The YAF got together this week to discuss the always complicated process of becoming a registered architect; we covered all topics, including IDP, ARE, and dealing with the state licensing board. We were fortunate enough to have people from all stages of the process, including several recently registered architects and even someone who had just taken the structures test earlier that day.
One of the best takeaways was AREforum.org. If you’re starting to study for the ARE and you haven’t made it on the forum, you need to, it’s one of the best resources for preparing to take the test. We also discussed what order to take the tests in, in the end it’s up to you, but a few comments were: Don’t take PPP first, it’s so broad that you’re better off taking it after you’ve been studying awhile. Take CDs first, more than likely, where you’re most experienced. Save an easy one for last.
It was also interesting to hear the different time periods people took the tests in. One attendee had taken the tests on an every two week schedule. Another had a colleague who had taken them all back to back in one week, they then took the next 6 months to study for the two they had failed. The general consensus was to study for approximately a month before taking each test.
There was also a fair amount of frustration with trying to work through Indiana’s unnecessarily complicated process of receiving licensure. The checklist they offer online doesn’t actually list all of the necessary steps, and everyone in the state office does things differently. Of the three recently registered architects, all of them had been required to submit their reference documentation differently, one digitally, one printed it out and mailed, and one had to have the person giving the referral mail in a secure copy. As a result of these frustrations, we discussed the possibility of creating a new checklist for the state, one that they agreed was correct, so that it wouldn’t be such a hassle. Perhaps a summer project for the YAF Indy.
One attendee, Billy Van Elk, had been waiting on his to be processed since the end of 2012. The day following the event he called the state and found out that he had actually been registered since April, the state had simply forgotten to notify him. What an anti-climatic way to find out you’re a registered architect. Billy also had some great tips and links to share:
A few reminders. Schedule your test if you’re really serious about taking one. You won’t start studying unless you know you have a deadline. Bring a snack and an extra layer of clothing to the test center. Some days the center was freezing cold, some days it was comfortable. The ARE gives you a mandatory 15 minute break between the multiple choice and graphic sections. You cannot skip this break. Get up, have a snack, stretch, go for a walk. Do something that breaks the monotony of the test center environment. Plan an hour after your test time to just relax, treat yourself, etc. Do not rush back to work – you will not enjoy it.
I hope everyone gleaned some great information from the discussion earlier this week. I thought I would leave some links as a reminder for those who are going to start studying.
NCARB “Taking the ARE” – http://ncarb.org/en/ARE/Taking-the-ARE.aspx
(official study guides, practice tests, and practice vignettes)
ARE Forum – areforum.org
(great resource – best location to really understand the graphics portions)
Sbyrktct’s ARE Help – http://arehelp.webs.com/
(detailed descriptions of each study section)
ARE Coach – http://arecoach.com/coachforum/
(vocal and well informed member/user of ARE Forum – created their own repository due to the fact that the ARE Forum website frequently crashes or goes offline)
Lecture from Andres Duany (9 parts toal) – http://youtu.be/rwd4Lq0Xvgc
(great for studying the concepts of urban design and new urbanism – In my personal opinion every architect and city planner should consider this entire lecture to be mandatory.)
Study Materials – Check your current firm or check on the ARE Forum to buy used materials from other young architects
I personally used 2009 Kaplan Study Guides and practice exams for all sections except Structures. I had the flash cards for each section, but I only used them to study for PPP. For each exam I read through the complete Study Guide twice. Once for general understanding, and a second time for true comprehension.
For Structures I bought the 2012 Kaplan Study guide. It is commonly known that the 2009/2010 version of the Kaplan Structures book has errors and wrong answers in the practice tests.
If you have any questions about the ARE, feel free to contact us at email@example.com and we’ll try our best to help!