Struggling with PPP

Site Zoning Vignette and Multiple Choice

Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:24 am

I have taken PPP numerous times (too embarrassed to admit how many times) and most recently failed it in the beginning of June. Since I failed it 3 times in a year, I have to wait until November to retake. I have passed CDS and SPD. I feel super stuck right now since there's not much I can do in 4 months other than gradually start studying for PPP again. I was planning on transitioning because I do not feel confident that I could pass 4 exams by June 2018. My score report has been all over the place every time I have taken PPP. It's never consistent however I've always passed the vignette. This last time I got a level 1 in programming and a level 2 in project management. I may take the LEED GA exam to pass time but I feel super defeated and not sure what else I could do to get a pass in PPP. Is anybody in the same shoes? Any advice on what to do over the next 4 months or how to pass PPP? See below for my study sources:

CDS/SPD/PPP Kaplan (readings & exams)
Ballast (SPD/CDS/PPP chapters & exams)
Problem Seeking by Wiliam Pena - First Half
Schiff Hardin lectures & AIA contracts with commentary
Jenny Notes
Caroline Notes
PPP/CDS/SPD Archiflash Cards
PPP/CDS/SPD ARE Exam Prep
Designer Hacks
NCARB PPP/CDS/SPD Exam Guide
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby kerzzo » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:26 am

you're probably not alone. this is one of the most difficult exams and the one with the lowest passing rates.
I passed on the third try.
what I studied (for about 5 weeks at least 2 hours every day--weekends more hours):
- Nalsa arch flash + Kaplan flashcards
-Kaplan PPP book
-AIA contracts with commentary(very very important if you dont deal with this at your current office)
-Jenny's and Caroline's notes
-miscellaneous online videos

since you seem to be good with the vignette no point in my telling what to do, but I practiced Nalsa's problem (pencil and paper) and practiced on the NCARB software.

Hope this helps and good luck!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby kerzzo » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:31 am

actually one more i had left out on my previous post...
-SAmple problems and practice exam-PPI- Lepp/Ballast
this was probably one of the most helpful ones.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby sofiasalvat » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:33 am

In my experience, PPP was a mix of almost all of the exams so you have to really broaden your study material to cover basic concepts of all the other exams. Here are my tips:

-Make sure to study Ballast chapters 2,3,5,30,35,55,56
-Skimmed Jenny's Notes for SS and BDCS
-Skimmed first couple of chapters of FEMA
-PPP - Whole Enchilada (Some people swore by this, in the end there wasn't any information here that I couldn't find in Ballast, Jenny or Caroline's notes but the audio was useful to use while going for a run, etc.)
-Rudger's Vignette Tutorial (Coach would probably disagree with me, but this was the only vignette I practiced pre-exam)
-Problem Solving by William Pena

It's a lot of reading but remember to not get into so much detail, like I said, just understand the overall concepts.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:20 pm

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and feedback. The problem is I looked at all these sources and I've looked at all these sources multiple times because I have taken this exam so many times. I feel like I know the material very well. The exam has an abundance of randomness that kills me every time. I've written down dozens and dozens of questions I have had on previous exams and I still haven't been able to pass this one. I felt super confident on my last attempt that it was a pass and I was very surprised to see the "FAIL". I'm not really sure what to do with my time until then.. :oops:
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby vrcat25 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:17 am

I'd study for PPD and PDD since they are basically the same as ppp with A little BS and an even smaller amount of SS. I really think studying for those would not only help prepare you for PPD and PDD but also would help with ppp. Some people never pass these tests so don't get discouraged. At least you got 2 down and it sounds like you have my bad luck. I wouldn't bother studying the whole enchilada or amber. I've heard many people.fail after studying those. Black spectacles seems helpful though, but I've only watched the free videos.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby Anob » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:38 am

greek22

We are both on the same boat. Failed too many times this year and have to wait until September to be eligible to take the exam again. In the mean time I've started gathering and skimming through all the materials I need for all the exams. Taking the PPP exam I've noticed that the questions are everywhere and experience is the best teacher. I've left the traditional architecture office to do construction management so I have to supplement work experience with books and a lot of case studies. And I've humbled myself down a bit and now giving myself 3 months to prepare.

