Should I transition or not?

Should I transition or not?

Postby cabara01 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:08 pm

I initially started taking the exams with the shortcut plan in mind. My plan was to pass CDS, PPP, and SPD then transition to 5.0, subscribe to Amber Book videos and brush up on structures, but after reading some of these posts I've been having second thoughts.

I did pass CDS, PPP, and SPD. I am not worried about the five year clock, my first exam will expire June 2022. The vignettes were ok, with CDS being my easiest and SPD my hardest.

I'm concerned about taking SS because I've forgotten everything which is why I was leaning toward 5.0.

Any thoughts/suggestions/insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby crackmonkey » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:29 pm

I am in the same boat and have decided to transition. My primary reason for this is time. To pass the remaining 4 exams on 4.0 by June 30 2018 does not allow much time to study and retake if any exams are failed.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby cabara01 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:28 am

crackmonkey, have you already transitioned and taken either of the two 5.0 exams yet? I've noticed that the scheduling for the last four 4.0 exams are minimal in my area. I wonder if it is the same for trying to schedule the 5.0.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby gbalaka » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:24 am

Why is it that people think that there are no structural questions in 5.0?

It's not like you can skip Structures all together. There may not be a specific exam called "Structures", but you will still get structural questions and have to do calculations.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby cabara01 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:50 am

@Gbalaka I wasn't saying there won't be structures on 5.0, I just rather not take a full exam ONLY on structures.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby gbalaka » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:23 pm

cabara01 wrote:@Gbalaka I wasn't saying there won't be structures on 5.0, I just rather not take a full exam ONLY on structures.


Just like the other exams in the 4.0 series, the SS exam that I took had lots of BDCS, SPD...even some CDS questions in it.

I'd say maybe 25% of the exam was structures and problem solving. The rest was scattered questions from the other exams.

You seem to have a good handle on the 4.0 series - I recommend you just stick with it.

If you really don't want to take the SS exam, just switch to 5.0 and you won't have to face that one.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby cabara01 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:11 pm

@gbalaka thank you for the insight on the 4.0 SS exam.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby crackmonkey » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:11 pm

cabara01 wrote:crackmonkey, have you already transitioned and taken either of the two 5.0 exams yet? I've noticed that the scheduling for the last four 4.0 exams are minimal in my area. I wonder if it is the same for trying to schedule the 5.0.

I have transitioned but have not taken any 5.0 exams yet. Signed up for PPD at the end of September. Lots to cover still between now & then.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby Raja » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:38 am

crackmonkey wrote:
cabara01 wrote:crackmonkey, have you already transitioned and taken either of the two 5.0 exams yet? I've noticed that the scheduling for the last four 4.0 exams are minimal in my area. I wonder if it is the same for trying to schedule the 5.0.

I have transitioned but have not taken any 5.0 exams yet. Signed up for PPD at the end of September. Lots to cover still between now & then.


@crackmonkey did you take any 5.0 yet? How did it go? I am now at that critical junction, just finished the magic triad and need to decide what next.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby vrcat25 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:44 pm

Raja wrote:
crackmonkey wrote:
cabara01 wrote:crackmonkey, have you already transitioned and taken either of the two 5.0 exams yet? I've noticed that the scheduling for the last four 4.0 exams are minimal in my area. I wonder if it is the same for trying to schedule the 5.0.

I have transitioned but have not taken any 5.0 exams yet. Signed up for PPD at the end of September. Lots to cover still between now & then.


@crackmonkey did you take any 5.0 yet? How did it go? I am now at that critical junction, just finished the magic triad and need to decide what next.


