Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Postby vrcat25 » Thu May 04, 2017 1:58 pm

I'm considering taking PPD and PDD on the same weekend. Anybody have experience taking both of these test so close together?
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Re: Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Postby ikaros » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:14 am

I'm taking PPD on Monday, and PDD next Monday. I gave myself 2 months to study both tests. I've studied an average of 1-2 hours a day, and even more on the weekends. I have usually given myself about a month for each test on the 4.0 ones I passed. Despite not always feeling completely prepared, I've always done well. I honestly can't say if I feel ready for these two, but I'd be happy to get back to you in a week and a half and tell you how I did. Fingers crossed!
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Re: Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Postby vrcat25 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:09 pm

If you have always done well, why did you switch to 5.0?? If i would have done well with 4.0, I would have stayed, but i found the questions to be far to subjective. I think 5.0 is even worse in this regard. They are not both the same so i hope you do well with 5.0. I can verify this because i took PPD last week and the case studies are a good bit different. I don't mind the case studies so much, but you have to pace yourself and cross reference a bunch of material against the clock. Make sure you give yourself about 2 hours for the MC and 2 hours for the case studies and most importantly, GOOD LUCK!
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Re: Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Postby ikaros » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:46 pm

Thanks for the well-wishes.

My decision to make the switch was a combination of a few different things. My firm will reimburse me for a test if I pass it. So with the exception of one time, where I made a dumb mistake (that I still think was open to interpretation) on the PPP vignette and it cost me $210, I've been able to test for free. Multiple choice has never been a problem for me, and the vignettes always piss me off. The possibility of never having to take another vignette was appealing to me. Maybe it's how my brain works.

Another reason was that even if I fail PPD and PDD each once, I still only sit for the tests 4 more times (I know this is assuming I pass them the next time). With 4.0 the absolute minimum number of times I'd have to sit for a test was already 4. Twice as many tests to study for, twice as many opportunities to make dumb, costly mistakes, and the potential to retake tests effectively doubles. I know SD is vignette only, and should be easy, and I know that breaking the rest of the info up into 3 tests instead of 2 makes it more manageable. However, the idea of putting myself through this inconvenient and annoying process as few times as humanly possible was enticing.

From all I could tell, reading opinions of people who've seen the test and tested themselves, the quality of questions has improved. I know everyone is going to have differing opinions about it, and lots of people were experiencing time issues (that freaks me out a lot). That made it a really difficult decision to make. Part of me just wanted to continue on with 4.0. But the idea that most of 5.0 the questions didn't require you to memorize arbitrary facts, and instead ask you to analyze information to arrive at the answer, made more sense to me. I go through these forums on a regular basis, and I try to take every opinion with a grain of salt--good or bad. I try not to take anything at face value. There are a lot of people that get on here to vent their frustrations. I can relate, but I don't find it helpful to me. A lot of people failed 4.0 tests 4 or 5 times, alleging that the test was a random grab-bag, or NCARB is trying to be difficult or tricky. I don't know that I believe them. I get random questions here and there, and it's frustrating to me too, but I've gotten pretty good at spotting which people are just here to complain. The majority of the well-thought-out posts that I've seen on here are positive about the changes, and feel like their working knowledge is being tested more than their random textbook knowledge. I felt this was a good sign.

The fact that the majority of 5.0 study materials weren't out at the time the tests went live was disconcerting to me. I hesitated taking them for a long time. I waited and watched, and worked with my firm to acquire study materials. Even having read through them myself, I'm not sure they're adequate yet. It's obvious in many cases that the information was simply reorganized. There are a lot of typos, and I've found instances where the wrong image was used for an example. I've had a difficult time knowing it was the right choice, and after studying for two months, I'm even more worried at the vastness of the subject matter than I was when I started.

For better or worse, I'm stuck in 5.0, and I have hope that NCARB made the right changes for the new iteration of the tests. Even if I fail one or both of the tests in the next week (my hope is that I pass at least one), I'll know that I worked hard. I'll know that I put in hundreds of hours of studying for both tests, and over the next two months, I'll simply focus on my weaker areas to make sure I don't fail again.

