Provisional feedback

Provisional feedback

Postby kateao25 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:07 pm

Just wondering how many test-takers have experienced the new “provisional feedback” option at the end of the 5.0 exams? I finished PDD today (for the second time) feeling pretty insecure about it but when I got my feedback it said that I was “likely to pass this division”. I’d love to count on that but I don’t want to put too much stock in it in case I could still fail...what’s the deal with this? Can I celebrate before I get my official score report?
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby tammy2329 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:45 am

From what I have read, that means a pass!
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby kateao25 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:21 am

Thanks tammy2329 - got the score report this morning...pass!!
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby thd7t » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:22 am

Congratulations! Can you give us an idea of the resources you used and your timeline?
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby bwatts259 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:59 pm

I had the same feeling on the "provisional Pass". I tested on a Monday and had my official Tuesday morning. I really love the speed of the 5.0 results.
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby blancovero » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:37 pm

Congrats!
Any advice in study material? I failed this test twice and I feel demoralized.
Thank you.
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby kateao25 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:04 am

Thanks guys!

I was going to write a post with study material suggestions once I got my score report but time got away from me...

I totally get feeling demoralized. I'm not even going to go into how many tests I've taken and failed - I did the transition plan (CDS, PPP, SPD + PPD, PDD) and I have literally three days before my rolling clock starts to expire and I have to start taking EVERYTHING over again. I took PPD yesterday and got the same provisional feedback message at the end of that one, so I *think* I'm done!! It's been a loooooooong journey that I'm more than happy to be finished with (assuming I actually passed PPD).

So that being said, I don't know where to start with study materials and strategy. To be honest, my testing strategy for PPD and PDD ended up being to take each test more than once (not on purpose) and use that as the go-by but that was by no means the plan. It's hard to say exactly how to study for these since the material is so broad, but I will say that I found PDD to be easier than PPD. They aren't all that different, so if you study for PPD, you will sort of be studying for PDD too.

The case studies are vast improvements over the vignettes, and make so much more sense in terms of what we as architects actually do on a daily basis. Most of the answers are located in the references provided with the case study scenarios, so familiarity with basic IBC structure is helpful so you know where to look for things like fire separations, occupancy, stuff like that. But if you're even slightly familiar with a PDF search function, that's the most helpful. It's really testing your ability to process and synthesize information and make informed decisions in a much more realistic way.

The structures questions on both tests are minimal (at least in my testing experience), and are either very basic equations (and usually multiple-choice) or just straight concept understanding - like having to choose the most appropriate diagram based on the information shown. As someone who did NOT perform well on the 4.0 SS, I felt fine with these questions.

The hotspots are also much more related to our work IRL, and those are the kinds of questions that work experience really help with. Mostly wall sections and details, so be sure you know how to draw those things and build them.

The rest of the questions were your basic multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and "choose the three that best..." types of questions, but not many of them felt as tricky as they did on 4.0 - they were pretty straightforward, and most felt like they were trying to test my understanding of concepts over rote memorization or trying to trick me, which is a HUGE improvement over 4.0.

I studied for a long time for both of these, like over months, which included taking and failing them once or twice. For this last round I really hunkered down starting about two months before taking the tests for the final time. I found the Amber videos to be the most helpful, and better than any of the other study material I used. The videos are usually no longer than 30mins to an hour, so you can watch a few of them every day and still have time to go back and either watch them again, or review specific videos that were more difficult to understand. Michael Ermann is great at explaining concepts in a way that is translatable to more specific applications, so synthesis was easier. The package is a big chunk of change which, after paying another big chunk of change for these tests, is a little hard to swallow, but they were my best resource. And study material is tax-deductible!