Good luck getting an answer...Some of these people only post a comment or two and disappear or even worse, they fail and use another alias...It's sad, but i think there's many people on here that just don't want to admit failures...I think i warned you already, but "the grass isn't always greener on the other side...the "other side" being 5.0. I failed both PPD and PDD and it's a VERY AMBIGUOUS test....I can see some people might fail those 5 times or more because they are pretty much impossible to study for due to the "best guess" questions....I would say to stick with 4.0 where at least the questions are more technical and answerable. As you said, you don't have to worry about your rolling clock and have another year...why not give 4.0 a shot and take SS, BS and BDCS...Otherwise, PPD is basically all 3 of those plus add the worse questions from PPP, SPD and CDS. 5.0 is a disaster! I wish i could trade you places, but now i'm not allowed to transition back...
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby cabara01 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:09 pm

I'm the "pull the bandaid" person. You should make a decision quickly if you're going to stick with 4.0 because you will still have time to retake an exam if needed. I passed CDS, PPP, SPD, BS, SD but as I feared I just failed SS. BDCS coming up soon. Study for SS and BCDS together, they seem to cross over. I don't think I had enough time to study for SS which was part of my problem and of course life happened. I read both BAR, did the Ballast MC exam questions and watched all the Dilip Khatri videos, but it wasn't enough. I'll have to study much harder for the retake because I'm determined not to take it a third time. Good luck to all, study hard, keep your chin up! WE CAN DO THIS!
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby vrcat25 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:18 pm

cabara01 wrote:I'm the "pull the bandaid" person. You should make a decision quickly if you're going to stick with 4.0 because you will still have time to retake an exam if needed. I passed CDS, PPP, SPD, BS, SD but as I feared I just failed SS. BDCS coming up soon. Study for SS and BCDS together, they seem to cross over. I don't think I had enough time to study for SS which was part of my problem and of course life happened. I read both BAR, did the Ballast MC exam questions and watched all the Dilip Khatri videos, but it wasn't enough. I'll have to study much harder for the retake because I'm determined not to take it a third time. Good luck to all, study hard, keep your chin up! WE CAN DO THIS!


good for you for passing all those! I've heard that Thaddeus is key for SS...He actually has a 1 day seminar coming up in albany, ny for only $125...Even though it's geared towards 5.0, i'm pretty sure it's all you really need for 4.0 or it couldn't hurt. Anyhow, congrats and it sounds like you are only 2-3 tests away from passing....BDCS is supposedly a little easier than SS and BS. I envy you for sticking with 4.0. Smart move!
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby Raja » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:43 am

good for you for passing all those! I've heard that Thaddeus is key for SS...He actually has a 1 day seminar coming up in albany, ny for only $125...Even though it's geared towards 5.0, i'm pretty sure it's all you really need for 4.0 or it couldn't hurt. Anyhow, congrats and it sounds like you are only 2-3 tests away from passing....BDCS is supposedly a little easier than SS and BS. I envy you for sticking with 4.0. Smart move![/quote]

@vrcat I have Thaddeus and I hope it works. Everyone I know who's done the seminar (virtual and in person) have passed. SS seems insanely hard to me.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby Raja » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:47 am

vrcat25 wrote:
Raja wrote:
crackmonkey wrote:
cabara01 wrote:crackmonkey, have you already transitioned and taken either of the two 5.0 exams yet? I've noticed that the scheduling for the last four 4.0 exams are minimal in my area. I wonder if it is the same for trying to schedule the 5.0.

I have transitioned but have not taken any 5.0 exams yet. Signed up for PPD at the end of September. Lots to cover still between now & then.


@crackmonkey did you take any 5.0 yet? How did it go? I am now at that critical junction, just finished the magic triad and need to decide what next.


Good luck getting an answer...Some of these people only post a comment or two and disappear or even worse, they fail and use another alias...It's sad, but i think there's many people on here that just don't want to admit failures...I think i warned you already, but "the grass isn't always greener on the other side...the "other side" being 5.0. I failed both PPD and PDD and it's a VERY AMBIGUOUS test....I can see some people might fail those 5 times or more because they are pretty much impossible to study for due to the "best guess" questions....I would say to stick with 4.0 where at least the questions are more technical and answerable. As you said, you don't have to worry about your rolling clock and have another year...why not give 4.0 a shot and take SS, BS and BDCS...Otherwise, PPD is basically all 3 of those plus add the worse questions from PPP, SPD and CDS. 5.0 is a disaster! I wish i could trade you places, but now i'm not allowed to transition back...


