Advice Needed

Structural Layout Vignette and Multiple Choice

Advice Needed

Postby trekkster » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:08 am

Hello All,

This one test is the bane of my existence. I have taken it 4 times now. I have had varied amounts of success with all the parts but the one piece that I just cant nail down is the lateral forces. What advice do you guys have out there for passing that section of the exam? It was the only part I didn't pass with a 3 in the last go around and I got 1s on everything else.

Also on a side note... I am preparing for BS now, still aiming to beat the clock before I am forced to transition... since I am having such a hard time with SS would it be a safer bet to just transition now and take PPD and PDD instead?
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Melon Panda » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:34 am

Sorry, this is not the advice for you. I am also the one who needs some help to pass SS. I took Mitalski's SS course and Thaddeus and still couldn't pass. I need some advice. Huge amount of contents and they threw me very detailed questions in the exam.

-Melon
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby introversed » Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:21 am

How do you all study when you take these courses?

Notes? Flashcards? etc.

The note taking / retention process is just as important (if not more so) than the actual study. I'm pretty bad about remembering things I haven't reread a dozen times, so my own strategy was to make flashcards. It took me twice as long to get through thaddeus because I kept pausing his videos to rephrase his words into little Q&A's and write them down, but I reviewed them constantly and hammered the info into my brain.

The other thing that comes to mind is that even some of the most specific questions can sometimes be answered with an understanding of the principles of structure.
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:13 am

Trickster, not sure if this is helpful, but if you only have SS and BS, you still have over a year before you HAVE to transition! If you feel more comfortable with the format of 5.0, do it. But you have time!

If you have some extra dough, you can get through BS in about 3 weeks to a month with the Amber Course. I fruitlessly studied for BS with Kaplan for a month, read every chapter, before I gave in and bought the Amber Course. After starting Amber Course, I actually moved my test UP by a month, got through all of the videos 2x, once writing notes and the second time just watching while I was exercising, and felt confident walking into the exam. You can do this!

For SS, I'm using the ArchiFlash/NALSA flashcards for Lateral Forces. I know I have the old 3.1 set that divides up General Structures and Lateral Forces. Getting your hands on those may help? Otherwise, reading FEMA and Buildings at Risk has put the Lateral Forces info firmly into my brain. Besides this, I'm not really sure! Sorry!
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby trekkster » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:08 am

corbismyhomeboy, for the most part i have relied exclusively on Kaplan/Ballast for all of the exams. So I have to admit I havent branched out that much. I think I am going to invest the funds in the Thaddius course everyone here talks about. I have never been the best test taker my whole life so I always have the fear of just spinning my wheels wasting this year and then having to force the transition. I have never had any issues with the Vignettes on any of the tests so far so I am pretty comfortable with 4.0. I have BS, SS and SD left. I am not even looking at SD until SS and BS are passed simply for the fact it doesn't transition well. I will look into the Amber Course you are talking about for BS. The sooner i get this one out of the way the more time i have to REALLY take on structures again, properly.
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:49 am

Trekkster, I would be very surprised if you failed you using Amber Course. It's really helpful to get the concepts down, and well produced with actual demonstrations and examples to help you remember. He tells you during the video "ok this is a concept you'll want to review the night before." As you go, make a list of those concepts so you have a little cheat sheet to look over. I used that and the ArchiFlash cards and Black Spectacles and passed. Black Spectacles wasn't really helpful for this - except the free mock exam video.

I'm studying for SS now. I'm such a dunce at structures; I BARELY passed any of my three structures courses in undergrad and that was with a very generous curve and with a ton of studying. I just never understood until Thaddeus. He uses plastic toys so you can see "ok if there is pushing here, the beam is going to do this".

Melon Panda, without giving away too much about the exam you took, did you have detailed questions about material you had studied or just stuff you weren't familiar with yet? Have you studied for BDCS yet?
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Melon Panda » Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:19 pm

Corbismyhomeboy, I have passed CDS, SPD and PPP and not yet taken BDCS. I looked up Jenney notes and Kaplan for the BDCS contents, and I'm sure BDCS will be my next exam. I think the level of the difficulty for SS is the same as the other exams. However, I think just the amount of the areas to cover... It's a LOT!

