SS retake (2nd time)

Structural Layout Vignette and Multiple Choice

SS retake (2nd time)

Postby jackstatic » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:31 pm

Hey everyone, so I just took SD, and god willing I passed, and barring any major screw ups, I did. But I've got 7 months left til the switch to 5.0 and SS is my final test. I've failed it once already (Strategically taken on June 10th 2017) And am going to schedule this test in early to mid Feb to maximize the amount of tries I get just in case I need them.
With that said, last time I took this I got
General Structures: Level 2
Seismic Forces: Level 3
Wind Forces: Level 1
Lateral Forces: Level 3
Structural Layout: Level 1

I focused way too much on the Math, and only read thru the FEMA stuff once and really early in my studies.
Heres the list of my study material:
---Marc Mitalski's Prepare, Inc. ARE online video series and questions. This is where I spent most of my time, but, IDK, it just didn't stick as well as I had hoped...
While the video series was very helpful in drawing relations and connections between terminology and their related elements, and while I got a basic fundamental understanding of the material, me personally, I had a lot of trouble retaining the knowledge or learning when to use the equations in practice. The questions were MUCH more helpful, as I was actually learning how to use the math and equations in practice, this isn't a negative on the video series, it did help, I just tend to learn more from failing questions than watching a lesson. I do recommend it though for anyone having trouble reading, but as a supplement. With that said I only got to practice 125 of the 400 questions, and at that I only was working 50% (I only performed 1 run through and I really should have spent more time on these)
--- Fema 454 Chapters 4,5,8,9
Read and listened to the videos, but only once and early on
---Buldings at Risk, Seismic and Wind
See Fema 454 above.
---Kaplan review questions
Only made it through about 100 of these, wish I had more time to go through the questions and run practice exams, that always seems to be the biggest help for me on these tests.
---Jenny's Notes
Helpful, but was mostly a simple recap of the above, again read in the beginning, no recap

What I didn't use, but really wish I got through
---Mike's Notes. Discovered these way too late. I read his pinned post, but didn't realize the large google docs link had more material and just thought he compiled other helpful stuff. I sort of crammed this stuff in the last 2 days but it wasn't studying it, it was reading it with speed.
---Kaplan, the study guide and the q&a portions, looking through it, things seemed to be broken down into simpler ideas and concepts and it even gives some basic definitions and examples, would have been helpeful. Would definitely skip any intense math found in there though. Obviously the practice exams would always be helpful.
---IBC Chapter 16 Structural Design. Perhaps a few other chapters (not sure which ones, anything related to columns, beams, joists and slabs) I can not stress this one enough. This, I feel, is a must read.
---Ballast, full structures section, skip all the math. I began reading it but the math really turned me off, didn't even think of just skipping anything math related here
---More practice exams, all of them, Kaplans, Ballast, Chen's, Mitalski's, designerhacks.

The elephant in the room... I didn't use David Thaddeus because of the price tag, $325 is a lot of money, and I just can't afford it... so I can not comment on his course or of what value it might be, it comes highly recommended but truthfully, I just don't think it's an option for me...

In the end, this test really hit me hard, The only other test I had failed was SPD, and that was simply due to a new test taker being ill prepared for the ARE in general because I had passed BS on my first shot only reading Kaplan once, but I had been working at an MEP office for 4 years at that point so in hindsight it offset any knowledge I may had needed to learn, but basically I had thought that Kaplan would be enough for all the tests... foolish me... Anyway, even that SPD fail was a 1 in all sections except principles which was a 2, so getting (2) level 3s and (1) lvl 2 was just a shock to my system. I do believe if the deadline wasn't Just 2018 Id be far less stressed as my rolling clock is good thru May 2020 haha.

Sorry for the long winded vent/post, I guess, what I am trying to say is that while I ultimately know what needs to be done to pass this test, if there are any other recommendations or suggestions, I am all ears because I really don't want to be forced to transition at this point, just kind of want it to be done. :lol:
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