get CE out of the way before moving on to PA+PPD+PDD. 

     

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    Austin Wilson

    Doh, I'd study everything first. There's always a few crossover questions on each exam and it's better to be familiar with all the content. Normally the crossover questions are easier so you don't need a really detailed grasp on the content.

    If you can schedule the tests 2 days in a row with a few days in between sets I'd do that.

    I took 3 in a row my first time and I was pretty burnt out by test 3. Just like training to be in shape, interval training seems to be the most effective and least daunting for people instead of a sprint or marathon.

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    Zachary Petrus

    Hi Austin! Thank you so much for this post, it is very insightful and you went into much more detail than a lot of posts on here.

    I saw that you recommended going through the whole Amberbook before taking any of the exams, but I am curious how quickly you went through the Amberbook? I am about 2 weeks in now and it says I am 27% through it so I am on track to go through it in about 7-8 weeks total.

    Did you take notes/draw diagrams as you went through? If so, how often did you go back and study your notes each week throughout the course? Or would you recommend just powering through Amberbook and using the flashcards/practice exams to study?

    Thanks again!!

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    Cindy Maleike

    Hi Zachary! I used AmberBook for my last 2 exams, PPD and PDD, and I only paid for 2 months subscription but, now, I wish I had planned it better to do it for 3 months instead. I failed PPD two weeks ago (failed score was 508, need 550 to pass) and passed PDD yesterday (first try). I went through 80% of the total course (I didn’t do the “practice” course, and missed the flash cards and practice exams) but this was because I took a lot of notes on all the courses I did, as Professor Ermann suggests, and watched some of the videos more than once. So, if you are the type of person that relies on note taking to aid in information retention, I would highly suggest that and to extend your AmberBook to 3 months. I’m planning on getting back on it a month before retaking PPD. Good luck with your studies!!

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