Accounting for brick mortar in exam 3

Hi. There are 2 questions in exam three related to brick. In one of them it is asked how tall 3 courses of modular brick will be and gives the answer as 8" and references fundamentals of building construction chapter 8 (I have the 5th edition, and I’m looking at figure 8.11 under “brick sizes”). Here it is stated that a modular brick is 2 1/4" tall. Cool.

Now another question says to compare the cost between CMU and standard brick for a wall that is 16" tall and 24’ long. Under the same Fundamentals of Building Construction reference, standard brick is given as 2 1/4" tall also. But the answer to that question says the height of the standard brick is 2 3/4" tall. Why the deviation from the reference given earlier? It can’t be accounting for the mortar bed, because a mortar bed is 3/8" unless I’m missing something.

Additionally, when I get cost estimating questions regarding brick (or course height questions for that matter), do I include the mortar bed in my calculations?


I’d appreciate a response from you guys, I test this week.

Also. Regardless of what happens during my test, you guys have been so helpful. Thank you.

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Hi @Shikha ,

This handy cheat sheet on Archtoolbox is my go-to for brick dimensions:

Typically 3 courses of modular brick is nominally 8".

@coachchrishopstock can you pelase also take a look into this question/source?


Also, GOOD LUCK ON YOUR EXAM! You’ve got this! We are happy we had the opportunity to assist on your path to licensure!


Hi @Shikha thanks for posting your question, and thank you @coachdarionziegler for the helpful resource!
When a question is asking ‘how tall will x number of courses be’ it’s typical to include the mortar bed in that calculation. Similarly, when estimating quantities for brick, mortar bed area would be included.
It’s helpful to remember that brick sizing is similar to wood, in that there are actual and nominal dimensions. The resource that coach Darion provided does a good job of explaining those.


I’m very deflated because I failed my exam. I’ve participated in all the workshops for both PDD and PPD. I was active in the community and I took a lot of practice tests (from a lot of sources). I’m really bummed because while taking the test I thought some of the questions were easy and it built my confidence up but I still failed.

I’m at a loss, because I don’t really know what else to do…

Hi @Shikha ,

I’m very sorry to hear that your exam didn’t go well. My advice is to write down everything you remember about the exam. That will be super helpful to review before you retake.

Then, I would take a break from studying if you are feeling burnt out. Take some time to catch up on other areas of your life. Don’t get too down on yourself - everyone I know has failed at least one exam. I myself failed PPD & PDD back to back the first time I tried to take them.

I talked a little bit about my experience with PPD & PDD on this thread awhile back with a couple of other candidates who were similarly having struggles with these exams. Check it out at the link below: ARE Live: ARE Testing Order & Strategy '21 - #16 by gremlinsoso . You are not alone!

The next thing I would do is evaluate where you think your week points were. Try to nail down if it was a specific section or general time management. Or maybe you feel like you have a good understanding of material and just need to focus on test taking skills. Once you get a good idea of where you think you can improve, make a schedule for studying and stick to it no matter what. My own struggles with PPD & PDD were mainly that I didn’t hold myself accountable to my study schedule, which you absolutely need to do for exams as big as these! There’s so much content in these they can be difficult to study for.

Maybe looking into some of the primary PPD & PDD resources would also be beneficial. I definitely got some use out of my “Building Construction Illustrated” and “Architectural Graphic Standards” books while trying to pass PPD & PDD on top of the Black Spectacles resources I was using.

And in the meantime, let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. While failing an exam is never fun, don’t let it hold you back and stop you from pressing forward with your path to licensure! You’ll get it next time!