Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Building Section Vignette and Multiple Choice

Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby ladyshouse » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:44 am

Hello!

I am super frustrated that I can't seem to pass this exam (and it's the only exam that I have taken so far). I have a little over 5 years of experience in mostly CA work. Everyone has said to take this exam first since it relates so closely to what we actually do in the office. I have has either a level 2 or 3 on the bulk of the questions (Construction Dwgs and Project Manual).

I have studied anything and everything: Kaplan, Ballast, Schiff Harden Lectures, A210/B101 docs with and without commentary, Designer Hacks, and Dorf videos.

I don't know what I am doing wrong. Someone please help! :?
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby lavenam » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:18 pm

Sorry, thats super frustrating... Some helpful resources other than what you mentioned below are Caroline's, Rich's, Jenny's, and Emily's notes. You can find those in a quick google search. Would also recommend reading through the first couple chapters of the AHPP on ethics & researching commissioning.

Have you tried taking any other exams? I've heard theres overlap between different tests and a good strategy is to keep on going with PPP and come back to CDS later.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby ladyshouse » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:48 pm

lavenam, thanks for the reply. I have studied Jenny's, Emily's, Carolines, and Rich's notes. I feel like maybe I'm just a poor test taker. I have signed up for PPP and realized that that exam is even more difficult than CDS.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:24 pm

Try taking some of the other exams. A pass in SPD or SD would help boost your confidence! I failed BDCS and went on to SPD, which was helpful because the information was much more tangible and there was less of it. The more experience you get taking the exams, the better you'll feel about it.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby alehr » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:55 pm

Sorry to hear. I can't offer much advice on this exam because I'm in the same boat as you. Three fails on CDS for me. But I agree with the other comments. Take a stab at another exam. A pass will boost your ego for the next attempt.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby ladyshouse » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:32 am

thanks for the advice. I will be taking PPP next and just keep going from there.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby chandrab » Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:45 pm

YES try a different one and catch your flow!

My recollection from the ones I passed is that a lot seemed hinged on silly drafting tricks in the vignettes. Like having the top of foundation wall level with top of slab (despite the fact that there are a number of ways to build a slab and foundation wall) or making sure all the walls were joined by zooming way in.

I'm taking CDs again next month, as my first exam in a long time. I'd taken and passed 4 of them (including CDs) slowly over the years, but they all expired with the rolling clock. So I've been an intern architect for over 20 years. It's hard to make time for these things so it's good you're doing it now.

Keep on it, you can do this.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby vrcat25 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:57 pm

I passed CDS and SPD on second try, but i'm on my 4th attempt at PPP. Oddly enough, I felt as though PPP was the easiest of the 3. After taking these tests multiple times and getting a good feel for the questions, I've come to realize that they are pure hogwash. I wouldn't worry about it. just keep taking them every 2 months until you get some decent questions. There's really no rhyme or reason to 50% of the questions that have been on my tests. Actually, the last time i took PPP, I had about 80% WTF questions. I was tempted to switch over to 5.0, but the questions seem to be MORE subjective. NO THANKS! Ill just keep forking out money until i'm lucky enough to get a decent test. These tests are a real joke and I totally understand your pain.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby vbrash » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:00 pm

I used the ARE Prep for CDS, and passed my first time. I find that the audio is really helpful in that David explains and walks you through the contract documents. I follow along with reading in the study guide. I found that also not dragging out the studying works for me, I usually study for 3 weeks at the most. If you supplement your studying with Jennys/Caroline Notes you basically have the Kaplan/Ballast study guides. Hope this helps.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby mimi » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:40 am

There is a website called 'The Spec Guy' which I used for help with my CDT exam. They e-mail you a fact/question every day and they also have some study guides. The text for the CSI tests is extremely helpful. If you google CSI you will find a lot of informtion on their website. It is more organized than the ARE study material. Also, I just memorized a lot of stuff. I memorized the chart that explains the organization of materials (contracts, drawings, specs, etc.) The Schiff Harden lectures are great at giving a different perspective on the legal relationships and issues. I memorized the ADA stuff and the dimensions for the wheelchair accessibility issues. I found that for this topic, principles were too general and I had to get the facts and numbers memorized along with the relationships between the Contractor, Architect and Client.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby charlottebe » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:36 am

Thanks for sharing Ladyshouse, I really feel for you . I actually passed PPP, SD on the first tries. But that was years ago. Now, after having baby and everything, when I try get to back to work, my brain seems lost functions. Failed BCBD, and CDS. And my clock is expiring next year. It is very frustrating. But I guess we just have to diving deeper and keep fighting, to set an example for our kids and for ourselves.

