PPD first attempt tomorrow

PPD first attempt tomorrow

Postby Raja » Sun Nov 25, 2018 3:39 pm

Well this will be my first of the two (PPD/PDD) in the forced switch over to 5.0. I've got a long NCARB history, started way back in 3.1 but those expired due to life events. I re-started in 4.0 to find that they were moving on to 5.0. There's not much guidance out there on what to study and how to pass PPD and PDD, I guess because the format is so radically different. I'm not sure what I will be tested on despite carefully reviewing all of the NCARB-provided materials (handbook, tutorials, practice exam and forum). On the NCARB forum I see a lot of multiple fails and "study literally everything, but fewer structural calcs". Conversely, I have a friend who took PPD and PDD recently, he didn't study at all and passed. Maybe his brain just works like NCARB.

For anyone still on this forum, I'll post an update when the exam is over. Fingers crossed.

My study materials (4 weeks of study time) have been:

- The Architect's Studio Companion (read basically cover to cover, helped me get more into some weak areas on egress, construction types and HVAC systems)
- Building Codes Illustrated (for IBC 2015) chpt. 3, 5, 6, 10
- FEMA Earthquake chpt. 4 & 5 -- I found this incredibly helpful and relatively easy to understand
- Grant Adams videos along with paging through Fundamentals of Building Construction (that's his text for his classes)
- All free Amber videos on YouTube
- some other random videos searching YouTube (especially The Engineering Mindset HVAC videos, also Titus Chilled Beams)

I paged through these for more info when I felt I wasn't getting enough from the other resources:

- Building Construction Illustrated
- Architectural Graphic Standards (I have an ancient one, 8th edition, still seems relevant)
- MEEB-- I actually love this book, it's well put together but it seemed too much detail for the scope of PPD
- Ballast ARE 4.0-- very lightly reviewed various topics in the main book and question books (MEP, SPD, wind/lateral forces..some structural but no formulas)
- Jenny's Notes-- SPD, BS, BDCS
- Sun, Wind and Light-- I'm LEED certified, with most of my experience designing sustainable, ground-up buildings, and I found this book to be weird and confusing. Hopefully they don't test me on this one.
- I wanted to re-watch Thaddeus structures seminar since I am so weak in understanding which formula to use where, the maths... but given the broad scope of this test I decided to make other things a priority. Possibly a mistake, we'll see.
Raja
 
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Re: PPD first attempt tomorrow

Postby Raja » Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:07 pm

This was a very hard exam for me and I received a provisional fail. I honestly don't know how to study for this and retain everything to get through it. I need to regroup and make a decision about whether to reschedule PDD, which is set up in two weeks. Or whether to even continue on with the licensure path at this point.

It will be interesting to see the breakdown of the fail from NCARB, which areas were weakest. I had quite a lot of acoustics and electrical questions, which I did not spend much time studying. The structural questions for the most part seemed relatively reasonable and I had very few questions on HVAC, which I'd studied intensely. But the HVAC questions I got were pretty obscure, to the point where I feel only a consulting engineer or an hour or two of research would turn up the correct answer.

Before you start the exam, check to see how many case study questions you have. I'd anticipated around 20 but in fact it was more like 30. Some case study questions were fairly straightforward, but most required digging through multiple references plus performing calculations to determine the answer, quite time consuming. Many of the other questions are also wordy and involved, requiring reviewing reference material and a bit like a mini case studies. There were also some of the usual WTF NCARB questions, as well as some super straightforward ones.

I think you have to be able to retain all of the information from all of their reference study resources for all of the divisions, at the same level of detail as if you were taking each 4.0 version topic separately (except fewer structural calcs). And you need to be able to quickly recall and apply this knowledge in complex ways, not just show you know it. My exam had a heavy focus on SPD/BS/SS topics. There were no questions on specific AIA contract documents but there were questions related to contracts and other topics I'd associate with other divisions and had not brushed up on. Code-related questions are sprinkled throughout. So it's a bit of a grab-bag, luck of the draw as far as I can tell.

Probably obvious but be sure to press the "break" button when you want to take your break. I somehow didn't realize I needed to do this so I lost 15 minutes when I left to use the restroom and get some water. Prometrics staff mentioned I hadn't taken the scheduled break when I signed back in. I encountered a number of computer errors that required assistance from Prometrics staff. To their credit while they were not particularly knowledgeable they were kind.

Good luck all! I miss the old clunky vignettes (we do draft a lot in real practice...plus I always passed the vignettes), and the endlessly helpful feedback from amazing people on this forum.
Raja
 
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Re: PPD first attempt tomorrow

Postby beseiz10 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:03 pm

Holy cow, Raja, your story is just like mine. I’ve been at this for about 15 years since my daughter was born and due to life events I’m still at it. I have taken BDCS 2x and failed, decided to transition to 5.0 and took PPD twice and failed both times so that’s four consecutive fails. I’ve been regrouping for like 8 months and now I’m back on the saddle.
I also didn’t hit the “Take a break” butting twice and lost 15min of exam time.
I totally agree with you that this exam is like a grab-bag. To me it’s like a WTF, NCARB, what were you thinking when you designed this beast of a test? I got a lot of sustainable questions and I highly recommend Lechner’s book “Heating, Coolin &Lighting.” Thank you for your thorough and honest assessment on this beast of exam. I have not taken PDD (felt too discouraged) but many have said that it’s in some ways more straight-forward than PPD so for nothing else, other than not having to pay for a rescheduling, it’s a “practice test,” but maybe you’ll end up passing it? Cheers.
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Re: PPD first attempt tomorrow

Postby Raja » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:53 pm

beseiz10 wrote:Holy cow, Raja, your story is just like mine. I’ve been at this for about 15 years since my daughter was born and due to life events I’m still at it. I have taken BDCS 2x and failed, decided to transition to 5.0 and took PPD twice and failed both times so that’s four consecutive fails. I’ve been regrouping for like 8 months and now I’m back on the saddle.
I also didn’t hit the “Take a break” butting twice and lost 15min of exam time.
I totally agree with you that this exam is like a grab-bag. To me it’s like a WTF, NCARB, what were you thinking when you designed this beast of a test? I got a lot of sustainable questions and I highly recommend Lechner’s book “Heating, Coolin &Lighting.” Thank you for your thorough and honest assessment on this beast of exam. I have not taken PDD (felt too discouraged) but many have said that it’s in some ways more straight-forward than PPD so for nothing else, other than not having to pay for a rescheduling, it’s a “practice test,” but maybe you’ll end up passing it? Cheers.


Hey beseiz10, thanks for your reply. It's heartening to hear there are some of us in this together, wow I feel your pain. Dealing with 3 different iterations and expirations.... watching those four I'd passed in 3.1 expire, ugh. In addition to all that was going on in my personal life. And life circumstances just don't always allow one to schedule so many high-stakes exams in a relatively short period of time. Kudos for getting back on the saddle!

Argh! That "break" button!

I've not rescheduled PDD yet, I need to make a decision soon, maybe will just go for it like you say since my head's already in it and there is supposed to be a decent amount of overlap between these two. Thanks for the recommendation on the sustainable book. My experience is mostly managing sustainable projects and I did ok on that portion of PPD but you never know with these things.

I've also read PPD is the worst of these, and sometimes many attempts on it. Plus I was watching Black Spectacles last night and the guy noted that sometimes you just get a really hard version(s) of the exam. Which division are you taking next? Maybe try PDD since you've not tried that one yet? Keep going. We can do this.
Raja
 
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