Study Resources: PPI or Brightwood?

Study Resources: PPI or Brightwood?

Postby Rcantone80 » Wed May 03, 2017 3:12 pm


I am just awaiting my test results for the PPP Exam and then I am planning on transitioning to the NCARB 5.0. for PPD & PDD.

However, with NCARB 4.0 I studied both Ballast & Kaplan (amongst all the other misc. resources). Now with PPI & Brightwood being the latest and greatest study resources and NCARB 5.0 being the latest exams, should I still rely on both publishers? For those unfamiliar with the new resources, it would be a ton of reading (around 400 pages each) and I like to read each book at least twice. Granted, I know they won’t be completely identical but should I go with PPI or Brightwood?

I understand all responses will be merely subjective and personal preferences. I am just looking for opinions based on experience / success, especially if you’ve taken one of these NCARB 5.0 sections.

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Re: Study Resources: PPI or Brightwood?

Postby gbalaka » Wed May 03, 2017 4:36 pm

Based on your comment, I'm going to assume you've already passed CDS and SPD.

Back in the days, I thought about transitioning to 5.0 in order to eliminate one exam, but honestly, the Schematic Design exam is sort of a non-exam as it's only a vignette (i saved that one for last). That one was sort of a breeze - you can study for it and pass it in less than a month (even 2-3 weeks tops). All it requires is some practice and you'll be good to go. But that's only if you're good with the vignettes.

With that said, there's obviously far more material out there for the 4.0 exams. Have you checked out ArchitectExamPrep for their study material? That's who i used for all my 4.0 exams - they have study guides for 5.0 as well. But I also used Kaplan and Ballast.

Whether you do 4.0 or 5.0, it's still the same material - the information is just shuffled around a bit. If you are struggling with vignettes, then I guess you should switch, but I personally liked the vignettes and i stuck with 4.0.

Best of luck with your PPP exam - I hope you passed.
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Re: Study Resources: PPI or Brightwood?

Postby Rcantone80 » Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:56 pm

Gbalaka - Thank you for your response and I apologize for my delayed response. I do appreciate your feedback and I did pass the PPP Exam.

I really didn't mind the vignettes at all once I got used to the program. There is definitely so much guidance & material available for the 4.0 Exams. I know those remaining (2) 5.0 exams were going to be just as tough as taking the remaining (4) 4.0 exams. The Brightwood & PPI Books are massive and the amount of other resources is intense. I just felt the combination of my experience and studying very hard for (2) months per each 5.0 exam was an efficient way. Like many others, I work a lot and I have intense schedule. On top of that I have an infant at home and I want as much time with him as I possibly can. I was just afraid that I could really get tangled up with (4) more exams to go. I know I would have needed extra time for Structures too.

Fast forward...I transitioned, took PPD and failed it. It was pretty crushing but it is what it is, I am back at it. I went with Brightwood, practice quizzes and exams for both BW & PPI + my knowledge of the Code. Please understand I would have studied more but my problem with the material is the same as it is with the exam, I just couldn't read fast enough to get thru the material nor the exam. I had (2) case studies but I was also getting questions with multiple parts.

So my question now and I am really hoping for feedback. I have been studying daily for about (4) weeks but again, work, life, etc...time goes so fast and now I am down to only (5) weeks left. Below is the list of material piled up in front of me and I am curious (almost desperate) to see how others tackled ALL of this information:

- Brightwood (front to back)
- Brightwood Practice Quizzes
- PPI (Complete PPD Section only)
- PPI Practice Quizzes
- PPI Practice Exams
- MEEB (twelfth Edition - critically reading all relevant chapters)
- Building Codes Illustrated (Fifth Edition - critically reading all relevant chapters)
- IBC (2009 - critically reading all relevant chapters)
- Black Spectacle Videos

For those familiar with PPD, any feedback would be very appreciated as this is SO much information. Of course I am not looking for people to tell me how I should study, just how in depth others have gotten into this material, process and advice if I am taking on too much at once....

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