Thanks vrcat. I guess we just never know which we might have preferred until we decide! Even if not, there's still that risk you may not have passed all of 4.0 in the amount of time, and still be stuck with 5.0. I hope you pass PPD and PDD on your next shot, I bet you'll get through it fine and then you can move on. Keep us posted and good luck!!!
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby vrcat25 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:56 am

Thanks RAJA! What have you passed so far? I don't know if i'll pass on the next try since so much of it is luck, but THANKS! I don't plan on quitting....I have 3.5 years left so i can technically retake 10 time! Dear NCARB gods, I hope it doesn't take that long! :lol:

On a more serious note, i really think SS, BS and BDCS would be easier because there's far less "best guess" questions...I know i sound like a broker record, but just want to forewarn anybody who hasn't transitioned yet, DON'T! I already know people who have failed 3 times and i won't be surprised to hear if somebody failed 6 or more...Just being realistic. 5.0 STINKS!
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby Raja » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:57 am

cabara01 wrote:I'm the "pull the bandaid" person. You should make a decision quickly if you're going to stick with 4.0 because you will still have time to retake an exam if needed. I passed CDS, PPP, SPD, BS, SD but as I feared I just failed SS. BDCS coming up soon. Study for SS and BCDS together, they seem to cross over. I don't think I had enough time to study for SS which was part of my problem and of course life happened. I read both BAR, did the Ballast MC exam questions and watched all the Dilip Khatri videos, but it wasn't enough. I'll have to study much harder for the retake because I'm determined not to take it a third time. Good luck to all, study hard, keep your chin up! WE CAN DO THIS!


Hey @cabara01, thanks! Yeah I have already started studying for SS. It's my weakest topic, my brain is terrible with formulas / maths, and wow there is a lot of study material. I've watched the first few Dilip Khatri vids and started reviewing Mike's Structures notes from this forum (do you have that link?) but not feeling good about it so I am also going to do Thaddeus, hopefully he'll set me straight. Did you fail the vignette or MC?

I figure I have to study SS regardless of 4.0 or 5.0 and will make a decision after a couple of weeks of studying this stuff. Planning to take BDCS after SS unless I switch.

Yes!! Chin up!! Good luck to you as well, thanks for the positive feedback!
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby Raja » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:02 am

vrcat25 wrote:Thanks RAJA! What have you passed so far? I don't know if i'll pass on the next try since so much of it is luck, but THANKS! I don't plan on quitting....I have 3.5 years left so i can technically retake 10 time! Dear NCARB gods, I hope it doesn't take that long! :lol:

On a more serious note, i really think SS, BS and BDCS would be easier because there's far less "best guess" questions...I know i sound like a broker record, but just want to forewarn anybody who hasn't transitioned yet, DON'T! I already know people who have failed 3 times and i won't be surprised to hear if somebody failed 6 or more...Just being realistic. 5.0 STINKS!


Hiya! I passed CD, PPP and SPD. Next up if I stick with 4.0, would be SS (my weakness), BDCS, BS then SD. It looked like on the NCARB transition chart that if I fail SD the other three will count for PDD (or is it PPD) so I'd have one of the 5.0's left in that case. I think. Need to check again...

Oh man, you really do hate 5.0. Sorry to hear it's so traumatic. Good for you for sticking with these things. Stay strong, YOU CAN DO IT!!! WE CAN DO IT!!!
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby 198kevin » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:25 am

I really would recommend not listening to Vrcat, he bashes people who pass by saying they just got lucky and blames NCARB for his lack of understanding of test content. These tests aren't impossible and I personally think 5.0 was an improvement and also easier, kinda feel like I could have just taken PDD without studying. I would personally say transition but if you are crushing the 4.0's and have a good method sticking with it might be beneficial as well. I think the main difference between the two is 5.0 is more of an application of knowledge and 4.0 has more regurgitate information type questions and switching requires switching up study methods a bit from memorizing to practicing.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby tammy2329 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:51 pm

198kevin wrote:I really would recommend not listening to Vrcat, he bashes people who pass by saying they just got lucky and blames NCARB for his lack of understanding of test content. These tests aren't impossible and I personally think 5.0 was an improvement and also easier, kinda feel like I could have just taken PDD without studying.


I have to agree with 198kevin, I'm not sure why there is so much animosity towards the 5.0. PDD is good with real world experience, much more so than 4.0.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby cabara01 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:05 pm

I think everyone is different and some things will come easier to some more so than others. Everyone's experience, way they learn, and background are different.

