ARE PDD: Exam Prep, Quiz & Resources

are pdd

If you’re preparing for the Architecture Registration Exam 5.0 Project Development & Documentation (ARE PDD) this is your one stop shop.  While studying for the exams, a huge hassle was finding all the right resources.  This is a place you can come to find a list of resources for the exam.  If you have any additional resources, leave a comment below and I’ll add it to the list.

Find this quiz helpful? Checkout the premium PDD practice exam bundle!

PDD Practice Exam Bundle

ARE PDD Books & Literature

ARE Exam Prep PDD
To help guide you I’ve located [$] below for any links that lead to paid resources.
[$] means less than $50
[$$]  means between $50 and $100
[$$$] means over $100

Exam Resources
Hyperfine PPD/PDD Assignment Course [$] – A 9 week course to help make sure you’re on track with your studying.
Hyperfine PPD/PDD Case Study [$] – A case study which compliments the Hyperfine assignment course.

NCARB Recommended References for the ARE PDD

NCARB ARE Handbook [Free] – An overview of what is tested on each of the ARE 5.0 divisions.
2009 ASHRAE Handbook: Fundamentals, I-P Edition
[$$] – The ASHRAE Handbooks are the design standard for control of built environments with volumes on Systems and Equipment, HVAC Applications, Refrigeration and Fundamentals. [Also Recommend for: PPD]
The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice [$$$] – “This book is monstrously huge and covers every possible area of architectural firm operations to a significant extent. The problem is this is all very, very dry and academic information. You’ll read about all the things you’ll find in any other academic text on business – the academic way to do finance, the academic way to run projects, etc. This book takes no risks, violates no norms, and spells things out exactly as you would learn it from a professor or textbook.” [Also Recommend for: PcMPjMPPD]
Architectural Acoustics [$$] – “Since first encountering Egan’s text a little more than 20 years ago, I’ve continued to return to it for solid information. Complex material is presented in a way that allows me to apply it to unique conditions at hand. ” [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Architectural Graphic Standards [$$$] – “I call it the Architectural Engineer’s Bible. Great Information for any Engineering Technician, Draftsman, AutoCAD users, Architects, etc” [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Architectural Graphic Standards for Residential Construction [$$$] – “The quick and concise references in all aspects of construction detailing, calculations and specifications are invaluable.” [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the 2012 International Building Code [$] – Code can be hard to get through, but this book really makes it much easier.  Obviously it can’t replace the code books, but it helps develop the understanding an intent of the code. [Also Recommend for: PAPPD]
Building Construction Illustrated [$] – Certainly a classic every architect and aspiring architect should have in their library.  Beautiful and detailed illustrations that can help anyone understand the multitude of components that comprise a building. [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Building Structures [$$$] – Considered “the comprehensive reference on the basics of structural analysis and design”.  [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Dictionary of Architecture and Construction [$$] – Sometimes the most difficult part about architecture is learning the lingo.  This dictionary is an awesome guide to everything lingo-related. [Also Recommend for: PPDCE]
Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods [$$] – “This book doesn’t pull any punches, covering all aspects of construction, from building sites to foundations to wood types to fasteners to framing, siding, windows, doors, concrete, masonry, glass, glazing, roof types, roofing and on and on and on. The authors aren’t just touching on these subjects, but delving deeply into each one. ” [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Sustainable Design Methods for Architects [$$] – “Probably the best energy efficiency book I’ve ever bought. Liked the third edition so much last spring and bought it then, even though I knew the 4th edition was coming out in the fall (and I bought it too). Clear, beautifully illustrated with great explanations of sometimes more complex topics. A great reference for not only architects, but engineers also (like me). A must have for anyone interested in sustainable design.” [Also Recommend for: PPD]
The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design [$] – “A fully comprehensive, up-to-date and well organized compendium of sustainable design and construction techniques, this book seems to keep fining its way onto my desk again and again for various projects”.  You can pickup a used version for a decent price. [Also Recommend for: PPD]
International Building Code (2012) [$$$] – Old faithful.  Sometimes it can be hard to get through and understand code.  A lot of it just comes with memorization.  I’ve linked the commentary here because it helps you understand the intent behind the code. [Also Recommend for: PAPPD]
Mechanical & Electrical Equipment for Buildings [$$$] – Often referred to as MEEB. An important, well-known, and well-liked resource. [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Mechanical and Electrical Systems in Buildings [$$$] – “Probably the best energy efficiency book I’ve ever bought. Clear, beautifully illustrated with great explanations of sometimes more complex topics. A great reference for not only architects, but engineers also (like me). A must have for anyone interested in sustainable design.”  [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures [$$$] – This book “provides requirements for general structural design and includes means for determining dead, live, soil, flood, snow, rain, atmospheric ice, earthquake, and wind loads, as well as their combinations, which are suitable for inclusion in building codes and other documents.”
Olin’s Construction Principles, Materials, and Methods [$$$] – “While very large, the book covers all details of a building from the ground up. It’s very specific, but also a very easy read. It’s written in clear, concise English that makes it an easy read… even though it may be a dry subject at times. For those who know nothing about construction this is an ideal book.” [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Plumbing, Electricity, Acoustics: Sustainable Design Methods for Architecture [$$] – This book “provides knowledge appropriate for the level of complexity needed at the schematic design stage and presents the most up-to-date information available in a concise, logical, accessible manner and arrangement.” [Also Recommend for: PPD]
The Professional Practice of Architectural Working Drawings [$$$] – “Very comprehensive, well-organized and laid out, practical and educational book [on creating architectural drawings]. I especially appreciated how current the information was, the range of information they covered and that they managed to cover even the most technical aspects in a way that was easy enough to understand.”
Simplified Engineering for Architects and Builders [$$] – It seems like this book doesn’t really simplify anything. “The tables are wonderful, but equations in the book are written without units, so unless you know exactly where the author is pulling his numbers from, you will get lost and end up screwing up your own calculations.”
Steel Construction Manual [$$$] – When I worked as a structural detailer I was flipping through this thing all the time.  When I landed a job in architecture I wished I had one by my side, but that has since subsided.  It’s been referred to as the “bible of steel”.
Structural Design: A Practical Guide for Architects [$$$] – “This book explains things very well and I don’t find it near as boring as some other structural design books that I have.”[Also Recommend for: PPD]
Structures [$$] – “The text discusses concepts from both engineering and architectural perspectives, exploring structural behavior, structural analysis, and design within a building context.” [Also Recommend for: PPD]
Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery [$$] – “This book is a must for the builder/owner and manager looking to take advantage of the opportunities in this rapidly evolving field.”  It’s also a good investment for the anyone pursing architecture licensure since sustainable principles are sprinkled throughout all of the Architecture Registration Exams.
Time-Saver Standards for Architectural Design: Technical Data for Professional Practice [$$] – I’ve seen a lot of praise about this book and it’s been called an “invaluable reference” by reviewers.  It’s not for structural design but it should give any (aspiring) architect a firm understanding of what they need to know. [Also Recommend for: PPD]
A Visual Dictionary of Architecture [$] – “Worth every penny. Having the diagrams along with definitions and examples really helps clarify architectural elements and vocabulary. Highly recommend.” [Also Recommend for: PPD]

Video Playlist on ARE PDD

Online Resources & Downloads for the ARE Project Development & Documentation Exam

ARE Project Documentation & Design ExamFEMA 454: Designing for Earthquakes: A manual for Architects – A document put out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that goes into detail on earthquakes and seismic forces in a building.  It’s a lengthy read in full.  Put your focus on chapters 4, 5, and 8.
Buildings at Risk: Seismic Design Basics for Practicing Architects – Very useful resource for understanding the how seismic forces work.
Buildings at Risk: Wind Design Basics for Practicing Architects – Useful resource for understanding the basics on how wind forces work and affect a building.

Ask questions on NCARB’s ARE 5.0 page.

Have any additional resources for the ARE PDD?  Leave them in the comments below!


  1. allstarcarpetandtiles June 24, 2019 at 10:31 am #

    Great tips. I’m bookmarking this page. Its a great resource to keep. Thanks for sharing.

  2. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  3. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  4. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Hello there and thanks for your information, I have certainly picked up allot new info from right your post. You are also provided information about best tips for exam,Which is very helpful to me and other people also.

  5. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  6. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  7. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  8. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  9. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  10. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  11. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  12. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  13. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  14. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  15. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  16. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  17. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  18. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  19. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  20. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  21. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  22. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  23. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  24. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  25. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  26. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  27. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

Leave a Reply