I passed the ARE 5.0 without failing an exam. Here are my recommendations

Here are my top 5 tips (with a bonus 6th one)

  1. Break the tests into two sections (PA, PPD, & PDD) + (CE, PJM, & PCM) and aim to take each test in the two sections within a 6 month period. Dividing the material like this helped me prioritize study materials and made the content seem less intimidating.

  2. Review your practice exams after you take them. Review every correct answer and every wrong answer.

  3. Chat with someone about the concepts. If you can explain it to someone else, you truly understand the content.

  4. Figure out a study schedule that is realistic and meets your needs. I tried studying at my kitchen table in the morning before going to my job (didn’t work), I tried studying on the couch after getting home in the evening (didn’t work), and I tried studying at lunch in an empty conference every week day (and that did work for me).

  5. Focus on big concepts first, and work your way through specifics from the top down. You’re unlikely to get a specific question about a nuanced topic, and, even if you do, you’ll only miss one question. It’s likely that you will have multiple questions about overarching concepts, so start with studying those first.

  6. Apply for scholarships from your local AIA chapter and/or the Architect’s Foundation. I was awarded the Jason Pettigrew memorial scholarship from AF, and it helped pay for my study materials and exams.


Hi @eecoverstone ! Thank you for sharing your great tips!

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Dear Licensed Architect @eecoverstone, what an awesome list of tips, thank you for sharing for the group, I know everyone will benefit from this! I especially like you tip suggesting that folks should ‘chat with someone about the concepts’- you’re right, this really does cement the knowledge into your brain. Congratulations on passing!

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