SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Site Grading & Site Design Vignettes and Multiple Choice

SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby KeepCalm&ARE » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:53 am

Hello Everyone!

It's a PASS! First and foremost, THANKS to all of you who helped me by reviewing vignettes and sharing study tips and materials. Without your support it would have been VERY difficult to get through this one.

This was my first attempt at this test. Took it 2/12/16 received results 12/19/16. This was a tough one for me as I took it after PPP (which I failed). I was a bit disoriented & overwhelmed with what to study, since I thought I had prepped well for PPP and still didn't make it through with a pass. I read A LOT, still got quite a few questions from topics I was unfamiliar with or didn't study thoroughly. For those I answered by elimination, logical reasoning or took a wild guess. Without going into specifics I got A LOT of haz. mats stuff, sustainability questions and code (mostly ADA). The vignettes where pretty straightforward, nothing out of left field like my PPP vignette. I was able to finish both in 1 hr. 20 mins. so don't get frustrated when you can get the timing right during practicing. I was never able to get my practice vignettes under 2 hours and on test day I breezed through them.

Here's my study materials and process:
*Third test taken (1st CDS - pass, 2nd PPP -fail)
*Studied 70 hrs total over a 7 week period (non consecutively though). Had studied for PPP right before so that helped with the overlapping material.
*Focused on topics I had very little knowledge about, then reviewed familiar material.

BOOKS:
*ARE Review Manual Chs. 2, 3, 5, 30, 35, 55, 56
*Kaplan version 3.1 Predesign 1 & 2
*Site Planning & Design Hanbook by Thomas Russ (relevant chapters - most of the book!)
*ADA Stds. for Accessible Design (all chapter relating to ramps, site & parking stuff, general clearances, etc.)
*Fundamentals of Building Construction Ch. 2
*MEEB Ch. 3
*Whole Enchilada SPD Book (read part, listened to part, see note below)
*Archiflash 3.1
*Random readings from Google searches relating to unfamiliar topics

VIGNETTES:
*Dorf videos & book
*Ballast
*Whole Enchilada vignette videos.

PRACTICE TESTS:
*Whole Enchilada Online Test simulator.
*Old ALS computer test program for 3.1
*Ballast questions from old 3.1 version book.
*Kaplan 3.1 Predesign 1 & 2 book questions

A note on the Whole Enchilada: I was desperate the last two weeks seeing how much material I still had to cover, so I decided to take the plunge and buy the Whole Enchilada by Architect Exam Prep. It seems a bit expensive ($100 ea division) but I have to say it was well worth it. It has an audio guide which is basically the book read by one of the authors of the product. It is a bit light on the material, but if you have read Ballast or Kaplan prior, it will help you review the material and the best thing is you can listen to it anywhere (commuting to work, excersizing, doing laundry, etc) you really make the most of your time by having this audio resource. The other thing I found useful where the video vignettes and the online exam simulator. The test questions are a bit easy compared to the real test, but it is good practice and it will help you build confidence.

Good luck to you all and don't get discouraged, this road is tough but not impossible!
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby jpwalkerare » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:32 pm

Site Planning & Design Hanbook by Thomas Russ (relevant chapters - most of the book!)


how much did this book help? i'm thinking about buying it. did you look into "Site Engineering for Landscape Architects"?

thanks.
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby arearcher » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:55 am

jpwalkerare wrote:Site Planning & Design Hanbook by Thomas Russ (relevant chapters - most of the book!)
how much did this book help? did you look into "Site Engineering for Landscape Architects"?


I also want to know. Buying each text on NCARB's list is prohibitively expensive. Libraries around where I live don't have most of them, nor does my office. I took SPD this past Saturday and felt woefully unprepared studying Ballast, Kaplan, and Jenny's Notes.

Did you read any sections from AHPP on lighting or parking?

Edit: I passed too! No idea how. Felt like I failed for sure. I got lucky.
Last edited by arearcher on Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby KeepCalm&ARE » Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:47 am

Hi!

Yes, it gets very expensive buying all books on NCARB's list, and even some on the list are a waste of $ (at least for these tests). I have been able to purchase some discounted books here on the forum and on Amazon. I also dig deep into Google and sometimes come up with the whole book in PDF (like the one above). I have gradually purchased the "main" books and so far I have used them for several tests. The ones I recommend for CDS, PPP and SPD:
-MEEB (think I paid like $81 on Amazon, new) used it for PPP, SPD. Will use for BS and probably BDCS
-Fundamentals of Building Construction ($80 on Amazon, new) PPP, SPD will use for BDSC
-Handbook of Professional Practice, STUDENT Ed. ($60 on Amazon, I've seen some copies here) MUST read for CDS and PPP.
These tests do get expensive so I try to be picky about what I buy.

As for lighting in parking, I don't recall reading on it, it is probably somewhere in the T. Russ book.

Good luck!
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby jpwalkerare » Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:34 am

Thanks for the info.


