Reading material/Chapters to focus on?



  • Avatar
    Daniel Spilman

    Hi Alicia,

    Yes, I struggled with a similar issue that you are facing, trying to give focus and direction to my studying efforts! As I did in previous exams, I cross referenced the ARE Handbook objectives with the contents of the suggested resources. For example, with Building Codes Illustrated, it would be a waste of your time to read cover-to-cover, since only several chapters are relevant to P&A.

    Here is a brief outline of what I chose to focus on for each resource, and I felt that I was fairly well prepared for the exam:

    Building Codes Illustrated: Chapters 1,2,3,4,5,6,7(general understanding),18.

    Make sure you are familiar with different use and occupancy types, construction types, FAR, heights, Fire considerations, etc. and their impact on site planning. Practice navigating through the IBC to find and reference appropriate tables for these items. You don't need to memorize them, but you need to know what you are looking for so when a scenario arises, you can find the information efficiently.

    I was able to leverage my professional experience in doing this a lot. If you've had to do it for real projects, then you will be well setup for success.

    Architectural Programming Primer: I jumped around and skimmed throughout. Again, if you've ever done any space planning in your professional work, you'll be familiar with the concepts. Its all logical problems. If this needs to be close to this, and this can't be next to that, and this must be adjacent to this, then what is the layout. Your natural architectural instincts will help :)

    Site Planning and Design Handbook: Chapters 1,2,3,4,7,8,9(parts),Appendix A

    The most technical thing to pull out here is all the soils information. This is where I had the most to learn and still feel like I should have been better prepared. Make sure you are very familiar with the different types of soil, their characteristics, and their impact on design (structural), and terminology that describes soil conditions. Know about different types of soil testing.

    Sustainable site design, your basic architectural training in site design and orientation will be key here. Know about solar orientation, prevailing winds, etc and best sustainable design practices. Know about locating buildings near wetlands, or flood plains, etc. If you've ever taken an LEED AP exam and learned all about sustainable site principles, this will be helpful. Know how to read surveys and topography maps. Know which way water will flow if you are reading topography lines and how that will impact your building location. Topography slopes, soil angle of repose, etc. 

    Know about Environmental Site Assessments, both phases, what they are, how they impact projects. Brownfields. 

    Codes: just be familiar with basic concepts and where things are located so you can easily navigate. See note above regarding the Building Codes Illustrated. Know your basic ADA guidelines regarding site design considerations (ramp slopes). Know about Zoning codes, ordinances and how they effect your planning/site design.


    I hope this is helpful. Of course this is not exhaustive and please don't rely on my list of items as comprehensive checklist. Just some helpful advice from my exam experience :). Overall, I would say that my professional experience from working was equally as helpful in my preparation for this exam as the study resources I consulted, moreso than when I took PcM and PjM, where I learned 85%+ from reading the AHPP. So your level of experience will definitely play a factor. I'll try my best to answer any questions you have!   

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Matthew Lawton

    Daniel -

    Thank you for the breadth of information you have provided. This list should be followed by many who want to prepare for the exam; I'm hoping to find similar lists for the other exams I need to take. My only question is, Architectural Programming Primer. Is this the book? I think I have an older edition, but want to make sure I'm looking for the right thing. 

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Iman Elhakam

    can you share these documents or can you and I work together

    Comment actions Permalink
  • Avatar
    Alicia Bernardo

    This information is awesome. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and respond in such detail! I've taken the exam, now just have my fingers crossed for a PASS. Hopefully I won't have to reference this material again regarding the exam. Thanks again!

    I had a lot of luck doing a Google search and finding the recommended readings. Ones I couldn't find online, my office either had it or I had to purchase them. Trying searching online first - best of luck!

    Comment actions Permalink

Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk