the ahha! moment she’s been waiting for

Over at pinterest, hidden between the countless boards of wedding dreams, baby things, and *shudder* McMansion schemes, there are some surprisingly good pins about building structure and engineering. It’s not super helpful when it comes to studying, but it’s a nice break from verifying equilibrium in a beam or calculating free body diagrams. I’m a total sucker for construction photos, they’re more enchaining than the final glamor shots of a building to me, so clicking through images of exposed building systems is enjoyable and educational. And it’s a nice reminder that there’s more to structures than math and vocabulary…something I’ve forgotten over the past few weeks.

I’m finally beginning to figure this exam out. Thank God. I got to thinking last night that on the other exams I’ve taken (CDS/SPD/PPP) I was able to start anywhere with the mound of study materials and work my way through all of it. In structures, however, one has to start with the basic rules and guidelines and then build up a more detailed understanding with all of the supplemental information. It’s sort of like building a house…you wouldn’t install doors and hardware before the roof was constructed (like in that cheetos commercial that is both extremely funny and super inaccurate). Having a logical sequence to follow makes the it easier to retain and recall information, and ultimately will save time in the long run. Or so I hope.

Starship was bad at structural engineering

So I sat down with the Kaplan study guide and my school notes and worked my way through chapter one. By the end I was solving equations and understanding concepts, which is the most progress I’ve made in one night. I’m still not convinced that using Kaplan alone is the best idea… the wording trips me up too much and I find myself looking to my notes for a better explanation of concepts. Guess it’s a good thing I kept them! Once I get through this book, I’ll jump back into the FTP stuff, FEMA, and Buildings at Risk. I’m not out of the tunnel yet, but I’m starting to see that the light at the end is the sun and not an oncoming train.

Nate’s off to the coast with the guys tonight, so aside from catching the latest episode of Grimm (where I spend more time trying to figure out what local buildings the scenes are taking place in than the actual storyline) I should be able to get some more work done. I also need to figure out how to get “We built this city” out of my head…you can only have terrible 80’s rock on mental loop for so long.

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2 thoughts on “the ahha! moment she’s been waiting for

  1. Rumen says:

    Enjoy the blog hope you keep it up after the ARE’s even if you change the name. I can relate to the fears, frustrations and small victories (the aha! moments) of studying for any exam, especially SS.

    Don’t meant to sidetrack you if you got a study plan already in motion but just a note: I found the KAPLAN SS practice questions and answers book really helpful. There are over 550 questions and answers and if you get through about 200 of them the concepts begin to repeat so it’s good practice. I found it helpful as the last thing I studied, after going through the regular book. Waiting on my exam scores now, probably the most dreadful part :/

    kudos and good luck.

    • jennypdx says:

      Hi Rumen,

      Thanks for the kind words, I’ve been thinking about how to continue the blog once the exam process is over, it’s been a lot of fun to write!

      I appreciate the tip, thanks! I just got off the phone with Prometric after rescheduling my SS exam…I now have a month to prepare. The SS Q&A book is sitting on my bookshelf, it sounds like i ought to be working through it soon.

      Hope you hear back with a passing score soon! Thanks again and good luck!

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