Things I've been to reading:
Young Architects "How to pass the ARE exams" (free advertisement but made me feel a lot better)
Getting back in shape (which is recommended in the book)
"The Power of the Subconscious Mind" (I strongly recommend reading this book)
Daniel wong "How to Study Smart"
MEEB skimming all chapters
Kaplan skimming all books
Ballast skimming the whole book
Case studies on Rehabilitation projects
"Dark Towers" Books 1 and 2 to get me prepared for the movie this August (free advertisement)

Now its time to memorize all the PPP recommended material mentioned in this blog and do all the practice questions.
And that includes:
Kaplan CD,PPP,SD
Ballast PPP,SD
Gang Chen PPP,SD
Designer Hacks CD PPP,SD
Archiflash
Index cards I've created while skimming all my reading material.

I think that is it so far. Hope this helps
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby tufish » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:10 am

Hi greek22,
I do feel your pain. My ARE tour can be traced back to 2006 when i took my first exam in ARE 3.1.
I passed 4 subjects in a row but had to stop due to an unforutnate family emergency.
I had several attempts after moving back my home country but failed them all.
When i moved to london 4 years ago i once again resume the exams, the crasy working hours and a young kid at home make it 10 times harder to study.
I failed PPP first last spring, passed CDS last summer, fail again at PPP last fall, passed SPD March and fail PPP the third time at MAY.
I've booked PPP again next week and wondering if i should just give up at once if fail again.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby JORDANARE » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:58 pm

I tend to agree with Greek22. My approach is similar (though with less time). I also had questions with two answers that easily could have been right. I think i've found a couple ways (that I hope) will help to crack this exam.

1.) Acknowledge the big three for what they are. I don't know if NCARB decided to make these more difficult, but I do believe that most people struggle with one of these. NCARB is not just going to make it a two-month wait period and less testing so it's easier. They still need competent architects, so for whatever reason PPP is really tough and insanely comprehensive, so you just have to accept that unless you have a lot of experience in the area of PM and planning or are a very intuitive test taker that you have to be able to tie almost all the subject matter together.


2.) Create a framework for studying. I hear people say they skimmed certain materials. It's a ton but you should probably try to read most of the material somewhat thoroughly. I've noticed a hand full of questions that were 100% pulled from the recommended material that I didn't know last time.

By framework, here is my approach this time after coming close two other times.

Imagine PPP at the top of triangle or center of a bubble chart or whatever. All the questions I had on the last exam involve second and third layer knowledge in how PPP relates to other areas. Start with broad strokes really connecting BS, BCDS and SS. Then move forward to SPD and CD and finally PPP basics as the exam nears.

There are three major perks here.

One, you will become knowledgeable faster. At the end of the day-- the goal is to become a better designer. No one can guarantee that you won't choke or freeze up on part of the exam, but you will certainly know more about the profession. Make it a goal to know more than you should for your experience level about various aspects of the profession.

Two, You will be much more prepared for the PDD and PPD.

Three, This system creates a framework for reinforcing information. It makes you a more critical reader because you don't find yourself always going over the same thing, and critical reading is critical, and the best part of this is it reinforces all the information and concepts because you can't study for one exam without studying for another, They all overlap in some way, so each time you study for one you are creating a system of overlap, thus reinforcing concepts, so when that crazy coding question comes up that asks about a fire partion, barrier, or wall regulated, you have the tools to think through it rather than just answer it from memory. This test is one where memory alone can hurt you more than the others in my experience.

Hope this helps, and i'll keep people updated.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby yellowmyth » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:56 pm

I passed PPP on my 9th try. What I felt helped me get over the hump was the PPP portion of the Architecture Exam Prep whole enchilada series.

I just purchased the PPP section and it comes loaded with PDFs, online practice exams and flashcards in PDF format.

I was in the same boat, where taking the practice exam, I started questioning if I was passing due to knowing the subject or memorizing the question. There has been so-so reviews on the course on this website, but I was desperate for new study material.

I also purchased Professional Practice: A Guide to Turning Designs Into Buildings by Paul Segal, which was an easy read and very informative. I purchased it on Amazon.

Ballast and Kaplan is essential to studying for the PPP portion of the ARE, but with all the information, it is easy to glance over the "little" things. The Architect Exam Prep study materials in a condensed study material of PPP and it is very useful to study with Ballast and Kaplan.

I wish you the best and a friend of mine told me, you only fail when you give up.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby kerzzo » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:56 am

yellowmyth wrote:I wish you the best and a friend of mine told me, you only fail when you give up.


very mature advice.
that's the attitude...!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:51 pm

Anob wrote: We are both on the same boat. Failed too many times this year and have to wait until September to be eligible to take the exam again. In the mean time I've started gathering and skimming through all the materials I need for all the exams. Taking the PPP exam I've noticed that the questions are everywhere and experience is the best teacher. I've left the traditional architecture office to do construction management so I have to supplement work experience with books and a lot of case studies. And I've humbled myself down a bit and now giving myself 3 months to prepare.


Thanks Anob for your advice. Have you taken any of the other exams yet and passed? It took me 4 tries to pass PPP and only one try with SPD.

vrcat25 wrote:I'd study for PPD and PDD since they are basically the same as ppp with A little BS and an even smaller amount of SS. I really think studying for those would not only help prepare you for PPD and PDD but also would help with ppp. Some people never pass these tests so don't get discouraged. At least you got 2 down and it sounds like you have my bad luck. I wouldn't bother studying the whole enchilada or amber. I've heard many people.fail after studying those. Black spectacles seems helpful though, but I've only watched the free videos.
'

Thanks vrcat. I'm not so convinced that one study material is better than the other. They are all close in content, some more vague than others. I have used and touched upon almost every study resource out there so far. I'll be looking at PPD and PDD as I approach my next PPP exam.

tufish wrote:I failed PPP first last spring, passed CDS last summer, fail again at PPP last fall, passed SPD March and fail PPP the third time at MAY.
I've booked PPP again next week and wondering if i should just give up at once if fail again.


Best of luck on your next PPP attempt! Keep us posted! Definitely do not give up! I know how disappointed and frustrated you must feel because I too am on the same boat but we passed 2/3 of the "most difficult" exams and that's something to be proud of and keep pushing.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:05 pm

JORDANARE wrote:I tend to agree with Greek22. My approach is similar (though with less time). I also had questions with two answers that easily could have been right. I think i've found a couple ways (that I hope) will help to crack this exam.


I agree with you that creating a framework is the best way to approach these exams however I haven't gotten lucky with PPP. I never walked into an exam by just skimming certain materials. I've tried to be as thorough as possible and I've used sources from multiple other exams as well. I know from the amount of times I've taken PPP that theres a huge amount of overlap. It's probably the least "straightforward" exam of the 7 because of its randomness. Thank you for advice! Much appreciated! Keep us updated!



yellowmyth wrote:I passed PPP on my 9th try. What I felt helped me get over the hump was the PPP portion of the Architecture Exam Prep whole enchilada series.


Kudos for you yellowmyth for never giving up and sticking with it! I have used the ARE Whole Enchilada Series from the very beginning of my ARE journey but have been finding it more vague than other sources. I have used the audio, the pdfs and renewed the multiple choice every time I've taken an exam.

I will purchase the professional practice book though! It's probably the only source in this thread that I haven't looked at. Thank you for your advice! I'm sorry you had to take this exam so many times but it's good to know that I'm not the only one who has multiple attempts at PPP. Where are you now in your journey? Have you passed any other exams? Did you only take PPP consecutively? Thank you again!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby tufish » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:59 am

Hi greek22,

i found out i pass PPP this morning. i have to check ncarb so many times to make sure i wasn't dreaming....

suprisingly i didn't spent as much time study as i did last time, i have spent 1 and half hour studying everyday on weekday, nearly full day for the last 2 weekends.

i bought " a guid to turning design into building" by paul segal after my third fail on ppp, read it during the morning commute time, rought 10-20 mins per day. i find this book is useful, i 've got a lot programming questions this time.
After finishing the book i use archiflash in the moring commute and i can get 90% of the answer right.
my strategy was reviewing all the related chapters from ballast and exams
the week before exam I focused on jenny and caroline's notes and also my own notes. then the kaplan questions after each chapter. i always space out quickly when reading kaplan so i didn't even bother to read this time.
i've purchased blackspectacles last time for my third ppp retake, but i didn't have time for them this time. i found them often put me in sleeping mood....:)
i bought design hackers this time. They are not close to the ture exam at all but works like flash card so i can quickly know which area i've missed.

4 times taking the exam, i don't think the queations repeat, i tried to write down the questions from the past 2 times but never have same one in my retake.
Vignette is never be an issue to me, i have passed all the vignette in my past exams.

i never walk out the test center and thinking i will pass confidently...including this time.
but it feels so nice when i can finally move on.

thanks for everyone here in PPP to share their experince so i won't feel along, especially greek22.
I am very close to give up but your post and the response posts are the main support for me.
I just count the exams i've had 19 exams since 2007, and i still not done yet. :oops:
NEVER GIVE UP!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:13 pm

tufish wrote:thanks for everyone here in PPP to share their experince so i won't feel along, especially greek22.
I am very close to give up but your post and the response posts are the main support for me.
I just count the exams i've had 19 exams since 2007, and i still not done yet. :oops:
NEVER GIVE UP!


That is amazing news!! Congratulations!! I can't imagine how happy you must feel! Thank you for sharing your experience and your process! It's definitely inspiring! I'm taking the rest of the summer off to refresh and travel but come September again ill be studying for PPP again. I plan on testing early November. Congrats again!!!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby dbayrami » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:41 pm

I have to pass four more exams by June also, it is definitely nerve wracking. I failed PPP once already, and am studying for the retest in a month. It took me three tries to pass SPD, and I failed CDS twice already too. none of these tests are easy, but the hard work should pay off soon. Keep trying!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:06 am

Placing this thread at the top again. I took a little break this summer from the ARE's to recharge and refresh. I studied and passed the LEED exam last week so I didn't totally abandon studying habits.

And so, I started studying this week for PPP and will be taking it in early November for hopefully the last time. I hope to transition to 5.0 after this since I passed CDS and SPD. How does everybody start studying for an exam? I'm curious to see how people approach an exam and how they begin. I typically start with the audio from ARE Prep to get in the mindset and then take off from there. I'm open to new ideas and suggestions though.
Last edited by Coach on Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed that for you
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby VTBassdrum13 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:27 am

greek22 wrote:How does everybody start studying for an exam? I'm curious to see how people approach an exam and how they begin. I typically start with the audio from ARE Prep to get in the mindset and then take off from there. I'm open to new ideas and suggestions though.


Congrats on LEED! That's a tedious one.

I started my most reason PPP studying with Black Spectacles videos. The facebook page normally has coupon codes to reduce the price slightly. Personally, this helped me set a foundation of knowledge before trying to read & comprehend dense textbooks. I find if I dive right into textbooks I end up retaining much less than if I start with visual aids. Sometimes I'll even start with the vignette practice to get the ball rolling if I'm really struggling to focus. There is a pretty good PPP Youtube playlist of various topics as well which helps with comprehension outside of a textbook.

This exam took me multiple attempts as well and I found it the most difficult out of all of 4.0 due to the wide range of topics. Definitely reserve time to study nearly all of your CDS material as well. Caroline's notes are great recap of everything the week of the exam.

Good luck!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:09 am

VTBassdrum13 wrote: I started my most reason PPP studying with Black Spectacles videos. The facebook page normally has coupon codes to reduce the price slightly. Personally, this helped me set a foundation of knowledge before trying to read & comprehend dense textbooks. I find if I dive right into textbooks I end up retaining much less than if I start with visual aids. Sometimes I'll even start with the vignette practice to get the ball rolling if I'm really struggling to focus. There is a pretty good PPP Youtube playlist of various topics as well which helps with comprehension outside of a textbook.


Thank you! Congratulations to you as well!!! A lot of people swear by Black Spectacles. I have not used it yet. I may give it a try this time around. I am the same way also - I can't jump right into the heavy readings so that's why I typically start with the ARE prep audio.

I noticed on your post the other day that you read the Professional Practice book by Paul Segal. Did you find this source helpful? Did you read the entire book? I was planning on reading this after I finish listening to the audio. I have failed the "Programming" part of this exam almost every time I took it. Any suggestions for that section of the exam?
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby AREator » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:15 am

yellowmyth wrote:I passed PPP on my 9th try.


