Passed First Try! First 5.0 exam (transitioned)

Passed First Try! First 5.0 exam (transitioned)

Postby kungpowchick » Thu May 03, 2018 8:50 am

I was really nervous about this exam going in. It was my first 5.0 exam after several years of studying and working on 4.0 materials. Everyone seems to have studied something different, and I didn't find any equivalent practice exams to the 4.0 ones. I wanted to share not only my materials, but my study practice. I failed several 4.0 exams, but once I started constructive note-taking and review sessions, I've passed each exam on the first try. One more, and I can't wait to have this ARE weight off of my shoulders.


Experience:
I have 2 years experience specifically working on renovations and doing technical aspects of design and CA. Before this I worked for 1.5 years as a front-end designer and programmer. Experience helped supplement my studying, but I also feel like a better worker because of what I studied for PPD (I never felt this way with 4.0)


Time Spent:
Like I said, I was scared, so I started studying 8 weeks before my exam date. This was too long in hind site, by the week before the exam I was burnt out and lapsing (and causing more stress!). 6 weeks is probably the max I would do again. I was strict with myself, and dedicated at least 45 min - 2 hour per weekday, and a cumulative 6-8 hours on weekends. I also dabbled in PDD material because I'm taking it in 2.5 weeks.

With all of this, I was way over-prepared for PPD. I finished my first run-though of the exam with 2.5 hours on the clock, and then used that time to go through the entire exam again before leaving.

Sometimes in the exam room, my wheels start spinning and I work myself up. This happened a few times on this exam. I have to just stop for a moment, close my eyes, breathe deeply, and think "Stressing isn't helpful. Just answer it" It snaps me back and I continue. I guess what I'm saying is that having a way to calm yourself down is very helpful when tension is high.


Method
When I study, I only take notes of things that I don't already know, or concepts that I always forget the name to. (I have a bad case of 'shoot-whats-it-called' syndrome) I try to write them down in a way that is easier to understand than what I read, then I underline terms and concepts in my notes that I feel are very important. Each study session starts with a 10-15 min review of my notes before getting to new material. To review, I go through and make note cards of things I underlined, then highlight them after cards are made. Treating this like a red-line set kept me on track. I used the phone app Chegg to do notecards with auto-dictation. Saying the concepts out loud and then having to spell-check the cards also helped me study in a different way.

Making the notecards is twofold effective, because I get to review old material, and I have a deck I can go through instead of browsing the internet on down time. By breaking down decks by categories on Chegg, I can reuse the decks for other exams or concentrate on one category I'm weak on.


What I studied
In chronological order:
Building Code Illustrated: I skipped some chapters that seemed irrelevant. Spent a lot of time on occupancy. Knowing the code structure helps browse through case study references.
Architect's Studio Companion: Cover to Cover. I spent a lot of time on the mechanical diagrams. I love the 1 page per system format. It's concise and cuts out the fluff. Also re-iterated code information.
Building Construction Illustrated: I liked this book a lot. It didn't feel as useful as I was studying, but in retrospect it helped a lot.
Ballast 5.0: I went through quickly as a review source. I did the chapter questions first, and then spent a bit of time on chapters I tanked on. I only used this for 2-3 days (4-6 hrs)
FEMA primer. Chapters 4, 6 & 7. Really quickly went through it.


Conclusion
Like I said, I was over-prepared. Compared to 4.0, having experience is a lot more useful. Overall, I think the 5.0 studying process is a lot more helpful than 4.0 as well. I feel like I am a better architect having thoroughly read these books. Looking at it that way helped me continue on and sometimes actually made me enjoy the reading.

Just remember that you've got this! If you're rubbish at memorization like me, reviewing is your friend. And give yourself the time you need to take the time you need. It's a one-person race. You don't have to beat anyone's time - you just have to finish.
kungpowchick
 
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Re: Passed First Try! First 5.0 exam (transitioned)

Postby ThomKat » Thu May 03, 2018 12:38 pm

Congratulations! This post is a huge help. I am preparing for PPD (also a 4.0 transitioner) and I feel like there are so many different study resource suggestions for PPD and PDD. I was starting to get overwhelmed so it's refreshing to see your list, because those are the materials I have purchased (minus Ballast 5.0) and intending to use for PPD.

Congratulations again!
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Re: Passed First Try! First 5.0 exam (transitioned)

Postby kungpowchick » Fri May 04, 2018 7:11 am

ThomKat wrote:Congratulations! This post is a huge help. I am preparing for PPD (also a 4.0 transitioner) and I feel like there are so many different study resource suggestions for PPD and PDD. I was starting to get overwhelmed so it's refreshing to see your list, because those are the materials I have purchased (minus Ballast 5.0) and intending to use for PPD.

Congratulations again!


Thanks ThomKat!

My poor husband had to put up with my loud, angry rants about "How am I supposed to know everything?!?!" And me "teaching" him stuff I just learned. He's happy I'll stop spouting gibberish at him, lol.

Good Luck on your exam!
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Re: Passed First Try! First 5.0 exam (transitioned)

Postby alenb » Tue May 15, 2018 1:25 pm

Wondering if Sun Wind and Light is a good book to buy and spend time reading it? I need some material for the Environmental portion of the exam.
Thanks
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Re: Passed First Try! First 5.0 exam (transitioned)

Postby kungpowchick » Tue May 22, 2018 12:09 pm

alenb wrote:Wondering if Sun Wind and Light is a good book to buy and spend time reading it? I need some material for the Environmental portion of the exam.
Thanks


I didn't use that book. I've seen others post about it, though. For wind, I browsed the FEMA primer. Building Construction Illustrated had a good concise section on light that worked for me.
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Re: Passed First Try! First 5.0 exam (transitioned)

Postby architectco » Sun May 27, 2018 10:15 am

In regards to all the books you listed , what editions did you use? and does it make a difference ? also In regards to the FEMA primer is that downloadable from the FEMA web site ( please provide link if it is) or is it a book you need to purchase ( please provide link)

thank you,
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Re: Passed First Try! First 5.0 exam (transitioned)

Postby kungpowchick » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:07 am

architectco wrote:In regards to all the books you listed , what editions did you use? and does it make a difference ? also In regards to the FEMA primer is that downloadable from the FEMA web site ( please provide link if it is) or is it a book you need to purchase ( please provide link)

thank you,



Sure.
I used the most recent editions of all of the books. I spent about $250 on amazon purchasing the arch handbook, bldg codes and bld construction illustrated books.

The Buildings at Risk Wind Design Document (I misnamed this in my original post) and Seismic/Earthquake FEMA doc are provided to download here: http://davidthaddeus.com/links/
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