Also I appreciate the information above, will definitely use them.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby coracerv » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:48 am

Last night I found your post and I am really nervous about this test. Last summer I failed PPP, I did not study enough, I thought I was taking the wrong exam. On November of last year I enrolled in this CD Bootcamp program, I followed their study guide and advice... Last night I started practicing ARE CDs Ballast questions and I was getting almost every single one wrong. My understanding is that I have to at least score 70% :?. My exam is in three weeks, I do not want to reschedule it, and I if I fail it I will take it again and again!!.. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING!!! Most of the time I listened to the Schiff Harden lectures while I am driving to work, I have read B101 and A201 with commentary, I read Ballast only the chapters related to CDs, I have read a few chapters on 4.0 CDs Kaplan, and I have read parts of the Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice (not easy to read). I listened to black spectacles, I have been practicing the different versions of the vignettes (4.0, 3.1 and Dorf's videos and 4.0 shaft elevator vignette option). I practiced the Architect Exam Prep (AEP) multiple choice simulator (AEP is easy), I have practiced questions on the Construction Documents and Service ARE Mock Exam Gang Chen, these questions are tricky and long, but it is a good resource... I need to go back to my reading on Ballast and Kaplan.

Your advice is greatly appreciated, What can I study in three weeks... I have created a bunch of flash cards...As you can tell English is my second language and I studied architecture in Mexico... I have been working in United States since 2004.

Gracias :) !
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:35 pm

coracerv wrote: Last night I started practicing ARE CDs Ballast questions and I was getting almost every single one wrong. My understanding is that I have to at least score 70%


Don't stress about getting a 70% on the Ballast questions! They are pretty hard and, in my experience, generally directed really specifically to the reading with tricky wording. I almost always go through the Ballast questions, and get around 50% right and then end up passing. It's more important that you can use the questions as a learning tool, reviewing the questions you missed and why they picked what they picked. Sometimes I have to go back to the text and review the specific area where they cover the info that I missed so I make sure I get the concept. Sometimes I even add the questions I'm having trouble with into my flashcard pile to make sure I regularly review it.

Are you using flashcards that you make yourself and/or NALSA? Those were pretty helpful for me for all of the SPD/CDS/PPP/SD set.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby drummer03 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:37 pm

I Understand your pain! I failed this test 3 times and decided to take a break from it. Take the advise of studying for SP&D and PPP. I took those and when I came back to studying CDS I made more sense. If I was you I will focus more on the contracts..AIA A201, B101, and A101 and C141. I know they are hard to read and understand but with the supplemental knowledge of studying for the other two you will pass. I took it over two weeks ago and I finally passed it. The understanding of contracts is key!
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby coracerv » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:16 pm

I am creating my own flash cards and I have the 3.1 flash cards. My exam is in two weeks and I am scoring less than 50% in Ballast practice questions. I was thinking on rescheduling the exam, but I will just take it. I have been reading the contracts and listening to the Schiff Harden seminars. Reading Ballast and Kaplan.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby vrcat25 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:53 am

I realize that this post is older, but for anybody having trouble passing CDS, the most important resource for me was "Construction Documents and Services - ARE sample problems"

It has multiple vignette's and practice tests that helped me to pass CDS on my second try. Besides that, I only studied "Caroline's notes" and the AIA document

By far "ARE sample problems" was the most helpful for me and some of the questions were actually on my test.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby coracerv » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:38 am

vrcat25 wrote:I realize that this post is older, but for anybody having trouble passing CDS, the most important resource for me was "Construction Documents and Services - ARE sample problems"

It has multiple vignette's and practice tests that helped me to pass CDS on my second try. Besides that, I only studied "Caroline's notes" and the AIA document

By far "ARE sample problems" was the most helpful for me and some of the questions were actually on my test.