I'm glad I now know that it can take that many tries ...but that is so depressing/discouraging.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby AREator » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:43 pm

sofiasalvat wrote:-Skimmed first couple of chapters of FEMA


Thanks Sofiaslavat
(and others)
What is this FEMA doc, and where can I find it?
Where can I get the 30 pages of notes on practice management from AHPP (somebody else mentioned)?
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby rbbarnh1 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:27 pm

This is such a great read. Thanks for keeping the thread alive. I too have had a horrible experience with the ARE. Failed BDSC 3 times, SPD 3 times and I recently failed PPP for the third time and would have had to wait until April of 2018 to retake. :( So, I transitioned to 5.0 because I lose CDS /CE in November of 2018. Reading this makes me know i'm not alone in Failing.. I am only a failure if I give up..

As Tom Petty said,
"It's time to move on, time to get going
What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing
But under my feet, baby, grass is growing
It's time to move on, it's time to get going"
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby DANIIFACE » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:17 pm

If I understand correctly you do not actually lose CDS! I have only passed CDS and before I had another exam registered it said that I could transition over to 5.0 and only have 5 exams left.. instead of all 6 if I were to lose CDS. Correct me if I am wrong but passing CDS before the 4.0 goes away is still a win?
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:02 am

DANIIFACE wrote:If I understand correctly you do not actually lose CDS! I have only passed CDS and before I had another exam registered it said that I could transition over to 5.0 and only have 5 exams left.. instead of all 6 if I were to lose CDS. Correct me if I am wrong but passing CDS before the 4.0 goes away is still a win?


That is correct. Passing CDS, will eliminate one 5.0 exam. Passing CDS & PPP will eliminate three 5.0 exams and passing CDS, SPD, and PPP will eliminate four 5.0 exams. Of course, you have to pass all of the exams within a five year time span and before your rolling clock is over.

See ARE calculator provided by NCARB: https://arecalc.ncarb.org/
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby hllARE » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:47 pm

I found fema454 in pdf online. Is this the FEMA you mentioned for PPP studies? What should we focus on study? Seismeic?
Thanks for advice.
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Re: Struggling with PPP 4 times, level 2 or 3

Postby cubeist » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:20 am

I am struggling with PPP as well.i keep failing the vignette level 3 or level 2 always. I just don't understand where I am going wrong. My goal is to pass PPP and transition. I passed my CDS,SPD,SD... I have tried PPP 4 times now. If I plan on transitioning I have to give 5 exams in 5.0. I just don't have the energy left though I don't give up that easily. This morning I thought I'll transition but when I looked at the material I thought I should give PPP another try. One last time!
I know a lot of us are in the same boat but I am puzzled to where I am going wrong in the vignette. Are the any alts available for PPP? I am going to focus only on the vignette now since the MC I am able to crack.
I just. Free it's so unfair to do 5 more exams when I am failing PPP only in the vignette.
A nobody who passed PPP can u please advice?
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:02 pm

cubeist wrote:I am struggling with PPP as well.i keep failing the vignette level 3 or level 2 always. I just don't understand where I am going wrong. My goal is to pass PPP and transition. I passed my CDS,SPD,SD... I have tried PPP 4 times now. If I plan on transitioning I have to give 5 exams in 5.0. I just don't have the energy left though I don't give up that easily. This morning I thought I'll transition but when I looked at the material I thought I should give PPP another try. One last time!
I know a lot of us are in the same boat but I am puzzled to where I am going wrong in the vignette. Are the any alts available for PPP? I am going to focus only on the vignette now since the MC I am able to crack.
I just. Free it's so unfair to do 5 more exams when I am failing PPP only in the vignette.
A nobody who passed PPP can u please advice?


Cubiest, it looks like we're both struggling with PPP but for opposite reasons. For the vignette - I recommend a few things:
1. Post your vignette here and/or on the NCARB forum for review by peers. This is critical.
2. https://vimeo.com/50457422 - If you haven't already, I recommend this video. Watch it first by just paying very close attention to the speaker then watch it again while performing the vignette alongside the speaker and then try it again on your own.
3. Practice makes perfect. Be sure you write down all the important information down when taking the exam and be very aware of the terminology used. Read the program carefully and use the first 10 minutes or so just to write down the information.

