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A strategy for Passing AREs

Posted By Tay A. Othman, Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Being a part of the AIASCV emerging professionals, the committee always supporting the local ARE study groups, and it was the key factor for helping members in preparation and taking ARE exam divisions.


With limited experience, average IQ and English as my second language, I developed a strategy for a smooth pass of all ARE divisions in 1 year,

Below was my personal opinion for the study strategy as follows:


1.       Dedication: It’s not about time, available study materials or exam taking skills. AREs are life events that you must confront and overcome. Set up a goal to beat the rolling clock, study everyday (even for a half hour), study during the weekends, listen to podcasts and ask questions, consider these exams as a problem to solve.

2.          Build a community: join your local study group, seminars and make friends and study buddies, join and participate in online forums like ARE coach, be open to other’s ideas and hear from your friends’ experiences.

3.          NCARB’s own study guides are the best study materials, so build your study outline based on them.

4.          Study the materials 3 times,

·         First pass on materials within 2 weeks fast reading the whole division to gain the big picture. Setup a study calendar based on your first pass.

·         Second pass on materials, develop your notes and identify difficult items for deep review.

·         Third pass on other’s notes, like jennypdx, alikats , caroline , Rich’s MEEB, etc., (online Forums) and review flashcards.

5.          Never underestimate the power of Vignettes, So Start practicing early, practice once every week and post to the forums to get feedback from your peers, review other’s solutions.(never post the day before the exam)

6.          If you obtained all study materials, that doesn’t mean you passed yet.

7.          Diversify your study materials, since there are no perfect ones.

8.          Study materials can be expensive, but you can get them in affordable way, some AIA chapters provide study materials for the emerging professionals, Firms can buy bulk study resources for their employees, and there are a lot of used materials sold online that can be purchased with good deals.

9.          YouTube, Wikipedia and other websites are valuable resources, and yes they are free.

10.        Stagger exam divisions because they highly overlap.

11.        Never schedule a test before reading the materials at least once.

12.        And Finally, Study now and don’t wait till ARE 5.0, I expect exams won’t be reliable at first and there will be limited study materials and online notes.


I hope the above may inspire you to develop your own strategy,


Good luck everyone


Tay Othman, Assoc. AIA

Emerging Professionals Committee


Tags:  Architectural  ARE  CAB  California  Exams  License  NCARB  Registration 

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