Passed the AREs

Passed the AREs

This post is, well, very late. I have been busy with work and my focus was on recovery! In November I passed the last of my ARE exams. Yay! I’m since become licensed in Texas and received my NCARB certificate. I managed to finish all of the exams in under a year without failing any exam. If you have been following my other blog posts or social media, you know I did this with two young children at home while working full time in an architectural and design firm. I learned a lot from this process and would like to help others on their journey to being an architect.

How did I pass all the exams on the first try in a relatively short time frame? I’m sure there was some luck involved, but ultimately mindset has a lot to do with tackling these exams.

You have to be self-critical enough to understand your weaknesses and diligent enough to focus on improving upon those areas. Be realistic. If you are fresh out of school, there is a lot you don’t know and it is unlikely you will pass all your exams on the first try. If you are a seasoned professional, there are likely things you do in practice that aren’t the correct ARE answer. Be prepared to learn a new way of thinking for the ARE. After you pass it you can decide which way is actually the best. I personally did not find the ARE answer incorrect in most cases but I have seen a lot of older professionals raise concern in that area.

Time management skills must be brought in to make sure you are focusing on your weak areas, especially those that are most likely to be on the exam, exclusively as you get closer to the exam date. Use a variety of study methods (flashcards, video, audio, note-taking, reading, etc) so that the information has a higher chance of sticking in your memory. Part of my studying for the AREs included studying study methods and also evaluating which ones worked best for me. My preference, and what works best for my memory, is to read about a topic, take some practice tests, and watch related videos. The audio on video was great for listening while watching kids and the practice tests could be taken at night while putting the kids to bed. All of these methods could be fit into a lunch break.

Plan to take the exams on a day when you can trust you will be rested. Try to avoid studying 24 hours before an exam. I used PTO to take off 2 days prior to each exam. 1 day to study (on a few exams I needed both days) and 1 day to relax child free. I did a quick review and calm down in the car before walking into Prometric. Go into the exam assuming that you are going to fail and that it’s ok to fail…you’ll feel less anxious!

Following the above is going to greatly increase your chances of passing the AREs. As I have time, I’m going to review my notes and study material and create more content to help people study for the AREs. If you have any specific questions or requests, please leave a comment on this post.