Project Planning & Design
(PPD) | 2024 – Comprehensive Study Package

Project Planning & Design (PPD) is an exam that tests your ability to design sites and buildings and juggle the competing demands of aesthetics, life safety, mechanical, and structural systems. It should be called “Schematic Design.” You’ll get scenario-based questions to generate design alternatives that combine environmental, cultural, behavioral, technical and economic issues. This exam is a grueling five long hours of you applying all of your critical design thinking to show that you can properly design a project. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

We have put together the coolest, most comprehensive study package available, anywhere.  Plus, we’ve priced it well below the competition. Our PPD study package includes all you’ll need to prepare for this tough division.  The PPD package shows you the connection between these topics and how that impacts your decision-making and judgment so you can understand what the questions are asking.  Save time and money by not needing any other supplemental materials.

The package starts with a study guide that perfectly follows the structure of the actual NCARB exam and is written in clear language.  The Audio Companion (like an audiobook) is presented alongside the guide so you can listen and follow along at the same time from anywhere.  Our audio commentary shares examples of how we apply these concepts in real life as memorable stories.  The 3 Case Study Guide prepares you for the actual case studies with project documents that look/work the same.  Plus, we include hundreds of digital flashcards that mirror the sections of the exam, plus a timed exam simulator that gives you instant feedback and scoring so you’ll know when you’re ready to sit for the test.

Our study packages were reviewed and approved by NCARB, so you’ve found the exact package you need to pass!

Your membership allows you to access this from anywhere, on any device, through our beautiful online course portal.

Please note that ALL of our products are DIGITAL and available for INSTANT access. You will not receive books or hard copies of the material.  This lets us avoid printing and shipping costs and keep our prices low.  Plus you can use these on any of your devices.  We’ve designed everything so you can print out the materials for your own personal use, or use them on your laptop, phone or tablet.

Project Planning & Design (PPD)


  • Regularly $147/mo
    That’s like getting a Month Free!
  • Perfect for taking the exams at your pace
  • * Get 3 Months for the Price of 1
  • Get 24/7 access to any Exam Package for 3 Months
  • Compare to Black Spectacles at $249/month
  • Hundreds of Exam Simulator Questions
    240 Flashcards

Ultimate Whole Enchilada


  • Regularly $199/mo
    That’s like getting 6 Months Free!
  • Pay in Full or in 4 Payments
  • Get 24/7 access to all 6 Study Packages for a FULL YEAR!
  • 6 Month Combo Packages available
  • Compare to Black Spectacles at $2490
  • Downloadable Audio + Flashcards

Platinum Coaching
+ Ultimate Whole Enchilada


  • Regularly $249/mo
    That’s like getting 6 Months Free!
  • Pay in Full or in 4 Payments
  • Get 24/7 access to all 6 Study Packages + Coaching for a FULL YEAR!
  • Includes unlimited access to ALL 6 Divisions
  • Compare to Black Spectacles at $3290
  • Downloadable Audio + Flashcards
  • + Finish In A Year
  • + Live Coaching by 2 Architects
  • + Daily Study Plan
  • + Two Weekly Live Zoom Calls
  • + Get All Your Questions Answered
  • + Free One-on-One Coaching Session ($100 value!)
  • + Highest Pass Rates!

The Only Package You Need!

Hey, we know you’re busy, so you don’t have time to drill extra content that won’t be on the ARE anyway.

Our package outlines follow the exact NCARB Test Specification so you’re being strategic with your valuable study time.

Each of our study packages are made up of interconnected parts that work together to boost your mindset and get you thinking like an Architect.  Plus, with hundreds of pages, flashcards, exam simulator questions, and charts in each exam package, you’ll have enough material to give you clarity and understanding for even the most complex topics.  Don’t waste money buying additional packages; this is the only one you need!

Beauty + Brains with a Twist!

As Architects, we’re visual thinkers and communicators, so your study package needs to work the way your brain works.

With colorful graphics, detailed diagrams, and clear navigation, each study package is meticulously crafted for a beautiful online design experience.

You’ll relate to the information since it is designed for the way you think. Each concept will help you connect the dots between the information and putting it into practice!

Think Like An Architect!

Most candidates do not fail because of the content. They fail due to mindset.

These exams are not about cramming and memorizing a bunch of codes. You’re being tested on your professional judgment. Most people fail due to overthinking, second-guessing, misreading, mistrusting, and wasting test time.

