ARE 5.0 Tips and Tricks: Time Is of the Essence

  • 12 May, 2020

My best advice related to taking the ARE 5.0 is to do it as soon as possible following graduation from architecture school. Too often, intern architects put off taking the ARE, only to later find themselves so short on time or unfamiliar with the material that it becomes an even greater challenge.

When I graduated from college in 1981, there was a culture in architectural internship that has long since faded. That culture included being anointed as part of an internship class. Since internship lasted three years on average, you were part of an internship class immediately upon graduation from college. I was part of the internship class of 1984 (the sum of 1981 plus a three-year internship). The culture included an expectation that you took the ARE for the first time somewhere within those first three years. Ideally, you would be successful and become an architect at the end of year 3. That was me-architect by 1984. That was nothing special nor exceptional-I was just doing what everyone else was doing and what was expected. Honestly, if you were out of school and not licensed by year 5, others in the profession would begin to wonder if something was wrong. It was real.

My point of telling you all of this is really two points:

1. Today, there is no architectural internship culture like the one I experienced (for many reasons, not the least of which include changes in the exam itself). Interns often get around to getting licensed (if they do at all) by their mid-thirties.

2. The second point is that when interns do begin to study and take the ARE, they now have a steep re-learning curve. They will need to regain the knowledge they likely had as they graduated from college but that has faded with the passing of time.

ARE 5.0 Tips and Tricks: Time Is of the Essence

The exam may have changed formats over the years, but the information that an architect must know has not. The exam will cover the essential areas of engineering that we all studied in college. I took four full years of structural engineering classes. I had classes in basic statics and materials and designing with wood, steel, and monolithic concrete. I learned to size beams, columns, footings, trusses, shear walls-you name it. We checked for bending moments, shear, deflection, and bearing for just about all the basic approaches to structural engineering. In addition, I took courses in long-span structures and composite systems. Guess what? All of this was on the ARE but none of it was covered in my experience as an intern.

How about mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering (MEP) systems? In college, I took a year-long course in environmental control systems (ECS). We learned to design passive cooling, heating, ventilating, and daylighting systems. We also learned to design active energy systems as well as rain collection and harvesting. Again, all these topics appeared on the ARE, but none were enhanced by my internship experience. This was not a unique situation. Truthfully, if I were to estimate the percentage of material on the ARE that was linked to my experience as an intern, it might be 10% to 15%. That means that a minimum of 85% of the content of the ARE consisted of topics I learned only in college.

The bottom line is to take the exam as soon as possible upon graduation from college, and I bet you will be so glad you did. You'll avoid having to re-learn things like how to calculate bending stresses and shear in beams when you are ten plus years out of college and perhaps seriously time challenged by life.

There is a definite correlation between the length of time between graduation from architectural school and the ability to successfully pass the ARE. So why leave it to chance? I know, many are burned out at the end of college, tired of studying and taking exams. But didn't you go to college to become an architect? Isn't becoming registered as an architect still the goal? If it is for you, please take my advice. Don't put it off-it only gets tougher with time.

Regardless of when you decide to take the exam, we can help! EduMind's ARE 5.0 exam review courses cover all six divisions of the exam so you can get ready with confidence. Click here for more information.

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