A PDD Pass and an ARE Success Story!

A PDD Pass and an ARE Success Story!

Postby Farmall12 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:19 pm

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, I received my final pass notification yesterday and with it a closure to this wonderful / painful / stressful book called the ARE.

I was surprised that I was able to get a provisional review of my test right after taking it. I took PPD in October and didn't see such a thing unless I missed it. HAHA It was cool to know that I probably would pass on Saturday. Then on Sunday I looked at the NCARB site and found a real verified pass with a score report. That was cool to see, so I broke out the good scotch for a celebratory beverage!

I started this journey in 2013 and had to get my ass in gear last year and not lose my first exam due to the rolling clock. I did the 3+2 method and taking that step to transition was a weary one. But with my time limited, this was the best option. I was able to get all of these done the first time and no retakes. I really think my 10 years of experience helped but there were still the what the hell is that questions. As expected of course!

I certainly do like the new format without the vignettes, but there are still issues with loading and trying to read images with horrible resolution. One question I could not figure out what a wall looked like due the horrible resolution. If you have magnification glasses, it might be worth using them. Probably the most beneficial items of test taking advise would be to watch your time, if you get stumped put a logical answer, flag it and move on. Also, the search function for the references can make finding something a hell of allot faster.

To my fellow AREers getting ready to take PDD, this exam is very similar in content to PPD, but a bit more focused on detailing and the next level of design as stated by NCARB. There are allot of detail oriented questions on this exam so be sure to study up on exterior wall details and code related items. I studied 2-3 hours on the weekdays and 16 or so hours the weekend before the exam. Taking this one and PPD within a month of each other is worth perusing. The items I studied are relatively similar to what I used for PDD with a few more items:

1. MEEB - covering chapters I needed a bit more refinement in specifically lighting, acoustics and HVAC
2. AIA Contract Documents - Just know the roles and responsibilities. NCARB did not mention these documents are covered in this exam but there was some relevant content.
Probably A201 would be sufficient.
3. FEMA 454 Designing for Earthquakes - Something we need to pay more attention to
4. FEMA 543 Design Guide for Improving Critical Facility Safety from Flooding and High Winds - Definitely would at least review the high winds topic
5. Buildings at Risk from the AIA, Seismic and Wind - Same as above but a little out dated
6. Architects Studio Companion - A very beneficial book for both PDD and PPD. Probably advisable to read the whole damn thing.
7. Ching's Building Construction Illustrated - Same as above.
8. IBC 2012 - Its the model code....know it. And if you don't know this version...do learn it.
9. Youtube Videos - There is oodles of content out there to be used. For the structural items I used Gregory Michaelson's videos from his courses and Dilip Khatri's videos. I think
Dilip has created some pretty great videos and I would certainly like to thank him for posting these. Pretty much type in ARE exam videos and allot of people have good
materials worth watching as refreshers. Building shell design based on various climates is something to know if you are not familiar with them.
10. The other forum (you know which one) has allot of useful input from NCARB.
11. This forum is still one of the best resources to keeping yourself on track and getting reactions. I thank Coach for all of his efforts in assisting me and all the other AREers.

To all of you in the process, if anyone needs some are resources, let me know since I am looking to make room on my shelves for more enjoyable items now.

Keep your chin up and don't let these get the best of you. Passing these is totally doable. Time to start my state application! :D
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