New to the community? What are you working on?

Hello and welcome to the Black Spectacles ARE community!

This thread is a place where you can introduce yourself and let us know what you’re working on.

  • Are you currently taking the ARE?
  • Which divisions have you taken so far?
  • What subject are you needing help with?

Let us know in the thread below

I started studying for Programming and Analysis first. Does it matter what section you start first in test taking? I see there are no questions yet for P&A.

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Hey Jenna,

We’re just getting started so some of the divisions might not have posts quite yet.

Personally I’ve heard some folks recommend taking PPD & PDD first, and I’ve heard the same about the other divisions too. Curious to hear what others think.

Hello- I’m definitely an unusual case but wondering if there are others who have considered resuming licensure after a long hiatus. I completed the IDP process way back in 1997 or 1998 (most of you were probably in preschool!), passed a single section of the exam, then stopped to raise four kids, but always working in some capacity. It was always my intention to finish it up but I’ve had a nice design career without it- my own residential design firm- but always this nagging feeling that I didn’t finish what I started. I imagine that the exam is vastly different now than it was back then and curious if it’s worth looking into.


Hi Holly, and welcome!

First off, congrats on raising 4 kids while also owning your own design firm, that’s fantastic. As for the notion of moving forward with licensure, we have an article with some quotes from others in somewhat similar circumstances that might help.

Beyond that though, I’ll tag a few architects that can probably provide some deeper insight into the differences you can encounter with the ARE 5.0. @cat.heard9, @coachdarionziegler, and @coachzachhoffman, any of you able to expand on Holly’s question?

Hi Holly; you are not alone! Congrats on getting back on the path to licensure.

The tests have definitely gone through some iterations since the late 90s. I can’t speak to tests before my time, but here’s some basic information about the current version of the Architecture Registration Exams:

  • The AREs are comprised of 6 exams, correlating with the 6 practice areas of the AXP (formerly, IDP): Practice Management, Project Management, Programming and Analysis, Project Planning and Design, Project Documentation and Development, and Construction and Evaluation.
  • All testing is done electronically at a prometric center (this means results can be seen immediately after the exam. This also means no more hand drawn or digitally drawn vignettes!)
  • Depending on your state, you may have additional state exams, interviews or letters of reference to submit in addition to your NCARB transcript

In my opinion, the tests have gotten easier throughout the iterations. Having everything done electronically allows for quicker testing and less human error, which means a quicker licensing process as well. Because it sounds like you’ve kept up with the industry, I would doubt you’ll come across many knowledge areas that you’ve never seen or heard of. I think the biggest challenge will be learning the testing format, the ‘ideal’ AIA/NCARB work environment and how to pace yourself through the exam. (Let me know if you have further questions on the differences between the exam series. I have a few documents I could pass along if you’re interested.)

I know the overall licensing process can feel daunting, but if you’ve raised four kids, you’ve already got the patience and drive to conquer the AREs. You’ve got this, and we’re here to answer questions, commiserate and celebrate along the way!

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Thanks so much for the reply- this is helpful. If memory serves, I think I talked to someone with AIA Illinois or National about all this years ago. My concern then was that I would need to complete additional IDP (AXP) requirements under a licensed architect prior to being able to resume. I think I was “grandfathered” in and wondering if this still stands. I have not worked for an architect since 1997 but have remained active in design and construction on my own projects since.

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Have ppd on 2/14. Haven’t passed any yet but am hoping this will be my first!


Wish you the best of luck with PPD, let us know how it goes!

Anything in particular you might want help with as you study/prepare?

Hmmm, I see. If I were you, I’d take this route to figuring out where you currently fall in this process:

1 - reinstate your NCARB record. If you ever logged IDP it should still show up in the equivalent AXP categories. This should tell you if more hours are required to complete the hours requirement. If you see you have additional hours to complete you can request to supplement those hours through the NCARB portfolio option.
2 - determine your eligibility to test. This can be done through your NCARB record and varies by jurisdiction. Eligibility is determined by education, AXP completion, residency and more. If your home state has more restrictive testing requirements you can test through another jurisdiction to complete the licensing process faster (this was the path I took).
3 - determine how you want to move forward. NCARB offers different ways of completing education and hours. I would suggest reaching out directly to NCARB and/or your state board to determine the best way for you to move through the licensing process.

Fortunately, whatever your position might be, NCARB has allowed for multiple paths to licensure. I think after you reinstate your record and get in touch with NCARB you’ll be well on your way.

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Hi @berlydark, you’re going to be great!!! Pass or fail, you’re making progress. Let us know how it goes!

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I’m 46 and started taking the exams about a year ago. I have children(19-7 Y.O.) and a practice (20 years) which is a lot to balance - but needed to get it done. Getting my mind wrapped around the exam was a bit painful at first - had to drop the ego. I’ve accomplished a decent amount in my small world so the exam was a frustrating - but I’ve realized there are benefits - i don’t know it all. Getting the right study material is key. I would do it -

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