Postby JORDANARE » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:54 pm

Took the test today - In terms of Preparation, I felt very prepared. There were maybe 5 questions Max that I had not seen at least once in practice or while studying.

3.5 year, Majority of work on Large Interiors.

Third Party Study Materials:
Designer Hacks
Ballast Practice Exam

Nearly every book on NCARBS recommended list

I had already studied PPD before this, and I had spent plenty of time looking at primary sources. For this exam, I decided that it was too broad to cover anything and truly know it, and since nearly every question on 5.0 requires a fairly thorough understanding, I felt it was better to know a few dozen topics really well rather than trying to learn everything. I focused on getting 95-97% on Designer Hacks (harder than it sounds for PDD) and knowing the Ballast Practice test in and out. I referred to primary sources and skimmed that working drawings book from the list for CD's. I would recommend this strategy. Rent books from your Library, and at least pay for Designer Hacks, cheap way to learn a ton - and I was confident on probably 30-40 + questions which I think is good on an exam where you maybe only need double that to pass.

I left the exam thinking I have no clue how anyone answered all of these questions. I'm on the slower end at reading, and maybe comprehension, but I am very strong in math computation and understood the material well, I mean to the point where things like basic code, and systems are almost second nature in my head. I marked 20/questions before the Case studies that were more difficult or time consuming, and I ended up guessing on almost all of them, many of which I could probably have figured out with more time. To think someone makes it through the first 100 of these while still allowing time for the case studies blows my mind.

The Case studies were what you would expect, relatively poor interface, but you can make your way around it. The biggest frustration is trying not to overthink things, it's really that way with a lot of the exam, and there are several questions where I knew the answer but still got it wrong due to this. I don't know if I was right or wrong about many of the case study items, and they are inherently best guess in a lot of situations.

My strategy for the case studies was to read the scenario, review the questions and think about what they're asking - review the scenario again and come back to Q's. I'd probably do it the same way again until I think of something better. I wonder if on PDD if it's even worth doing them. I heard a guy say he spent 20 minutes on them and passed, which makes sense. They are half the exam, and roughly 20% if they give you two.

I had about 1:40 to do these.

If I were to give best advice on how to take it. Do the same, use a third party material referencing primary sources, learn it in and out. Have a good strategy for time and know yourself. If you're on the slower end with this kind of stuff - I would advise focusing on all the easy/quick questions first, and mark down the longer questions on scratch paper, but out of those questions. Pick about 10, you're really confident with finishing and focus almost all on them - especially if it's fill in the blank, and then just literally guess the rest.

Topics covered: Pretty much everything was covered just a few times and I mean all of it. Structures, Electrical, Sound, Fire suppression, drainage, Building envelope etc. The CDS type questions are based on the project manual, and kind of general consultation of documents and pro-practice. A review of estimating, the bid stage, and AHPP of coordinating information would be good for this.

I would say understanding structural concepts (only a few math) took the slight precedence on this version.
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Postby thd7t » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:16 am

Thank you for a really complete post!
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Postby adamgidaszewski » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:14 am

Thanks for your summary, really helpful!

1. What would you say were the major differences between PPD and PDD? I unfortunately failed PPD last week and am trying to get a gauge on how to refine my studying for PDD (which I take in 4.5 weeks)
1. How much time did you give yourself to study for PDD and PPD? How much time did you give yourself between tests?
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Postby laurenj8115 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:49 pm

Thanks for this, it'll be a big help.
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Postby RRos9 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:40 am

Thanks for the advice! Your testing approach was very helpful and relatable! I couldn’t answer every multiple choice question thoughtfully and thoroughly, so opted to make some guesses along the way in an effort to have 90+ minutes reserved for the case studies. It was worth having a time strategy for this fast paced test, thanks for sharing your experience in depth!
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