11 ARE Study Tips To Help You Succeed

are study tips

One of the keys to being successful on the Architecture Registration Exams is knowing essential tips and tricks.  Below we’ve listed 11 of the best ARE study tips to help you pass your exams.

1. Figure out how you learn best

Everyone learns differently and the way you’re used to learning isn’t necessarily the best way.  Most people are familiar with the three different types of learning styles: tactile, auditory, and visual.  However new research suggests there are actually eight intelligences.  Reference the table below and brainstorm if there are any additional resources you should be working into your ARE study materials.

Eight intelligences

Intelligence AreaStrengthsPreferencesLearns best throughNeeds
Verbal / LinguisticWriting, reading, memorizing dates, thinking in words, telling storiesWrite, read, tell stories, talk, memorize, work at solving puzzlesHearing and seeing words, speaking, reading, writing, discussing and debatingBooks, tapes, paper diaries, writing tools, dialogue, discussion, debated, stories, etc.
Mathematical/ LogicalMath, logic, problem-solving, reasoning, patterns Question, work with numbers, experiment, solve problemsWorking with relationships and patterns, classifying, categorizing, working with the abstractThings to think about and explore, science materials, manipulative, trips to the planetarium and science museum, etc.
Visual / SpatialMaps, reading charts, drawing, mazes, puzzles, imagining things, visualizationDraw, build, design, create, daydream, look at picturesWorking with pictures and colors, visualizing, using the mind's eye, drawingLEGOs, video, movies, slides, art, imagination games, mazes, puzzles, illustrated book, trips to art museums, etc.
Bodily / KinestheticAthletics, dancing, crafts, using tools, actingMove around, touch and talk, body languageTouching, moving, knowledge through bodily sensations, processingRole-play, drama, things to build, movement, sports and physical games, tactile experiences, hands-on learning, etc.
MusicalPicking up sounds, remembering melodies, rhythms, singingSing, play an instrument, listen to music, humRhythm, singing, melody, listening to music and melodiesSing-along time, trips to concerts, music playing at home and school, musical instruments, etc.
InterpersonalLeading, organizing, understanding people, communicating, resolving conflicts, sellingTalk to people, have friends, join groupsComparing, relating, sharing, interviewing, cooperatingFriends, group games, social gatherings, community events, clubs, mentors/ apprenticeships, etc.
IntrapersonalRecognizing strengths and weaknesses, setting goals, understanding selfWork alone, reflect pursue interests Working alone, having space, reflecting, doing self-paced projectsSecret places, time alone, self-paced projects, choices, etc.
Naturalistic Understanding nature, making distinctions, identifying flora and faunaBe involved with nature, make distinctions Working in nature, exploring living things, learning about plants and natural eventsOrder, same/different, connections to real life and science issues, patterns
via Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology, University of Georgia

2. Align your AXP with your tests

AXP aligns directly with the AREs so use that to your advantage.  We recommend sitting down with your AXP supervisor and discussing your goals and projected ARE timeline.  Try to get real world experience in each category as you’re studying for it.  Just be careful with this one, it’s possible your firm doesn’t do everything quite “by the book”.  Ask questions and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo if you learn a “by the book” method that could help your firm.

architect registration exam study tips and tricks

3. Use more than one resource

We think our ARE practice exams are the best resource on the market at preparing candidates for taking the actual exams. However, other resources may present information on a specific topic in a way that resonates with you better.  We recommend always using at least two (general) resources when studying for the exam.  Feel free to checkout all of the ARE 5.0 study materials too. A lot of the resources listed there and recommended by NCARB will go a long way throughout your entire career.

4. Simulate the exam environment

We think it’s important to study in a way that’s similar to how you’ll take the ARE which is why we offer timed practice exams for each division. Dedicate time to sit down for a practice exam so you can feel what that time constraint feels like.

5. Use test taking triggers

Do you have a favorite sweatshirt you like you wear when you’re studying?  Wear it during your exam.  Or maybe you listen to a certain kind of music while you study, on your ride to your exam, listen to that music.  Use triggers to get you in that ARE state of mind.

6. Stay curious

One of our favorite ARE study tips is to simply stay curious.  We’re surrounded by buildings.  If you see something on our around a building and don’t know what it is or how it works look it up.  This is especially helpful when you get to any exams that have systems.

7. Join a group

One of the toughest things about the ARE is you have to do it on your own and sometimes it can feel like you’re on an island.  We recommend joining a facebook group, forum, or checking out your local AIA chapter to find other candidates studying for the exams.

8. Be consistent

Set aside time on a daily basis to study.  Even if it’s only 15 minutes or reading a single page from a resource. commit to it every day. But don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day either. Just get back on the horse. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

9. Create your own questions

Instead of (or in addition to) making flash cards try your hand at creating your own multiple choice questions.  This exercise can help you get into the minds of the Architects who make the questions and can help when taking the exams.

10. Give yourself a deadline – One of our favorite ARE study tips

It’s easy to promise yourself to take an exam and then just keep putting it off without a hard deadline.  We encourage candidates to sign up for your exam before you start studying so your feet are held to the fire.  Life is always going to be crazy, so don’t use that as an excuse.

are 5.0 study strategy

11. Get familiar with the software

NCARB puts out some mini-practice exams so that you can experience their software.  Try these out so you’re familiar with the format and can find your way around.  Know what every button on the calculator does and how to quickly find the one’s you’ll need.

Have one of your own ARE study tips you’d like to share?  Leave it in the comments below.

11 Comments

  1. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  2. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  3. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  4. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  5. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  6. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  7. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  8. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  9. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Paige,

    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.

    Best,
    Tony

  10. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  11. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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