Are you scoring well on the MC? If so, any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks and good luck! Don't give up!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby cubeist » Sun Nov 05, 2017 3:20 am

Greek 22, thank you for listening to my vent and replying. I have posted my vignette and got comments. since there is only one vignette to solve i already know how to solve this, so i don't keep posting it again and again and again for all my tests. I think I should get my hands on the Alts and try them out. When i took the exam 3rd time, I zoomed in at each and every area and made sure about the snaps reread and read my scratch paper that i did similar to the vimeo video and Brudgers notes, I managed to fail in Level 2 and his puzzled me!!! The vignette was so similar to the practice exam. My 4th test was a bit of a twister and I failed level 3. I really did not have time to zoom in and check out tolerances. I am frustrated becoz I passed all sections in level 1, and this is second time n a row I am getting this result.
The way I study for MC is 10-15 min brainstorm the concept of anything in PPP. Draw that concept up on a Post it note and I stick it on the wall. there is understanding of small concepts and large concepts. I just try to break them down and understand them in small chunks. I'dd about 10 concepts and take break. But I listen to Whole Enchiladas audio tapes when I am driving. Black spectacle videos, Grasp anything I don't know from Jenny's notes, stuff I do at work etc, helps me nail down the MC position of the test. I stlll do not have a complete understanding of a lot of areas like Preservation and Business Organization, but with the little concept notes I make I was able to crack the MC's twice in a row failing the Vignette in Level 3. The other two times I failed in Programming Analysis and one time in Code, I think. I just mad a more close concept study of these two sections when I attempted the 4th time. Overall understanding concepts have helped me a lot an I oo not sit for hours together as i really dont have time with a full time job, and kids. I also drive a lot to work and back.
Which sections are you failing in MC? It would be good to focus down on the concepts related to that Section. Let me know how I can help more.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:37 pm

cubeist wrote:Greek 22, thank you for listening to my vent and replying. I have posted my vignette and got comments. since there is only one vignette to solve i already know how to solve this, so i don't keep posting it again and again and again for all my tests. I think I should get my hands on the Alts and try them out.


You mentioned you used Whole Enchilada - I just checked and they actually have alternate vignettes in their DIY Workbook & Vignette Review Guide. This came along with their PPP package. If your looking for something different, this may be beneficial for you! They have different programs using the same NCARB software. I've used their alternates for SPD and found them super helpful. Give it a shot! Practice makes perfect!

Thank you for your taking the time to discuss your process. I also use the Whole Enchilada audio for drives, while I'm at work etc. I find them very helpful. I'm failing programming and analysis almost every time and on my last exam, I got a level 2 in project management and a level 3 in programming and analysis. I've been trying my best to focus primarily on concepts and overall ideas and brain dumps (questions I wrote down that I remember from the exams). If you have any tips for those 2 sections in particular, I'd appreciate it. Thanks again!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby cubeist » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:26 am

Greek 22,
Focus on the Preservation concepts
Orientation of Building on Site Plan with respect to Weather
Organizational Aspects of Space planning, Socioeconomic values that lead to Organization of Spaces
Organization of the Company - LLC Sole etc, Architecture Business basically, Liabilities, Risks, and insurance
Scheduling - for Project Manager
Scheduling Tool - Gnatt vs CPM
Building Efficiencies
FAR
Slope Percentages
Circulation, these are some of the few I focused on this time. Do you listen to Black Spectacles as well? I think he is very concept oriented. Do listen to all his videos.
Of course, you should know a bit of Contract from CDS. Hope this list helps. There is more that I can add to the list but these are the few concepts I brushed up good for my 4th test
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby cubeist » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:29 am

tufish wrote:Hi greek22,

i found out i pass PPP this morning. i have to check ncarb so many times to make sure i wasn't dreaming....

suprisingly i didn't spent as much time study as i did last time, i have spent 1 and half hour studying everyday on weekday, nearly full day for the last 2 weekends.

i bought " a guid to turning design into building" by paul segal after my third fail on ppp, read it during the morning commute time, rought 10-20 mins per day. i find this book is useful, i 've got a lot programming questions this time.
After finishing the book i use archiflash in the moring commute and i can get 90% of the answer right.
my strategy was reviewing all the related chapters from ballast and exams
the week before exam I focused on jenny and caroline's notes and also my own notes. then the kaplan questions after each chapter. i always space out quickly when reading kaplan so i didn't even bother to read this time.
i've purchased blackspectacles last time for my third ppp retake, but i didn't have time for them this time. i found them often put me in sleeping mood....:)
i bought design hackers this time. They are not close to the ture exam at all but works like flash card so i can quickly know which area i've missed.