Each of the study packages are designed around boosting your ability to make judgments. This curbs the overthinking and second-guessing and lets you get to the heart of what the questions are asking. The end of each section includes a “Mindset Matters” tool to build that judgment and get you thinking like an Architect!

What Our Candidates Are Saying…


St Louis, Missouri

I passed PPD yesterday!! Thank you for the coaching! Focusing on reading the questions really made a world of difference for me on exam day! I failed PPD 6 times before joining Platinum and was starting to lose hope. The questions were so much more straightforward than I realized and the coaching showed me how to approach every word in those questions. Thank you! 5 down/1 to go!


Cleveland, Ohio

As of Saturday, I officially finished my ARE journey with PPD! Everyone in this group should be proud of the mentality to keep at these exams. You all kept me inspired and hopeful every time I doubted myself. Thank you all for your support, and please keep pushing each other forward. And thank you to David and Eric for the study materials and the courage to stay on the game! I wish everyone the best here! You all got these exams!


San Francisco, California

And I got my Last PASS!!! Thank you soooo much! Just wanted to send you and David a thank you message for the great study material! I never thought this day would come and it’s such a weight off my shoulders. I wish I found your program 5 years ago!

Everything You Need to Know

About the Architect Exam Prep Study Package

  • Architect Exam Prep: Meet David & Eric!
  • Architect Exam Prep: How to Use This Study Package
  • Architect Exam Prep: Copyright & Usage Architect Exam Prep: Terms + Conditions

About the Architect Registration Exam® (ARE 5.0)

  • About the Architect Registration Exam (ARE 5.0)®
  • Understanding What’s In the ARE 5.0 In What Order Should I Take the Exams?
  • Scheduling (or Rescheduling) Your Exam ARE 5.0 Exams Overview
  • Preparing for Your Exam
  • Taking Your Exam
  • Day of Exam Checklist
  • Study Tips
  • Exam Taking Tips

PPD Course Introduction
PPD Time Management
PPD Quick Access

Intro to Module 1

Section 1.1 – Site Analysis
A. Existing Site Conditions
B. Climatic Conditions
C. Environmental Issues
D. Soils
E. Cultural Issues
F. Infrastructure & Circulation

Section 1.2 – Sustainability
A. Manage Sustainable Resources
B Low Impact and Indigenous Materials
C. Recyclable Materials and Renewable Resources
D. Material Principles
E. Energy Principles
F. General Sustainability Principles
G. Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources & Systems

Section 1.3 – Context
A. Neighborhood & Community Cohesion
B. Historic Preservation for PPD

How to Prepare!
Mindset Matters!
Audio Commentary Module 1

Intro to Module 2

Section 2.1 – Zoning
A. Site and Master Planning Principles
B. Covenants and Deeds

Section 2.2 – Building Codes
A. Code Overview
B. Code Analysis
C. Permitting Process
D. ADA Guidelines
E. Property Descriptions

Section 2.3 – Integration
A. Permit Processes
B. Dimensional Requirements
C. Land and Building Regulations

How to Prepare!
Mindset Matters!
Audio Commentary Module 2

Intro to Module 3

Section 3.1 – Building Systems
A. Mechanical HVAC Systems
B. Electrical Systems
C. Plumbing Systems

Section 3.2 – Structural Systems
A. Materials
B. Foundations
C. Codes

Section 3.3 – Special Systems
A. Architectural Acoustics
B. Communications & Security Systems
C. Conveying Systems
D. Fire Detection & Suppression
E. Other Systems

Section 3.4 – Evaluating Systems
A. Building Design
B. Masonry
C. Metals
D. Wood
E. Concrete
F. Other Materials

How to Prepare!
Mindset Matters!
Audio Commentary Module 3

Intro to Module 4

Section 4.1 – Configuring Buildings
A. Human Space
B. Climate Considerations
C. Organization

Section 4.2 – Building Systems
A. Architectural Systems
B. Structural Systems

Section 4.3 – Programming
A. Space Planning and Facility Planning/Management
B. Fixtures, Furniture, Equipment, and Finishes

Section 4.4 – Environmental Conditions
A. Green Building & Sustainable Design

How to Prepare!
Mindset Matters!
Audio Commentary Module 4

Intro to Module 4

Section 5.1 – Design Objectives
A. Time Schedule
B. Schematic Design Pricing and Cost Measures

