Code related questions without exhibit


I just took the PPD practice exam #1, and I noticed a couple questions were asking information very specific in the code, without any snippets or reference to the code itself, nor was this information shown in the case studies’ reference. For example, there was questions on the maximum allowable stories, fire ratings in how many hours, separation distance between play structures, maximum dead end distances. I understand there are certain parts of the building code that I could memorize for my benefit.

I’d like to ask how often should we expect to see questions like this, and what additional information we should memorize, other than occupancy types, construction types, chapter topics, exterior fire wall rating?

1 Like

Hi @samantha.lee,

Good question, @coachlizschneider are you able to speak to this?

Hi Samantha!

Great question. In general NCARB is moving away from requiring you to memorize sections of the code and is looking for you to be able to find and apply the information. That being said, having a good understanding of where certain pieces of information are located in the code will help you to more efficiently answer questions while testing.

The sections that you mentioned on occupancy types and construction types are good ones to be familiar with. I would also be familiar with where to find occupancy load factors and egress widths. Knowing things like your minimum required corridor, stair, and door width for egress could be helpful as well.

1 Like

hey @samantha.lee; in addition to the sections you outlined, candidates are expected to be familiar with accessibility requirements. I had questions on the 5.0 exams asking about specific accessibility requirements without offering code resources. I found this study guide for the 4.0 series to offer a good review of what information should be memorized going into the exam (for accessibility, didn’t review for other information). Check out page 43.


Yes, I found the same in all BS tests…are you saying that the actual exam will have the IBC available? I’m a bit concerned because fire safety is all over (pun intended) and I think I’ll have enough of a hard time keeping chapters 3,4, 6, and 10 straight in my head when it comes to all the sub-applications.

Hi @pegy - we’ve revised many of our code related questions since this original post so that the relevant code section is provided (either as an exhibit or case study). That said, there are certain aspects of the code that you should commit to memory - overarching things like the size of a mezzanine, egress width factors, etc. You don’t need to memorize, for example, things like the occupant load for airport baggage claim areas.
Having certain baseline code information committed to memory will help not only with the ARE, but in practice.