4 times taking the exam, i don't think the queations repeat, i tried to write down the questions from the past 2 times but never have same one in my retake.
Vignette is never be an issue to me, i have passed all the vignette in my past exams.

i never walk out the test center and thinking i will pass confidently...including this time.
but it feels so nice when i can finally move on.

thanks for everyone here in PPP to share their experince so i won't feel along, especially greek22.
I am very close to give up but your post and the response posts are the main support for me.
I just count the exams i've had 19 exams since 2007, and i still not done yet. :oops:
NEVER GIVE UP!



Tufish, Can you help me understand where I am failing in the Vignette? I failed my Vignette 4 times already. I am planning on maiking a video and posting it only so people can comment on it as well. Just 2D Screen shots are not helping.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:53 pm

cubeist wrote:Greek 22,
Focus on the Preservation concepts
Orientation of Building on Site Plan with respect to Weather
Organizational Aspects of Space planning, Socioeconomic values that lead to Organization of Spaces
Organization of the Company - LLC Sole etc, Architecture Business basically, Liabilities, Risks, and insurance
Scheduling - for Project Manager
Scheduling Tool - Gnatt vs CPM
Building Efficiencies
FAR
Slope Percentages
Circulation, these are some of the few I focused on this time. Do you listen to Black Spectacles as well? I think he is very concept oriented. Do listen to all his videos.
Of course, you should know a bit of Contract from CDS. Hope this list helps. There is more that I can add to the list but these are the few concepts I brushed up good for my 4th test


Thanks for your advice! Much appreciated!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby tufish » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:38 am

Hi Cubeist,

sorry I just see this post.
I decided to transit to ARE 5.0 PPD so I now spend most of the time at PPD and PDD.
Vignette has never been an issue for me since I started taking the exams.
I past all the vignettes at first try back in ARE 3.0. Back then I signed up Prof. Dorf’s course (now NALSA). He was still alive and you can sent him the practice vignette for him to review….it was long long time ago.
I was lucky my office provide the free access to the vignette video when I started the process again, and it helps.
https://www.nalsa.com/order-products/divisions-g.html
for me vignette is very straight forward. Just follow the program, don’t overthink.
I didn’t spend much time on checking if the lines are aligned in the precise location…
Hope this will help…
Hanging there, don’t give up.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:27 pm

I got my results back from my retake and unfortunately I failed again :cry:

I don't know what else I could do at this time. I've used every source recommended here and I studied so hard. I know the information so well at this point. The exam that I took, without giving any specifics, was like nothing I've ever seen before. It seems like I got hit with a brand new exam and there was sooo many questions that didn't even apply to the material I studied or used. I have over 60 questions written down from previous PPP exams I've taken in the past and I feel like I didn't have many this time around. I scored a level 3 on programming & analysis (the part I fail every time) and a level 3 on environmental/social/economic.

I'm feeling very down and upset. I have (2) more attempts for PPP - one in January and the last in the beginning of June - cutting it very close to the final deadline for 4.0. I really don't want to get stuck in a situation where I would have to take 5 brand new exams as opposed to just finishing PPP and taking 2 new exams. This is the only exam holding me back from transitioning to 5.0. I have about 4 years remaining on my rolling clock but I REALLY don't want to use much more of it. Anybody on the same boat? Anybody have any words of advice? I could really use them right now.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby dbayrami » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:25 am

greek22 wrote:I got my results back from my retake and unfortunately I failed again :cry:

I don't know what else I could do at this time. I've used every source recommended here and I studied so hard. I know the information so well at this point. The exam that I took, without giving any specifics, was like nothing I've ever seen before. It seems like I got hit with a brand new exam and there was sooo many questions that didn't even apply to the material I studied or used. I have over 60 questions written down from previous PPP exams I've taken in the past and I feel like I didn't have many this time around. I scored a level 3 on programming & analysis (the part I fail every time) and a level 3 on environmental/social/economic.

I'm feeling very down and upset. I have (2) more attempts for PPP - one in January and the last in the beginning of June - cutting it very close to the final deadline for 4.0. I really don't want to get stuck in a situation where I would have to take 5 brand new exams as opposed to just finishing PPP and taking 2 new exams. This is the only exam holding me back from transitioning to 5.0. I have about 4 years remaining on my rolling clock but I REALLY don't want to use much more of it. Anybody on the same boat? Anybody have any words of advice? I could really use them right now.



