Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby billyz » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:53 am

Thank you COACH and for all of you who regularly contribute to this awesome site. This has been a grueling process, but hearing (reading) tips, struggles, complaints, and success stories from others certainly helped push me through. I have been trudging through the ARE since 2011 - Crohn's diagnosis/surgery set me back and extended my clock for a little over a year - but i finally made it through and i am so relieved!!!!!

My path followed the "5 exam method" (PPP, CDS, SPD + PPD & PDD). I was hesitant to transition to 5.0, but i thought it was the best option because i only had 4 months before my passed sections started expiring. After deciding to transition, I immediately scheduled PPD and PDD for consecutive days. To maximize the number of times i could take these (3 times - factoring in 60 day waiting periods if i failed) i could only give myself 2 weeks of prep time prior to my first attempts. But i figured, what the heck - if i fail, it will be a good learning experience for my second attempt. So, i ordered the amber videos - i know, lots of money - and i crammed for 2 weeks watching videos and taking Ballast 5.0 practice tests. That's all i did and i PASSED BOTH!! And they were NOT DIFFICULT!!! I felt very well prepared - nothing caught me by surprise.

Sorry for the long post, but i think some of you need to hear this. ARE 5.0 is not the nightmare that VRCAT25 says it is. His/her posts scared the crap out of me, but boy were they wrong. ARE 5.0, PPD and PDD at least, are indeed more relevant to current architectural practice. PPD and PDD are very similar. I actually thought PDD was easier. Both mostly focused on SPD, BS, and BCDS material. I STUDIED NO STRUCTURAL, other than the steel, wood, and concrete amber videos. I may have had 4 or 5 structural questions......total....for both tests. The case studies were pretty straight forward. If you know how to navigate through the IBC, how to translate zoning requirements, and how to cross reference plans, elevations, and sections (you know, the stuff you should be doing at work every day), then you will be fine. I finished both tests with 30 minutes to spare. The most difficult part of these tests is enduring the 4.5 hours of staring at that screen....and the slow loading times for plans and code references...they really need to fix that.

In closing, don't be afraid to transition and try the 5 exam method. USE THE AMBER VIDEOS!! They are very, very, very helpful and worth the money!!! Lastly, i think i figured out why VRCAT25 is so negative...........i think he is really David Thaddeus.......he is upset because people will no longer need his seminars to pass the ARE!!!

Good luck!!

Billy
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby kerzzo » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:50 am

great news and great post! very encouraging.... thanks!
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby vrcat25 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:41 pm

:lol:

It really sounds like you're advertising for Amber and are just a troll since you posted the same thing twice in different threads...I doubt you even passed any of these tests. So, you passed all the tests with nothing but Amber?? Did you start using amber on year 1 or year 6?? I'm calling BS to all of your comments. It's very mentally sick of you if you are indeed using this forum to promote Amber when the time frames and posts you made just don't add up. Just curious. How did crohns disease effect you from taking all of these tests in 5 years?? Sounds like you're the real negative poster on here. At least i've been honest...
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby billyz » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:08 pm

Thanks VRCAT25. You're right, you have no idea what Crohn's disease is and how it's affected, and continues to affect me and my family - i'll leave it at that. Hopefully, you will continue to have good health as you continue to "read" and "study" your way through the ARE. I apologize for "calling you out" - i just wanted to give folks a positive spin on 5.0 since all i saw was negative. I truly wish you the best. Stay positive my friend.
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby blancovero » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:44 pm

Thank you Billyz for your post and hope you find a way to fight Crohn's... all the most positive vibes from here...
I transitioned from 4.0 to 5.0 and I am taking this test on Tuesday after failing PDD last month... I started my process in 2012 and also life interfered with my finish line but I stayed positive and I am sure I will conquered the summit soon.
Amber is a great source, I think Michael Erman has a very positive dynamic way to approach the tests.
Good luck with the rest of your life as RA and have a fun and most important HEALTHY Summer
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby vrcat25 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:06 pm

billyz wrote:Thanks VRCAT25. You're right, you have no idea what Crohn's disease is and how it's affected, and continues to affect me and my family - i'll leave it at that. Hopefully, you will continue to have good health as you continue to "read" and "study" your way through the ARE. I apologize for "calling you out" - i just wanted to give folks a positive spin on 5.0 since all i saw was negative. I truly wish you the best. Stay positive my friend.


You're right that i know nothing of crohn's and i wish you the best of luck and health. It struck a chord when you said my posts were negative because i think i have shared positive info, but if you read all 900+ of my post i consider you a "fan"so thanks! Sending positive vibes to your health and future. Take care.
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby billyz » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:28 pm

Thanks VRCAT25. Really didn't intend to offend you. I was just trying to insert some positive vibes into what can be a very frustrating, discouraging experience. I should not have made that joke at your expense and for that, i apologize. I have not read all of your posts but i am a fan of anyone trying to get through the crazy process of becoming a registered architect. Good luck to you as well.
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby amadeus » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:42 am

BillyZ congrats that is awesome news!! Especially with that type of disease to have to sit through two of the longest tests with that is nothing short of amazing.

