ARE Live: How to Pass the ARE During Stressful Times

I actually like to read aloud a lot because it keeps me from losing thought! Thanks for bringing that up. Clearly I don’t do it enough!



I’m sorry they failed your exam due to technical difficulties! While I was taking PPD my screen froze out and I wasn’t able to progress. The proctor came and saw the problem, logged me out of that computer, and logged me in to another computer, and all of my progress was saved there. The tests are now internet based, very similarly to how Blackspectacles works. I may have lost some time during the switch, but besides that the only negative was the stress it put on me. It seems like these technical issues are more common than they should be.

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Just go for it! I know it’s overwhelming with the various divisions. Maybe throw a dice and whatever you roll is where you start!

I made a croque madame! Fried ham and cheese sandwich with an egg on top, mmm. I haven’t made it since and I think that will be my exam morning ritual!

I aimed for about 2 hours a day during the weekdays. Longer than that I started to zone out.

Hi! Yes, that sounds like a difficult situation, and I am sorry you are going through that. I have also dealt with unemployment, and the financial stresses that are associated. It is great that you have a support system in place. If it is important to you to continue making progress studying, even an hour a day or a few hours a week is progress and helps keep things fresh. Take what you can get and feel good about your efforts. If it is too distracting to study while looking for a job, then do one first before moving on to the other. Or schedule your time to do job hunting on specific days, and studying on the other days. Either way, go easy on yourself - it doesn’t all have to happen at once. It sounds like you are a determined person, and you will accomplish this goal. Make sure to stay positive by congratulating yourself when you deserve it.


Hi Julie, I felt the 4.0 vignettes were are poorly executed way to test drafting skills and incorporate graphic questions. They were so predictable that anyone could look up a youtube video on how to finish it, study those steps, but learn nothing. And they were so finicky that the tiniest mistake would fail you (I did fail one vignette). The 5.0 questions do a much better job testing knowledge. Also, the user interface and question format is much easier to interact with (no special knowledge needed), and the questions flow in the exam with less stress. I am sorry to hear you never restarted. I encourage you to start again in 5.0 if it is still a goal for you. You know more than you think you do and will do better than you expect! The worst that will happen is you will fail an exam - but then you will know what is on it, and it will be easier the next time! Good luck to you!

I’ll second this. I HATED THE VIGNETTES

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Hi Julie, feel free to contact me if you want to discuss taking exams late in your career:

I’m so sorry, that is very frustrating. The nice thing is the additions to our rolling clocks, although I understand the desire to just get it over with!


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@jennykivett @Linnette.Arias I’m on PPD and PDD (not my first attemps) as well, if you’re up for sharing I’d love to hear what took you to the point of passing!

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Hello, I am having trouble responding on the thread, so I thought I would send you a message. I understand the stresses of taking these exams while adult life is happening, and I applaud you for continuing on this goal. Congratulations on taking your first exam - that is a big step! I know seeing a fail is devastating. Scheduling the next exam like you have done is the best thing to do in that scenario.

Regarding hitting your test dates without rescheduling, I would recommend you just go in there and see what happens. You know more than you think you do, and even if you fail, you walk away with insider knowledge on the real exam, which is incredibly valuable.

I would love to answer any other questions you have, or offer any testing tips. Please feel free to contact me if you would like. Thanks for listening today, and congratulations on the life successes that have made it possible to take the ARE.

Jenny Kivett

Hello, I maxed out my responses yesterday, so sorry to take so long to get back to you. Yes, I am up for sharing. Please feel free to contact me at: Looking forward to it.

This is a great question. I started with content - a lot of reading and watching videos. Then I realized taking the test is its own challenge, so I focused a lot on typical questions and practice exams to get comfortable with the timing. Then it became a mix of studying the content in a way that could help me answer the questions the way NCARB asks them - this was important for the code questions. Studying how to navigate the code, memorizing which tables I would need to use, and practicing using the testing software to get to the information quickly enough to answer the question. I hope this helps! Good luck to you.