I probably should have checked the timestamp on your original post. I didn't even realize that it was made a month ago until you responded. I appreciate the advice on time management. It's the thing that worries me most. I've usually finished early, with enough to revisit all of the questions I wasn't sure about the first time around. I'm worried that I won't have as much time to do that this time around. But the fact that the majority of the complaints since October have been about running out of time, I'm fairly certain I'll be hyper-aware of it. Is it true that you can choose to do the cast studies first? Is it organized similar to 4.0, where you can select between different sections of the test? If that's the case, I'm planning to take the case studies first, so my brain is alert and sharp. It seems to be the best way to approach the test. Did you experience the same lag on the case study questions that others are reporting? If I had to choose, I'd rather experience that lag at the front end of the test, so my stress isn't compounded with fear of running out of time on those questions.

Anyway, thanks for the advice. I see you posting on here a lot, and when I do, I always pay attention. You seem to be one of the more reliable sources of information on these forums. I hope you passed PPD when you took it. If so, I'm assuming you've just got PDD to go?
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Re: Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Postby vrcat25 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:20 pm

Heck no i didn't pass PPD and i have PDD coming up, but i'm not worried. The best way to prepare for these tests is to "take them" and I might just have to retake every test in order to pass...As you said, even if do that, I would have had to take 4 tests in 4.0 at the minimum, had i not transitioned. I'm expecting that PDD is similar to PPD and there are quite a few "pick 3 best guess" and "pick the right illustration". Yes, you can take the case studies first if you choose, but you have approximately 2 hours for each. (MC and Case studies) I chose to do the MC first in the hopes of creating a "flow" instead of jumping into the case studies first...As many people on this forum have explained, it's easy to get hung up on a couple questions and waste your time. For me, half of the test was like that! Oddly enough, the first 20 questions were relatively easy, but then they got ridiculous. Out of 120 questions, half of them were solid, based on code, contracts, environmental and technical questions that I remember from studying and i got correct. I guess I'll never know about the other half because it's pretty much impossible to find an answer to a hypothetical, "best guess" question....All i know is that i failed and got mostly level 3's. I'm not worried though. I'll just keep taking the tests until i get lucky enough to get one with some half way decent questions. Make sure you practice the case studies and get good with searching and navigating around and good luck with on your quest to conquer 5.0 Ikaros. :)
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Re: Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Postby ikaros » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:21 am

Thanks, and you too!
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Re: Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Postby ikaros » Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:51 am

It worked for me. I just got my last pass this morning. The material overlapped a ton, but as you probably noticed when you took it, the PDD questions were more difficult. I felt that the topics were almost identical, but the level of specificity changed for PDD.

I felt less confident about my answers on PDD, and there were a ton of times where I caught myself changing my answer because I thought I found something I thought was put into the question to trick me. Whenever I thought I figured out an especially difficult question, I felt more of a sense of accomplishment on PDD, rather than just relief that I knew the answer, which was how I felt on PPD.

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that you're having a hard time. I honestly don't know what the secret is to preparing for these tests. I just study every day during my morning commute, study during lunch, and study for an hour or two when I get home (which ends up being 2-3 hours a day). I spend even more time on the weekends. Over the month of studying for each test, I probably study between 100-150 hours for the test. I totally overprepare. I go through every possible practice question I can find and review all the answers, whether I got it right or not.

It really sucks. But that seems to be the only way I can walk into those tests and pass them. Every time I walk out, I feel cautiously optimistic, because I feel fairly good about all my answers, but don't want to assume I passed. It's the way I've felt walking out of every ARE test.

Best of luck as you continue to prepare. I honestly do feel like the 5.0 tests are better. They test your applied knowledge way better than 4.0 did. I feel like the tests are less of a crap shoot than the old ones. Just keep at it.
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Re: Taking PPD and PDD at the same time

Postby vrcat25 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:49 am

ikaros wrote:The material overlapped a ton, but as you probably noticed when you took it, the PDD questions were more difficult.


There wasn't hardly any overlap on my two tests besides the WTF questions, but i don't know if i'd call that "overlap". I had quite a few questions where i had to base decisions on a wall section for PDD and hardly any for PPD. The problem with those questions is that they are "all or nothing" and you don't get partial credit. The case studies was much like the mc with more details only this time i had to cross reference and there was even one question that was missing information.

I'm happy for you for passing and being done ikaros, but i don't feel that these test are a good measure of knowledge on the architecture profession. I'm very disappointed in these tests, but all i can do is move on and reschedule and hope that my luck is better next time. There were are few solid questions, but he majority of mine were "pick the best answer(s)" and i don't consider that overlap. I know you were trying to help so thanks.
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