How to Prepare for the ARE’s and Survive

For the past few months, Bismarck EAPCer Amy Steinle has been preparing to take her Architect Registration Exams (ARE’s)

Amy’s goal is to attempt a 5-test route, completing and passing three particular tests in the old ARE 4.0 version before expiring at the end of June 2018. Then she would only need to take two ARE tests in the new 5.0 version. Even though Amy’s ARE testing experience may be specific to herself, her preparation tips can help offer insight to anyone else who may be preparing to take their exams.

Here’s her personal tips on the matter
Just schedule a test. Stop overthinking it.

I was 12 weeks out from the end of June and I hadn’t started studying. To hold myself accountable to my 5 test-goal, I scheduled my first three tests, with the third exam being the last day of June. I figured I better give the 5-test route a shot otherwise I would have been disappointed with myself for not trying. I wanted to allow a month of study time for each exam. While this time frame doesn’t allow for any retakes of the tests should I fail one, it gave me a deadline to work towards rather than procrastinating any longer.

Don’t be afraid to fail. It happens to the best of us. Remember this process is a marathon, not a sprint.

I had read that you are ultimately at a disadvantage going into the first test because a lot of the material overlaps between tests. The current pass rates for these three tests are around 50-65% so I had to swallow my pride and accept that failing a test is very possible and also very common. Even though I had been a good test taker in school, the ARE’s are a different ballgame. I sensed that on the first exam and felt pretty defeated by some of the questions. After talking to college classmates about their personal experiences, I realized that most of them left the test center feeling the same way I did.

By some miracle, I passed my first test and now I have a better idea of what to expect with the tests to come.

Amy’s study buddy
Take your time and practice. Practice questions can save you from making silly mistakes.

Practice questions should be used early in the studying process. They help strengthen your ability to recall information and can make you aware of when you’ve read a question too quickly which could result in silly mistakes. Another word of advice is to use practice questions from multiple sources. I realized study material form different sources asked questions in different ways, and test questions can be very comprehensive rather than straight forward.