As all of you know, this process is a long road. But I’m here to motivate some of you parents out there who are working towards completing the ARE’s!
I am a mom of 2 (2 and 4 YO) and 7 months pregnant with my third. I took and PASSED PDD (my last exam) on Monday and am officially done with AXP and the ARE’s.
As a wife and a parent, I relate to the concerns about time management and finding the time to study.
My goal throughout this process was to take as little time away from my family as possible while still achieving my needed study time. My approach to this was basically, when my family was asleep, this time became MY time. This meant late nights (10:30 pm to 12:30 am) and early mornings (5am – 6:30am) and my lunch break at work 5 days a week. Of course, that meant sacrificing on my end (limited sleep) but the process was well worth it and worked.
I studied for each exam for about 4-5 weeks, 15 – 18 hrs a week and felt that this time was successful. There have been times when I gave myself longer, but things I studied early on would be later lost and forgotten about.
There are a lot of great posts I referenced on this community that I printed and kept referencing throughout the process, not only for PDD but throughout all 6 exams. Go through them and see what people have to say, because we all work and study differently.
My primary resource was Ballast which gave a good general overall aspect for the topics referenced in the NCARB handbook. But do NOT use this resource alone. NCARB provides a very detailed list of resources to use – USE THEM!
Resources I recommend:
- PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE with NCARBs demo exam to understand the program and system.
- NCARBs ARE 5.0 Handbook – the guide to guidance! This gives great descriptions on what to expect leading into the exam and even calls for specific resources based on the example questions given. Use it!
- Building Construction Illustrated
- Building Codes Illustrated
- The Architects Studio Companion
- Project Resource Manual of Practice – Love this resource. I thought this was concise and to the point for certain concepts.
- People around you! – I used the professionals around me to really understand concepts I was unsure of. My boss, Consultants, co-workers. They are happy to help and share their knowledge and expertise!
- Understand CONCEPTS – not just the facts. By understanding the concepts, you’ll be able to apply this knowledge to any question thrown at you and not just one scenario you read in a book.
Don't make excuses to quit- there will always be new ones, and just "Get back up again" - Trolls (you parents will relate) But a great song to psych you up, parent or not! :)
The number one thing to remember is to keep your motivation high no matter what the results may be (Pass or fail). Enjoy the process! Throughout it all, we continue to learn, which is what Architects will forever be doing.
If you’re starting to lose your motivation – look at your children and gain it back. My children may be too young now to understand the process that I “painfully” went through, but I can’t wait for the day that they are proud to say that their mom is an Architect!
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