So here's my list:

This forum!!
*Amber Book/videos
*Designer Hacks practice exams
MEEB
Fundamentals of Building Construction
Ballast 5.0 practice exams
Ballast study guides (SS, CDS, SPD, BDCS, BS)
Archiflash
Architect Exam Prep Whole Enchilada study package (I don't suggest this one if it's a choice)
Various youtube videos. For structures, Dilip Khatri's videos are free, and I found them pretty helpful - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... hKW2Q9AODo
Google: If I was unclear about anything, I would google it and just look around until I found helpful diagrams or videos or case studies, etc. It's really your best resource if you can weed out the helpful info from the unhelpful info.
AIA contracts

*These were the best study resources I used

I feel like I'm missing a lot but those are the most prominent pieces of advice that currently come to mind. I'm more than happy to answer any questions if you want to DM me or ask on here. All I can say is that if I can pass these tests, anybody can. It just takes a lot of concentration and commitment to actually sit down and study which was the hardest part for me. We're all busy, it's difficult to find the time to carve and the energy to actually do it. But when it's done, it's done!

Good luck!!
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby thd7t » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:42 am

kateao25, first of all Congratulations! Talk about getting by under the wire!

Second, thank you for this excellent and thorough write up. This feels like a more useful "mechanics of the exam" description than I've seen before. I have only taken PA in 5.0, but absolutely agree that the case studies align with the profession much more closely than the vignettes did.

Take a well earned break and enjoy being finished!
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby mmr » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:34 pm

Congrats on your pass!

Can you elaborate on what you studied in MEEB? I see it casually listed on many people's resources, as if it's not an 1800 page book in size 6 type. I've been assuming others are using it as a resource to dive further into concepts left unclear by Ballast, Kaplan, etc.. But did you invest more time into really reading this one? Thanks!
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby thd7t » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:41 am

mmr wrote:Congrats on your pass!

Can you elaborate on what you studied in MEEB? I see it casually listed on many people's resources, as if it's not an 1800 page book in size 6 type. I've been assuming others are using it as a resource to dive further into concepts left unclear by Ballast, Kaplan, etc.. But did you invest more time into really reading this one? Thanks!

If you look through the 4.0 forums, there is a really good matrix of required reading from MEEB available. MEEB issues new editions, but the information does not change much and that's what's being tested.
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby Digitx » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:49 pm

Congrats! I have used Arch Exam Prep for the 4.0 exams and was thinking of going ahead and using them for 5.0, but I have seen the Amber videos recommended too. If I understand your study material list correctly, it sounds like you are recommending Amber Book/videos over the Arch Exam Prep 5.0? Before I invest, do you mind elaborating a little more on why you don't recommend Arch Exam Prep?

The main reason I went with Arch Exam Prep is that I was tired of Kaplan and Ballast after restarting the exam process a couple of times, really. They also seemed a little more focused on relevant material than Kaplan/Ballast. I have heard that the Amber book/videos are good in that respect, so I am all for any study material that is time efficient and also the greatest chance of passing.

Thanks!
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Re: Provisional feedback

Postby kateao25 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:37 am

Sorry, I haven't been logging in since I last posted - trying to avoid thinking about AREs altogether!

Can you elaborate on what you studied in MEEB? I see it casually listed on many people's resources, as if it's not an 1800 page book in size 6 type. I've been assuming others are using it as a resource to dive further into concepts left unclear by Ballast, Kaplan, etc.. But did you invest more time into really reading this one? Thanks!


For MEEB, I found a list somewhere that identified the relevant chapters, concepts and diagrams that are worth studying. I'm sorry to say that I can't remember exactly where I found that information, but it is very likely that I did a search on this forum and found it here. If I find it written down somewhere I will update.

Before I invest, do you mind elaborating a little more on why you don't recommend Arch Exam Prep?


I liked the Amber videos more because Michael Ermann presents the information in a more comprehensive and thorough fashion. I found the AEP 5.0 information to be a little all-over-the-place in terms of style and presentation, but that's me personally. I just couldn't follow it as well as the Amber videos. That could very easily be because I am more of a visual learner, so seeing animations and diagrams were much more useful than podcasts and tons of pages of texts. Ermann also gets down to fundamentals in a much more thorough way than the AEP material did, so I could grasp the idea of what I had to know and then apply specific conditions to it, if that makes sense.

Good luck everyone, you can do it! It may take time and patience (and in my case, many tries and fails) but it is possible. I would say the biggest takeaway is that these tests, far more than 4.0, test your understanding of concepts rather than memorized content. So if you can get to the root of the idea, you can apply your knowledge.
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