I'm in a similar boat. I want to finish under 4.0, and have cds and ppp left. spd took me three tries, and I'm on my third chance for the last two. The content for this branch of the ARE is so vast, I'm not sure how anyone is supposed to study for it. When I took David Thaddeus' course for SS, I asked around for a similar course for ppp/cds. Apparently these is none. CDS for me is right before Christmas, so the pressure is on. If I dont pass this time, I have to wait until the beginning of March. I dont have PPP scheduled yet, but if I fail it a third time, it doesn't open for me again until March. Cutting it close is putting things nicely.

All the other tests I passed on the first try with easy to moderate studying. These three have gone from barely failing (only one level 2) to almost all level 3. I'm not really sure what else to cover in my studying either.
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby thd7t » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:40 am

I have some thoughts, but I will have better justification for them, soon. The material is not the problem for you. It's the exam. PPP has a huge overlap with CDS and SPD, which you've passed. This exam is weird and broad and it is getting to you.

I think that you should reconsider transitioning. However, in the 5.0 structure, it is a smaller part of each exam and you know that these exams are more in your wheelhouse. If you take PA in 5.0, for example, you have the benefit of material that you've passed in SPD. The same is true of the other exams that share material with PPP.

I also think that for people with more experience in the field, case studies make a lot of sense. Every day, I look through references to make sure that my work is appropriate, so knowing where to find information makes test taking easier. Finally, you may find information in case studies or their references that jog your memory on other exam questions. This has happened to me in 4.0 exams and I think the case study format will be better for it.

I realize that you want to get this done in 3 more exams, but it could easily be 4 more exams given the difficulty of PPP. I think that you should cut you losses. I will be able to give this advice more confidently on November 30, after I take PA as my first 5.0 exam, but I think you should consider it.

TLDR: The problem is the exam, not you. Get away from this exam!
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby dbayrami » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:00 am

thd7t wrote:I have some thoughts, but I will have better justification for them, soon. The material is not the problem for you. It's the exam. PPP has a huge overlap with CDS and SPD, which you've passed. This exam is weird and broad and it is getting to you.

I think that you should reconsider transitioning. However, in the 5.0 structure, it is a smaller part of each exam and you know that these exams are more in your wheelhouse. If you take PA in 5.0, for example, you have the benefit of material that you've passed in SPD. The same is true of the other exams that share material with PPP.

I also think that for people with more experience in the field, case studies make a lot of sense. Every day, I look through references to make sure that my work is appropriate, so knowing where to find information makes test taking easier. Finally, you may find information in case studies or their references that jog your memory on other exam questions. This has happened to me in 4.0 exams and I think the case study format will be better for it.

I realize that you want to get this done in 3 more exams, but it could easily be 4 more exams given the difficulty of PPP. I think that you should cut you losses. I will be able to give this advice more confidently on November 30, after I take PA as my first 5.0 exam, but I think you should consider it.

TLDR: The problem is the exam, not you. Get away from this exam!


Lol, this is great! I wish I could get away, but I'd rather not have to take 5 new ones in place of the 2 SOB's I have left. If I knew about the transition plan when I started testing, I would have planned accordingly.

Greek22, input?
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby greek22 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:03 am

dbayrami wrote: Lol, this is great! I wish I could get away, but I'd rather not have to take 5 new ones in place of the 2 SOB's I have left. If I knew about the transition plan when I started testing, I would have planned accordingly.

Greek22, input?


I absolutely agree with you, dbayrami. I put in so much effort, time and money to pass the "BIG 3", even before I knew about the transition plan. Abandoning my efforts now (3 years deep) to take 5 brand new exams that I have no information on yet because I am soo consumed in 4.0 is not really what I want to do just yet. I'm very fearful because I will have to revert to this option if I don't pass in the next 2 attempts.. Even after taking PPP so many times, I still can't figure out the best way to approach it. The exam keeps getting harder and harder with every attempt.

I am open to taking a course like Thaddeus for PPP but I have not been able to find anything like it (My local AIA chapter offered a small series of bootcamp classes for all the exams but it wasn't enough to get me there and was more of a general overview). It's very frustrating. I don't know what else I could possibly do..
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Re: Struggling with PPP

Postby dbayrami » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:34 pm

I have not been able to find any crash courses for these exams either. i feel like i have a pretty good handle on general overview myself. I would love an "amber book" for PPP.
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