Section 5.2 – Pricing & Budgeting
A. Cost Considerations
B. Design Influence on Cost

Section 5.3 – Considerations
A. Value Engineering
B. Lifecycle Costing
C. Masonry
D. Metals
E. Wood
F. Concrete

How to Prepare!
Mindset Matters!
Audio Commentary Module 4

Flashcards Module 1: Environmental & Contextual Conditions
Flashcards Module 2: Codes & Regulations
Flashcards Module 3: Building Systems, Materials, & Assemblies
Flashcards Module 4: Project Integration of Programs & Systems
Flashcards Module 5: Project Costs & Budgeting

Case Study 1 – 35 Questions
PPD Case Study 1: FEEDBACK

Case Study 2 – 35 Questions
PPD Case Study 2: FEEDBACK

Case Study 3 – 35 Questions
PPD Case Study 3: FEEDBACK


So, What’s in Each Study Package?

  • Detailed Study Guide

    • Over 350 Pages
    • Over 85 Diagrams
    • Sections based on NCARB’s PPD Exam Guide
    • Written in clear language with fun graphics
    • Formatted for printing too

  • Audio Companion

    • Over 20 hours of high-quality audio
    • Embedded into Study Guide
    • Listen anywhere (working out, commuting, shopping)
    • Adjust speed as desired
    • Reinforces the lessons
    • Stream or Download

  • Audio Commentary

    • Hear from David and Eric
    • Listen anywhere (working out, commuting, shopping)
    • Adjust speed as desired
    • Real-world stories to anchor the topics in your mind

  • 3 Case Study Guide

    • 3 Case Studies
    • 105 Questions
    • Mimics the actual exam

  • Digital Flashcards

    • Over 240 Flashcards
    • Study anywhere
    • Bookmark your favorites
    • Digital & Printable Versions

  • Exam Simulator

    • Over 300 questions
    • Take timed or untimed
    • Take with feedback or without
    • Mimics the actual exam
    • Apply your knowledge

Project Planning & Design (PPD)

Pass Rates

Architect Exam Prep 66%
Other Test Prep Providers 59%
National Average 45%

Highest Pass Rates in the Industry!

Our unique mindset approach works.

By explaining the reasons why things work the way they do, you’ll focus less on memorizing, and more on gaining clarity and understanding.

Remember: you’ve been living and breathing Architecture for years and understand the topics. Instead, let’s fix your mindset so you can pass.

Why are they so much higher?

Simply put, it’s our approach to teaching.  Rather than forcing you to drill and memorize a bunch of boring videos, we teach you how to get into the right mindset to think like an Architect.  Our mindset approach teaches you to improve your judgment so you can properly interpret the questions and pick up the clues.

People in our Platinum Coaching program report even higher pass rates, and show a 95% improvement rate (based on their scores prior to starting coaching)!

Our critically acclaimed ARE Study Packages are sold through memberships that come in 3, 6, or 12-month plans. Simply choose how much time you need. The more time you get, the bigger the discount!

You can access the study packages through our website from anywhere! If you need more help, you can add on coaching to help keep you on track so you know exactly what to study every day.

Our All Access Subscription gets you access to all six study packages for all of the ARE exams. Simply choose a 3, 6, or 12-month term.

The All Access + Platinum Coaching includes all six study packages PLUS our live coaching.

If you only need a single exam, we even sell a 2-month single-division package!

Each study package includes: a study guide, audio companion, audio commentary, case study guide, flashcards, and unlimited exam simulator.

Many people are really good at staying disciplined and studying every day on their own. They like doing it all themselves and don’t need coaching.

Others like the structure that our Platinum Coaching provides with the daily study plans, the coaching videos, the live Zoom calls, and the ability to ask two licensed architects questions every single day. Remember that every successful person in history had a coach or mentor to help them along the way.

Plus, you can always start out on your own and add coaching later to your subscription.

PLATINUM COACHING:  Finish in a year!

Get through all of your exams in a year!

We developed our Platinum Coaching when it was clear that ARE5.0 was causing candidates to overthink and second-guess these questions. Using a mentorship approach, we coach you to take an exam every two months and support you along every step.

You can add on Platinum Coaching to any subscription for as little $45/month more. That gets you the daily study plans, the coaching videos, the live Zoom calls, access to our Slack workspace, and support from two licensed architects with over 30 years of experience each. Stop taking this on all by yourself!

Add Coaching to any Subscription for as little as $45/month more