How to Get Motivated After Failing the ARE 5.0
There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes, and failing a division of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Okay, some people have passed all the divisions on the first try (not me), but if you look at the passing rates-hovering around 50 percent, with one division in the 60s and another at 70 percent-the odds are against you. A fail is frustrating. An already long journey has become longer. It's a sinking feeling, but don't give up.
One of the best sayings that I heard from taking the ARE 5.0 was that you don't fail, you just don't pass. Many will admit that if they had to take an exam again after a pass, they may very well fail. It can go either way. The goal is not to let it derail your progress.
When you fail an exam, or even after you take an exam regardless of pass/fail, take a day or two off from studying. Go out to dinner and reconnect with the world. Blow off some steam so you are ready to get back in the ring. Give your brain a rest. I suggest (before going to dinner) downloading what you can remember from the exam to a document.
For me, that served as a study guide for the next time around. The plus side of taking the exam once is that you have a better idea of the content on the exam. The second time around may be more familiar. The download allows you to go back and review concepts that may have been weak points. A suggestion would be to compare your download to your Score Report, which is issued shortly after you have taken the exam, regardless if you pass or fail. The report indicates competencies and demonstrates areas of weakness.
It is important to keep going. Yes, a fail is demotivating, but it is best to get back into the groove and continue with the exams because the next ones could be passes. Don't let one, or even many fails dictate forward progression. You are not alone in the process. I suggest that if you ever feel you are, turn to the ARE 5.0 Community on the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) website
. The positive spirit, encouragement, engagement, and camaraderie reinforce that you are part of a professional community where every member is valuable and seeking success.
Whether or not you fail, I think that motivation is needed throughout the process-and maybe more so when there is a fail. My motivation was that I wanted to understand more about the profession of architecture. I found myself connecting to the content on the basis that it was making me a better professional. I didn't need a pass or a fail to see that transformation in the exam-taking process.
So, remember that no matter what, don't give up on the process because then you are giving up on your growth toward becoming a licensed architect. You got this.
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