For those who have had an easy time with 4.0, why not just finish while you have the opportunity? If you've been struggling with 4.0 then transition. Don't wait too long, because the window to finish in 4.0 is getting smaller for retakes.

People have passed in 4.0, 5.0 and the short cut method. There is no one correct way. Take all the comments with a grain of salt, because it may or may not be your best exam style. So just choose the path that feels right for you and keep trying until you get it done.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby Raja » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:00 pm

Hey thanks everyone for sharing all your opinions and experiences!!

I did a bunch of the ARE 5.0 PPD sample questions from the NCARB handbook and that helped give me a better sense of what they're looking for and what they want us to be studying to pass. The questions seem easier in some ways and harder in others. The broad scope and just getting through the questions quickly enough during the exam seem like the most daunting aspects to me. I have most of the recommended books and read MEEB cover to cover, back when I took BS in ARE 3.1. I think with reviewing those books, doing the Thaddeus course and reading Ballast chapters on SS/BDCS and BS, I'd probably be prepared enough and not have to buy new 3rd party study material for 5.0.

It generally seems like 4.0 and 5.0 are both a total pain in their own special ways so it's a toss-up. I'm sticking to my game plan of studying for SS with Thaddeus and see where I'm at with that in a couple of weeks, then make a decision and schedule either SS or PPD/PDD, and not look back.

Best of luck everyone and to those of you who are done, huge congratulations.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby B-Money » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:31 am

I'm a big believer in the 5.0 exams. I did the 3+2 approach and really appreciated the new format. The 5.0 exams were much bigger in terms of content that you need to understand and study which is why a lot of people recommend studying for both PPD and PDD at the same time in a longer study schedule.

With all that said, I would stick with 4.0 as long as I could in your position. You've somewhat answered this question yourself. You're not in a rushed state to transfer over because your first exam expires in 5 years. Take this time before June 2018 to get the rest of the 4.0 exams done. If for some reason you don't get them all done, you may only have to take one 5.0 exam. Why stop a moving train. Keep trucking. Good luck!
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby Raja » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:57 am

B-Money wrote:I'm a big believer in the 5.0 exams. I did the 3+2 approach and really appreciated the new format. The 5.0 exams were much bigger in terms of content that you need to understand and study which is why a lot of people recommend studying for both PPD and PDD at the same time in a longer study schedule.

With all that said, I would stick with 4.0 as long as I could in your position. You've somewhat answered this question yourself. You're not in a rushed state to transfer over because your first exam expires in 5 years. Take this time before June 2018 to get the rest of the 4.0 exams done. If for some reason you don't get them all done, you may only have to take one 5.0 exam. Why stop a moving train. Keep trucking. Good luck!


Thanks @B-Money, it's good to hear your experiences with 5.0, sounds realistic. And yeah!! In terms of my own path this idea of keep trucking, don't stop a moving train, makes a LOT of sense. Momentum. 8-)
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby Melon Panda » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:03 pm

Raja wrote:
B-Money wrote:I'm a big believer in the 5.0 exams. I did the 3+2 approach and really appreciated the new format. The 5.0 exams were much bigger in terms of content that you need to understand and study which is why a lot of people recommend studying for both PPD and PDD at the same time in a longer study schedule.

With all that said, I would stick with 4.0 as long as I could in your position. You've somewhat answered this question yourself. You're not in a rushed state to transfer over because your first exam expires in 5 years. Take this time before June 2018 to get the rest of the 4.0 exams done. If for some reason you don't get them all done, you may only have to take one 5.0 exam. Why stop a moving train. Keep trucking. Good luck!


Thanks @B-Money, it's good to hear your experiences with 5.0, sounds realistic. And yeah!! In terms of my own path this idea of keep trucking, don't stop a moving train, makes a LOT of sense. Momentum. 8-)


Please help!!!!!

I passed CDS-PPP-SPD and then took SS (three times) and BDCS (one time) recently and failed. I don't think I can pass the remaining exams (BS, BDCS, SS, and SD) by June, 2018. Only the exams which I haven't studied yet are BS and SD.

I have two options that I'm thinking about:

Option-1: Transition NOW and take PPD & PDD.
Option-2: Study & take BS and transition to 5.0 after BS either pass or fail.