I have already spent more than 6 months for SS now. I don't want to switch to BDCS and re-study from nothing. My plan was passing SS by March or April, 2017 then passing BDCS and BS by May, 2018. And finish the ARE with SD in June, 2018. I don't know... Should I switch and study for BDCS and come back for SS later? I don't want to waste of my time!
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:08 pm

Melon Panda, SS has so much overlap with BDCS. It would probably actually help you to study for BDCS, get a better understanding of the differences in the materials, and memorize the stupid minutiae that BDCS requires about materials. I totally get what you mean about re-studying, but if you go to BDCS, get that info, then come back to SS, you should be ok. You won't be starting from scratch. Save BS for after because it has much less to do with BDCS or SS. In my testing order, I did BDCS (failed), SPD, CDS, PPP, SD, BDCS (pass!), took a 3 month break for the holidays/football season, BS, and now SS. Now that I'm at SS, I'm wishing I had taken it directly after BDCS because I'm having to go back a refresh what I learned. Both times I took BDCS there were BS/SS questions on the test, but they were relatively basic, like you could figure them out logically without any studying of BS or SS.
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Melon Panda » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:34 pm

Corbismyhomeboy, I have already scheduled my SS retake in May. This is going to be my third attemp for SS anyway. If I failed it again I have to move on to BDCS and come back to take SS in December. I more worry about the time that I'm wasting to retake and retake the exams between 4.0 and 5.0. :evil:
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby chrisschumm » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:57 pm

Just bought thaddeus! dont mean to nerd out but this is probably the only test i'm actually excited to learn the content for! Found out this morning that i passed my BS retake so im down to 2 SS & PPP - I bombed ppp 3 times and had to wait 6 months (i didn't study as i should have for ppp) .. so naturally i stayed with 4.0 lol!
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Coach » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:59 pm

chrisschumm wrote:dont mean to nerd out but this is probably the only test i'm actually excited to learn the content for!

Don't they teach structures in school anymore?
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby chrisschumm » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:40 am

Don't they teach structures in school anymore?

Im sure they do.. But unlike the majority of the people here i didn't go to college, i started working in architecture right out of high school :shock:
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby corbismyhomeboy » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:12 am

Coach wrote:
chrisschumm wrote:dont mean to nerd out but this is probably the only test i'm actually excited to learn the content for!

Don't they teach structures in school anymore?


They do, but not enough about earthquakes and wind. I had an intern who told me they only took 1 (ONE!) structural class in the whole 4 years of her undergrad program. Curriculum is cheapened by this 4+2 mentality in my opinion. My undergrad program had 3, and a separate systems course, and a materials+methods course. I wish more time would be spent on those things (where it matters) instead of design studios where everything is ethereal made up BS. (Getting off the soapbox now.)

Glad for you chris that you are looking forward to SS. I loved the Thaddeus course, but I'm so ready to be done with this content.
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby chrisschumm » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:20 am

corbismyhomeboy wrote:
Coach wrote:
chrisschumm wrote:dont mean to nerd out but this is probably the only test i'm actually excited to learn the content for!

Don't they teach structures in school anymore?


They do, but not enough about earthquakes and wind. I had an intern who told me they only took 1 (ONE!) structural class in the whole 4 years of her undergrad program. Curriculum is cheapened by this 4+2 mentality in my opinion. My undergrad program had 3, and a separate systems course, and a materials+methods course. I wish more time would be spent on those things (where it matters) instead of design studios where everything is ethereal made up BS. (Getting off the soapbox now.)

Glad for you chris that you are looking forward to SS. I loved the Thaddeus course, but I'm so ready to be done with this content.


haha yeah i'm sure ill be on the same boat in about 3 more days :mrgreen: Going to try to cram as much content and take this test followed by PPP before my hawaii trip in mid may... that way pass/ fail i wont really give a $#*T because ill be in hawaii lol...
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Coach » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:09 pm

corbismyhomeboy wrote:Curriculum is cheapened by this 4+2 mentality in my opinion.

Perhaps, but when I was in school the MArch had zero structures, it was all studio and theory.

My undergrad program had 3, and a separate systems course, and a materials+methods course. I wish more time would be spent on those things (where it matters) instead of design studios where everything is ethereal made up BS. (Getting off the soapbox now.)

Sounds like we went to the same school.
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby Coach » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:12 pm

chrisschumm wrote:But unlike the majority of the people here i didn't go to college, i started working in architecture right out of high school :shock:

OK, then I strongly encourage you to find a basic course at your local JC or university. Face-to-face instruction over time is pretty important with this stuff.
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Re: Advice Needed

Postby chrisschumm » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:31 pm

Coach wrote:
chrisschumm wrote:But unlike the majority of the people here i didn't go to college, i started working in architecture right out of high school :shock:

OK, then I strongly encourage you to find a basic course at your local JC or university. Face-to-face instruction over time is pretty important with this stuff.


Ok yeah I'll look into it, a few of the people at my office mentioned some of the schools down here in SD offer something along those lines. i believe working in firms for 11 years, kapplin + Archi flash 3.1 & coach vids have gotten me this far with all my other tests has been pretty straight forward w/2week study intervals, weather is nice and the surf is good...just want my life back lol..

Cheers' to the weekend guys!
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