VRCAT you have been negative with a lot of users. I get the frustration but this forum should not be used to discourage people with what you personally experienced. Share the experience in a way that motivates others to do better. If you get called out do not be defensive . Ask for feedback on what you can do to improve your chances of passing .
We are all in this together to help each other out. It doesn't matter if you posted 900 comments or 1 as long as what you post is for the greater good of this awesome community created by COACH.
I will say 900 posts is impressive and thank you for providing your experiences for others to learn from on those 900 posts. Use that passion you have to be an architect to help other be as passionate to pass :D

To all who passed and paid it forward with info on what is best to study thank you very much.
To all those who were positive and encouraging to all to keep moving forward than you very much.
When i pass my next two i will do the same and spread the positive energy and study materials used.

I am on the 3+2 bandwagon and have failed PPD and PDD once each and it was a great learning experience .Definitely difficult to pass these test with 2 weeks of cramming. Give yourself the time to study for these two exams and i agree take them not more than 2 weeks from eachother they are very similar and if you study for PDD it will help out with PPD. I was an early tester so my next 2 are free! Basically got to take practice exams for free and get a good peek at what 5.0 was all about. :geek: From my experience 5.0 is a great improvement over 4.0 . If you are on the fence with transitioning my advice is if you have only a couple left on 4.0 finish with that. If you already passed SPD , CDS and PPP make the jump you can pass in 2 more exams . Consider a fail as a practice exam but with the right amount of studying you will be done a lot sooner!


Currently Using These Study Materials:

ARE Coach Forums
Designerhacks.com practice exams for PDD and PDD
ARE Prep PPD and PDD and practice exams
Building Illustrated
MEEB
Caroline notes
Amber Book
(Lunch study sessions with our in house Structural , Civil and MEPR engineers)
(Lunch study sessions with our licensed Architects to go over IBC )
IBC illustrated
Gang Cheng Practice Exams for PDD and PPD
Ballast Practice Exams for PDD and PDD
Ballast Practice Problems for PDD and PDD
Ballast Study Material for 5.0

If there are any other great materials to look at please let me know it is greatly appreciated.

again congrats BillyZ !!
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby billyz » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:46 am

Thanks amadeus! Good luck with your final 2! I know you'll get it done this time - it looks like you're studying all the right things. When are you testing?
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby ablumetti » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:17 am

Congrats on your pass Bill!..i am sure you are relieved....I want to make clear to everyone on this thread, which everyone obviously should know by now, that everyone's testing experience will be different. I read above that Billy Z had 4-5 structures questions on both PPD and PDD collectively. Well, I had about 10 structures related questions on PPD alone. I studied my butt off to make sure I had building systems down pat...ya know since the test is about building systems and their integration. Had MAYBE 15 questions regarding building systems, nothing on plumbing, nothing on fire suppression, nothing on conveying systems, 1 question on a mechanical system and 1 question regarding an electrical calculation. THATS IT! It got to the point where I thought I was accidently sitting for PDD. I don't want to scare anyone, but being underprepared because others have said what they haven't encountered isn't a great strategy either. Study everything and anything you can find of the topic areas and be PREPARED to encounter a lot of what you studied little for and very little of things you spent a lot of time on....luck of the draw just like 4.0!!!
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby cianchetta0 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:20 am

ablumetti wrote:Congrats on your pass Bill!..i am sure you are relieved....I want to make clear to everyone on this thread, which everyone obviously should know by now, that everyone's testing experience will be different. I read above that Billy Z had 4-5 structures questions on both PPD and PDD collectively. Well, I had about 10 structures related questions on PPD alone. I studied my butt off to make sure I had building systems down pat...ya know since the test is about building systems and their integration. Had MAYBE 15 questions regarding building systems, nothing on plumbing, nothing on fire suppression, nothing on conveying systems, 1 question on a mechanical system and 1 question regarding an electrical calculation. THATS IT! It got to the point where I thought I was accidently sitting for PDD. I don't want to scare anyone, but being underprepared because others have said what they haven't encountered isn't a great strategy either. Study everything and anything you can find of the topic areas and be PREPARED to encounter a lot of what you studied little for and very little of things you spent a lot of time on....luck of the draw just like 4.0!!!


What about structural calculations? How in the heck do they expect us to spend 5-10 minutes on a structural calc. question when it's worth just 1 point. or would a calc. be more on PDD?
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby vrcat25 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:53 am

cianchetta0 wrote:What about structural calculations? How in the heck do they expect us to spend 5-10 minutes on a structural calc. question when it's worth just 1 point. or would a calc. be more on PDD?


For me, there was only a handful of structural questions and none of them required very much in terms of calculations. I'd focus on the overall concepts, bending moment, shear, etc. but the level of structural calculations is very minimal for PPD and PDD compared to SS. Every test is different, but ablumetti's test was probably the max amount of structures that i've heard of anybody encountering with 15 questions.
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby cianchetta0 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:23 am

vrcat25 wrote:
cianchetta0 wrote:What about structural calculations? How in the heck do they expect us to spend 5-10 minutes on a structural calc. question when it's worth just 1 point. or would a calc. be more on PDD?