I just passed BS and let me tell you that reading MEEB (relevant chapters) and looking through other resources for backup is a really smart thing to do.
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby mclaw131 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:09 am

Following this as well. Seems like getting through the whole Russ book will be time consuming, and challenging for any type of quick schedule. Is there any portions that are more important than others? It would seem like the following would be of most importance:

Chapter 3, Site Data and Analysis
Chapter 4, Design for Communities (particularly the portions about security and lighting)
Chapter 5, Design for People
Chapter 6, Street and Parking Design
Chapter 7, Site Grading
Chapter 8, Infrastructure
Appendix A, Environmental Site Assessment
Appendix B, Preparedness, Prevention, Contingency Plan

Yes, sustainability is important, but is it going to be a high-focus area? (ch. 1 and 2), as well as landscape design and preservation (ch. 9, 10, 11, 12)? Project management is well covered in PPP/CDS materials.
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby jpwalkerare » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:18 am

mclaw131 wrote:Yes, sustainability is important, but is it going to be a high-focus area? (ch. 1 and 2), as well as landscape design and preservation (ch. 9, 10, 11, 12)? Project management is well covered in PPP/CDS materials.


according to the ncarb spd exam guide ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES are 24-32 percent of scored items. so it is a pretty sizable chunk
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby KeepCalm&ARE » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:11 pm

mclaw131 wrote:Following this as well. Seems like getting through the whole Russ book will be time consuming, and challenging for any type of quick schedule. Is there any portions that are more important than others? It would seem like the following would be of most importance:

Chapter 3, Site Data and Analysis
Chapter 4, Design for Communities (particularly the portions about security and lighting)
Chapter 5, Design for People
Chapter 6, Street and Parking Design
Chapter 7, Site Grading
Chapter 8, Infrastructure
Appendix A, Environmental Site Assessment
Appendix B, Preparedness, Prevention, Contingency Plan

Yes, sustainability is important, but is it going to be a high-focus area? (ch. 1 and 2), as well as landscape design and preservation (ch. 9, 10, 11, 12)? Project management is well covered in PPP/CDS materials.


Add chapters 2 and 9. Specially 9. I'd say a little over 1/3 of my test was sustainable/haz mats/remediation stuff. I read all those chaptera in about a week and a half, spend about 1.5-2 hrs a night. I didn' t read all chapter every chapter, just the things that Ballast/kaplan went over and topics I didn't know much about. There's a lot of more technical stuff you can just skip. In my opinion, it helped a lot. I didn't read anything beyond Ch. 10.

Good luck!
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby mclaw131 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:25 pm

KeepCalm&ARE wrote:
mclaw131 wrote:Following this as well. Seems like getting through the whole Russ book will be time consuming, and challenging for any type of quick schedule. Is there any portions that are more important than others? It would seem like the following would be of most importance:

Chapter 3, Site Data and Analysis
Chapter 4, Design for Communities (particularly the portions about security and lighting)
Chapter 5, Design for People
Chapter 6, Street and Parking Design
Chapter 7, Site Grading
Chapter 8, Infrastructure
Appendix A, Environmental Site Assessment
Appendix B, Preparedness, Prevention, Contingency Plan

Yes, sustainability is important, but is it going to be a high-focus area? (ch. 1 and 2), as well as landscape design and preservation (ch. 9, 10, 11, 12)? Project management is well covered in PPP/CDS materials.


Add chapters 2 and 9. Specially 9. I'd say a little over 1/3 of my test was sustainable/haz mats/remediation stuff. I read all those chaptera in about a week and a half, spend about 1.5-2 hrs a night. I didn' t read all chapter every chapter, just the things that Ballast/kaplan went over and topics I didn't know much about. There's a lot of more technical stuff you can just skip. In my opinion, it helped a lot. I didn't read anything beyond Ch. 10.

Good luck!

Thank you. I know it was important, just I've reviewed a lot of other material regarding that. Ch 1 was a waste, but Ch 2 is adding. Did you not get into the ESA and PPP portion of the book? I've read on here that stormwater prevention stuff (SWPPPs plans) is potentially on the exam, so that might save me from going through the length EPA documents on top of this.
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby KeepCalm&ARE » Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:50 pm

Hi there!

I didn't read SWPP, but did read some EPA documents on hazardous materials and remediation which helped me a lot. As for stormwater management I just read Ballast, Kaplan and what the SPD Handbook had to say on it.
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby designtheme » Sun May 08, 2016 2:12 pm

Very helpful!
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby SLOmustang713 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:30 am

KeepCalm&ARE wrote:Hi there!

I didn't read SWPP, but did read some EPA documents on hazardous materials and remediation which helped me a lot. As for stormwater management I just read Ballast, Kaplan and what the SPD Handbook had to say on it.



Hi, I realize you took this last year, but where did you find the info on the EPA website or the documents regarding the Hazardous Material mitigation?

Thanks!
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby KeepCalm&ARE » Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:53 am

Hi!

Yes, it was a while ago but if I remember correctly they where printouts from the EPA webpage (I inherited them from a colleague). But I do remember googling the topics I was unfamiliar with and reading a lot from EPA in my archives. If you need anything else DM me or reply here.

Good luck!
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Re: SPD PASS! My experience & study materials

Postby SLOmustang713 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:34 am

Thank you!
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