omg... can you believe i passed....

Structural Layout Vignette and Multiple Choice

omg... can you believe i passed....

Postby pig » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:40 pm

it has been 6 days and the score report usually arrives exactly one week from test date....
i checked for the sake of it not expecting a result...
and then there it is, a pass.
my last pass.
oh my god... this process has been so painful in every single way that it can be described...
i walked into my structure exam really overly stressed out and my mind went literally blanked for all the math questions there were. i barely made through the MC and guessed at least 85% of them. i almost gave up on the graphic vignette thinking that i had failed the MC anyway... but then it's a pass...
and to know that i had a post-exam depression thinking that i 99% had failed... i was so sure i failed....

i want to write everything I can to share what i know and experienced so if i can contribute no matter how minutely to help anyone pass...

some facts first.
for all the problems people have with the vignettes, Coach charges a very reasonable amount to show you ALL, literally all, that you have to do to pas the vignettes. i only wish that i had known of how amazing his videos are before i took SD. for all of CDS, BS, BDCS, and SS, i did not practice at all for the vignette, and just looked through his videos once literally the morning before the exam. and i passed all my vignettes. that tells you how amazing his videos are.

regarding MC, i am a very very lazy studier and so sitting down for weeks to study is not my thing. so basically for all my exams, i allocated 1.5 weeks of full time studying. but of that 1.5 weeks, half of that goes into procrastinating, doodling, running around for my daughters demands etc. so i am not capable of sitting down with a thick ballast phonebook. i had to find alternative ways of learning, like watching videos that are available.

that brings me to AMBER. AMBER IS A MUST TOO!
if you want shortcuts and cannot study through a stacks of study materials, this is the solution.
professor Ermann is so good at explain the logic behind the systems. he makes building system fun! i could never have passed BS or BDCS without Amber. i feel that i learn so much about building systems beyond what i needed for this exam. the aircondlting and the lighting section were amazing. can you imagine someone actually makes building systems interesting and makes me want to learn more about it? suddenly, the pompidou centre looks nice and makes sense!
For both, i also did ArchiFlash, which is an amazing resource. it captures all the major topics you need to know because it spreads wide and goes in depth. i only used kaplan and ballast for specific topics.
for example, i failed BS once before so i kind of knew the main topics from my previous fail. i tried so hard to understand the 3 phase vs. 1 phase electricity circuit and neither kaplan and ballast gave me a full picture of how exactly it works. then Amber explains it soooo well. it was incredible. so when i wanted to know more about it, that was when i flipped through kaplan and ballast to supplement the questions i had in mind.
also, it was very important to dig deep and look up things as you encounter things that you do not know. say for lights, i was curious about how fluorescent light tubes work, so i googled the logic behind that (vs. incandescent, vs. metal halide etc.) and turns out a related question was in the exam and it was beyond what study guides would have told you.
MEEB of course is important. but as many candidate has pointed out, it is so thick and there is so much stuff in it. i only skimmed through the big diagrams, not everything. i figured the big ones are big for a reason. turns out many of the big ones were indeed literally copied and pasted into the exam (with citations, good job ncarb!).

however, the main turning point of my study was CDS.
i had made it through PPP and SPD mostly through luck, i think. i did not study so much then, and basically guessed my way through and i was lucky to pass those. then i could not pass anything for the longest time. and in fact, failed so many times that the real exams became like practice exams for me. turned out that was despite the steep cost was useful because i become very familiar with the way questions are phrased and the kind of logic behind their questions.
i must here give a shout out to kateao25, her post on CDS was vital to my method on studying. if you do exactly what she says, you will pass CDS. i did not even know that there was a version of A201 with commentaries until she pointed it out. as painful as Schiff Hardin lectures were, it was worth watching the A201 one. it explained the ideas behind why the contract would put in that clause. here is her post:

for SS, the one i just took last week....
all i did was professor Thaddeus' course. he was very good at explaining the concepts and the math.
but here is why i thought i failed....
i literally blanked out on all the math at the exam. they were more tricky than the ones he showed. and i literally could not solve any of the math questions at the exam and guessed them all. there were may be 10% that were math questions.
so that tells you if i missed all my math questions and still managed to pass, the rest of the exams were on concepts and ideas.
the parts when professor Thaddeus explains the real world applications with slides were very helpful for me. i think his slides really helped me pass (ha ha more than the math....)
FEMA chapter 4 & 5 is a MUST!!
many questions on seismic in the exam. chapter 8 and 9 skimmed through them too because there were some on interior as well.
i did not read Building at Risk - lazy - but there were a lot of questions on wind as well. i just guessed from my understanding from prof Thaddeus and from what i read on seismic since i thought they are both lateral.
kaplan 500 questions i did two sessions of 125 as mock-up exams (ie., i only did 250 questions). they become a bit repetitive at some point. but it was essential to keep me understand time. i was so slow the first time and took me 5 hours to do 125 questions. the second time i decided to pace myself at 20 questions per 30 minutes. this is essential for when you take the exam because 125 questions in 3.5 hours is a strange timeframe for me to understand. when i figured i had to do 20 questions in 30 minutes, i sped up when i was going really too slow. by the time i finished, i still had 30 minutes to go through the mark ups which was reassuring because upon my second look at the questions, i did not do as bad as i thought...

many people have said this, and i will say this too, if i can do it, anyone can do this.
i want to thank everyone who had helped me, by posting, by replying, by putting their time in to review my and other's questions etc.. everything that all of you have done for myself and for others here is deeply deeply deeply appreciated and am forever grateful for. i will try to make another post more specifically on SS in the next few days especially since i started this thread on asking SS questions and have not been able to follow up on it since my post-exam depression. now i am not depressed and can contribute (hopefully not diverting people to the wrong path).

thank you everyone!!!
Last edited by pig on Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:38 pm

Re: omg... can you believe i passed....

Postby jackstatic » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:11 pm

Congratulations! Glad to hear you passed!
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:57 am

Re: omg... can you believe i passed....

Postby lali » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:27 pm

Congratulations!!! a great reward to your efforts!!
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:21 am


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