For me, there was only a handful of structural questions and none of them required very much in terms of calculations. I'd focus on the overall concepts, bending moment, shear, etc. but the level of structural calculations is very minimal for PPD and PDD compared to SS. Every test is different, but ablumetti's test was probably the max amount of structures that i've heard of anybody encountering with 15 questions.


Roger that.
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby ablumetti » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:21 am

Hey guys...the calculations needed were supplied in the resources...It was just the shear number (no pun intended) of structural related questions I didn't anticipate. One line diagrams, moment/shear diagrams, concepts..i anticipated 2-4...5 the max. but it was approx. 10 total. Very little MEP related questions though so I was very surprised...environmental, site planning heavy however...
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby vrcat25 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:33 am

ablumetti wrote:Hey guys...the calculations needed were supplied in the resources...It was just the shear number (no pun intended) of structural related questions I didn't anticipate. One line diagrams, moment/shear diagrams, concepts..i anticipated 2-4...5 the max. but it was approx. 10 total. Very little MEP related questions though so I was very surprised...environmental, site planning heavy however...


Same here besides i only had 5 max questions for PPD and PDD...formulas were given, but questions were poorly worded and/or with missing or convoluted info.
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby vishwa » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:23 pm

Congratulations Billy!

I was wondering if the Amber Videos target the case studies - including code integration methodology? Would appreciate this and any further insight into their usefulness, since I'm considering getting them... though a bit hesitant due to the price, and because I've been studying extensively from various other sources including:

Ching's Fundamentals of Building Construction
Lechner's books "Heating, Cooling, Lighting" & "Plumbing, Electricity and Acoustics"
"Fundamentals to Building Construction"
MEEB
All Brightwood/Kaplan 4.0 & 5.0 Study Guides and Q&A's, etc.

Thank you!
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby vrcat25 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:53 pm

vishwa wrote:Congratulations Billy!

I was wondering if the Amber Videos target the case studies - including code integration methodology? Would appreciate this and any further insight into their usefulness, since I'm considering getting them... though a bit hesitant due to the price, and because I've been studying extensively from various other sources including:



Good Question! If ever there was an advertisement for the Amber videos, it's been this thread...The reason i'm reluctant is because i'm not able to find any examples. Before i spend a $200-300, i'd like to know if there are actual case studies examples and how many? I'd be very upset if i wasted my money on a bunch of primer videos and that's all i've been able to find on youtube regarding "amber are primer videos...I've heard there's a text book, but how many examples and is the info any different than Ballast or is it just supplementary videos on the content in Ballast and/or Kaplan??

Billyz did make a good point though...Since the new 5.0 format is less Structures and Building systems intensive, I would venture to say that you really don't need Thaddeus seminars or Amber videos...In fact, many of the resources are already available for FREE. I would start with Ching's Building construction illustrated, MEEB, Ballast ARE review manual and ballast practice tests...If this STILL isn't enough, maybe consider one of the many third party study sources like "Hole Enchilada" "Amber Videos", etc. Sure, i didn't pass my first try, but there's numerous people who paid for the Amber videos who didn't pass and many many more who passed without the Amber videos. I'm not trying to discourage anybody or be negative. I'm just saying there's no magical study guide that's going allow you to pass.
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby billyz » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:27 am

You're right vrcat25, there is no "magical study guide". The amber videos worked for me because of my lifestyle. I'm a father of 4 boys, so i have very little, if any "spare" time!!! In my opinion, the amber videos do a great job of condensing hundreds of pages of mind-numbing material (MEEB, Ballast, etc.) into easy to understand, well organized videos that help you understand/apply the primary concepts. He does not talk about the 5.0 case studies or building code or zoning integration. His focus is primarily building systems, materials, and methods. He has videos on hvac, thermal concepts, site design, lighting, acoustics, concrete, steel, wood, etc. The amber book just contains sample problems/questions that he goes through on the videos. He has taken all exams (4.0 and 5.0) and passed them all. He attends ARE seminars and is always updating his videos as he gets more feedback. Again, this isn't a guarantee, but it worked for me. My study time was usually from 9-12pm after a long day of work and family duties, so it was easier for me to stay awake watching videos than trying to read 100 pages of MEEB. Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Hope this helps vishwa - good luck!!!
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby vrcat25 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:02 pm

billyz wrote:. He does not talk about the 5.0 case studies or building code or zoning integration.


Thanks for telling me this since it would be a total waste since my main issue is with the case studies! I've never had a problem with the "mind numbing" technical information or questions...Thanks though since you just saved me $200-$300 since the videos sound like they would be absolutely no help for somebody like me...Everybody's different though. Take care. :)
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby vishwa » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:01 pm

billyz wrote: Hope this helps vishwa - good luck!!!


Indeed Billy, thank you!
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Re: Passed and DONE!!!! - 5 exam method

Postby agimiagi » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:00 am

Billy,

Congrats!

Did you just use the BDCS and BS Amber videos? That is exactly the strategy I am implementing but wanted to make sure you are not referring to the 3 exam 5.o videos Amber offers.

Thanks!
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