Hi Vrcat25,

I have been practicing the ARE sample problems. I am also reading the AIA documents. I will keep reading and practicing questions. I do not feel well prepare for this exam and it is frustrating that I haven't passed any exam. Thank you :) !
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby hnQ_9999 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:14 pm

ladyshouse wrote:Hello!

I am super frustrated that I can't seem to pass this exam (and it's the only exam that I have taken so far). I have a little over 5 years of experience in mostly CA work. Everyone has said to take this exam first since it relates so closely to what we actually do in the office. I have has either a level 2 or 3 on the bulk of the questions (Construction Dwgs and Project Manual).

I have studied anything and everything: Kaplan, Ballast, Schiff Harden Lectures, A210/B101 docs with and without commentary, Designer Hacks, and Dorf videos.

I don't know what I am doing wrong. Someone please help! :?


Hello Ladyshouse.
We are in the same boat. I was a little bit luckier than you, that I passed it on the fourth.
I know your feeling. Actually my feeling went through stages as each time I failed:
1st: I hated my myself.
2nd: I hated NCARB
3rd: I hated the study materials.
4th: luckily I passed.
So just stay cool and follow people advise here.
Take other tests and reread your materials in different angles.
A lot of us here in CSE forum had already passed CD,
yet still struggle with the test, which 35% is dealing with CD still.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby Theotheranonymous » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:44 pm

I.feel.your.pain. Just keep on keepin on. We'll get there.

I have failed it 3 times already, and have recently taken it again. I don't feel good about it at all. The worst part is that I almost (hopefully didn't) mess up the vignette at the last minute :oops: . The vignette for this exam is stupid easy, and if my little slip up with the sketch line accidentally being dragged (it (hopefully not) almost threw off my ceiling height measurement..)) throw off my whole vignette I might lose it. I have passed the vignette all 3 times, but the multiple choice I have been all over the place... I passed SPD, and PPP no sweat, but this CDS exam is driving me nuts. I am in a predicament and not sure, but it sounds like you may be as well. I'd like to get peoples opinions on how to handle my situation:

- I have passed PPP and SPD, but not CDS. If I fail it this go-round I will have to wait until August to take it again because of the 3 test in a running year policy...
- I failed the exam, and have to wait until August to re-take CDS. In which case I could try to knock out the remaining exams in 4.0 prior to August.
- Wait a long period.. again.. and have another crack at it, then transition or stay in 4.0

So three options:
If I fail and stay in 4.0 I have 5 exams left.
If I fail and transition to 5.0 I have 5 exams left.
If I pass and stay in 4.0 I have 4 exams left.
If I pass and transition to 5.0 I have 2 exams left.

My boss asks me how many I have left and I hate answering. It is difficult to answer the question due to being in the transition period... Seeing as she took the exam with a Mayliner, the two don't really correlate...
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:01 am

Theother, you should start your own thread with your question. I'm sure you'd get more responses.
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby Theotheranonymous » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:53 pm

Yeah.. wasnt sure...

Found out today I passed CDS. I will soon have a barrel fire with all of my CDs, PPP, and SPD materials.

You will all make it!! Keep your head up!!
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby ladyshouse » Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:40 pm

So sorry for the delay! But I finally passed CDS and PPP. Working on SPD but may just skip and transition to 5.0 now. I don't know what happened (maybe I just got smart over night :D )

thanks for all of the support!
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Re: Failed CDS 4 TIMES!!

Postby AREator » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:14 pm

ladyshouse wrote:So sorry for the delay! But I finally passed CDS and PPP. Working on SPD but may just skip and transition to 5.0 now. I don't know what happened (maybe I just got smart over night :D )

thanks for all of the support!


I think you will find SPD easier. Took me two tries, but I had very little experience the first time. The SPD study list (from NCARB) is absurd - 14 texts! but I didn't study all those. Just Kaplan, and make 50 or 60 of your own flashcards as you read.
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