I think I need to study BS anyway to take PPD & PDD. Why not study and take BS before transition?
Your comments & advice are appreciated!

FYI: My first exam will expire 06/2020.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby thd7t » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:56 pm

Melon Panda wrote:
Raja wrote:
B-Money wrote:I'm a big believer in the 5.0 exams. I did the 3+2 approach and really appreciated the new format. The 5.0 exams were much bigger in terms of content that you need to understand and study which is why a lot of people recommend studying for both PPD and PDD at the same time in a longer study schedule.

With all that said, I would stick with 4.0 as long as I could in your position. You've somewhat answered this question yourself. You're not in a rushed state to transfer over because your first exam expires in 5 years. Take this time before June 2018 to get the rest of the 4.0 exams done. If for some reason you don't get them all done, you may only have to take one 5.0 exam. Why stop a moving train. Keep trucking. Good luck!


Thanks @B-Money, it's good to hear your experiences with 5.0, sounds realistic. And yeah!! In terms of my own path this idea of keep trucking, don't stop a moving train, makes a LOT of sense. Momentum. 8-)


Please help!!!!!

I passed CDS-PPP-SPD and then took SS (three times) and BDCS (one time) recently and failed. I don't think I can pass the remaining exams (BS, BDCS, SS, and SD) by June, 2018. Only the exams which I haven't studied yet are BS and SD.

I have two options that I'm thinking about:

Option-1: Transition NOW and take PPD & PDD.
Option-2: Study & take BS and transition to 5.0 after BS either pass or fail.


I think I need to study BS anyway to take PPD & PDD. Why not study and take BS before transition?
Your comments & advice are appreciated!

FYI: My first exam will expire 06/2020.


Okay, you get no benefit from taking BS before transitioning. If you're going to transition, just do it. BS doesn't reduce your exam load at all, so you would be wasting time and money by taking it if you don't intend to finish out 4.0.
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Re: Should I transition or not?

Postby vrcat25 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:03 am

Melon Panda wrote:
Raja wrote:
B-Money wrote:I'm a big believer in the 5.0 exams. I did the 3+2 approach and really appreciated the new format. The 5.0 exams were much bigger in terms of content that you need to understand and study which is why a lot of people recommend studying for both PPD and PDD at the same time in a longer study schedule.

With all that said, I would stick with 4.0 as long as I could in your position. You've somewhat answered this question yourself. You're not in a rushed state to transfer over because your first exam expires in 5 years. Take this time before June 2018 to get the rest of the 4.0 exams done. If for some reason you don't get them all done, you may only have to take one 5.0 exam. Why stop a moving train. Keep trucking. Good luck!


Thanks @B-Money, it's good to hear your experiences with 5.0, sounds realistic. And yeah!! In terms of my own path this idea of keep trucking, don't stop a moving train, makes a LOT of sense. Momentum. 8-)


Please help!!!!!

I passed CDS-PPP-SPD and then took SS (three times) and BDCS (one time) recently and failed. I don't think I can pass the remaining exams (BS, BDCS, SS, and SD) by June, 2018. Only the exams which I haven't studied yet are BS and SD.

I have two options that I'm thinking about:

Option-1: Transition NOW and take PPD & PDD.
Option-2: Study & take BS and transition to 5.0 after BS either pass or fail.


I think I need to study BS anyway to take PPD & PDD. Why not study and take BS before transition?
Your comments & advice are appreciated!

FYI: My first exam will expire 06/2020.


You mentioned the same thing in another thread and you also said you are eligible to retake SS in December. That's less than 2 months from now...Why not at least give it one more try? If you transition now, you will be basically starting over again...Even though many people claim the questions are similar, i've found the Case Studies to be much different and there's a big time factor that has somewhat of a learning curve. After taking PPD and PDD once, i'll probably do the case studies first...That being said, i don't think it's going to help much because i didn't have any time left for MC when i divided number of questions by time, it's only 2-3 minutes per question...It may seem like a lot but some of the questions require cross referencing and/or calculations. It's very easy to run out of time for 5.0. At least with 4.0, you have enough time and most people don't complain about running out of time like they do with 5.0...Either way, good luck!
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