HELP! Thinking about quitting the ARE

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17 comments

  • Avatar
    Mollie Pelletier

    I hope NCARB answers this for you.  I am American and struggled with the wording on these tests. Understanding what exactly they are asking is harder than any material covered on any exam.  Many of my colleagues feel the same way as well, and we are all native English speakers. So I can't imagine trying to take these tests as a foreign architect.  NCARB should have a path to licensure for foreign architects that doesn't include these exams.

  • Avatar
    Margarita Bedmar Gonzalez

    Thank you so much for sharing this, it does makes me feel better and i totally agree with you.

  • Avatar
    Carolina Glas Roditi

    Join Bootcamp, you'll be practicing and practicing questions until they become much easier to handle.
    I had the same problem and Michael Riscica's Bootcamp has been the solution. Not only you get to go over a tonnnnn of questions, but you discuss them with other people and learn from them how to interpret what they're asking.

  • Avatar
    Margarita Bedmar Gonzalez

    I appreciate your recommendation but i do not have the money for a bootcamp which is highly expensive, it does not seem fair to me that i need to throw money and money to pass these exams instead of being able to learn from the material, since the material is not clear or concrete at all. I wish NCARB would provide better material to study and test people base on knowledge.

  • Avatar
    RJ

    I can definitely sympathize with your experience with the ARE. There are a lot of convoluted questions on this exam that require 'time' and thought' and there just simply isn't enough 'TIME' in my opinion. So maybe the boot camp program is the way? But it sure is pricy and my firm is like yours- they dont pay for employee licencing and could care less about that. Im half way through the tests and am having a he'll of a time passing PA. I've taken it now 5 times and the last 2 times I took it I walked out of the testing center thinking I passed only to wake up to the opposite. It's insane! I think if I got 15 out of 95 wrong I failed but who the heck knows (unless I'm willing to waste 300$ to find out) what a racket! So enough of my venting, but I simply understand your frustration and would like to encourage you to perhaps take a few months break from the exam (like me) and come back to it after all there's really no rush- you have 5 years right ? lol

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    RJ

    I'd also like voice out to ncarb- PLEASE UPDATE THE HANDBOOK With new material for us 50 percenters. It's been 2 years and it's hard to study the handbook when you've memorized all the questions!

  • Avatar
    Philip Crosscup (Edited )

    Wow!  The exams are challenging, must be especially challenging in a second language.  Hang in there!  I did my internship in Barcelona, so I feel for you.  I have never been fluent in a second langue, so its hard for me to say, but I can only imagine it will get easier as you study and test.  I would recommend many  practice exams as well.  Also sounds like you are an architect not a foreign architect/architectural designer even though you can't stamp in that particular state/ country? 

  • Avatar
    Kenneth Barrett

    Margarita, 

    To many of us native English speakers, the ARE exams also feel as if they are written in a foreign language. I recently passed my last exam but it took 2.5 years and included 3 failed exams. I transitioned from ARE 4.0 to 5.0 but continued to find the 4.0 exam guides very useful. I mapped out the differences between 4.0 and 5.0 using the NCARB transition calculator and used the corresponding exam guides. They are free! 

    For example,

    ARE 5.0 Practice Management = ARE 4.0 Construction Documents & Services + ARE 4.0 Programming, Practice, & Practice

     

    Here is the 4.0 to 5.0 transition calculator: https://arecalc.ncarb.org/

    Here are the links to the 4.0 exam guides:

    PROGRAMMING, PLANNING & PRACTICE

    https://www.ncarb.org/sites/default/files/PPP_Exam_Guide.pdf

    SITE PLANNING & DESIGN

    https://www.ncarb.org/sites/default/files/SPD_Exam_Guide.pdf

    BUILDING DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION SYSTEMS

    https://www.ncarb.org/sites/default/files/BDCS_Exam_Guide.pdf

    SCHEMATIC DESIGN

    https://www.ncarb.org/sites/default/files/SD_Exam_Guide.pdf

    STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS

    https://www.ncarb.org/sites/default/files/SS_Exam_Guide.pdf

    BUILDING SYSTEMS

    https://www.ncarb.org/sites/default/files/BS_Exam_Guide.pdf

    CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS & SERVICES

    https://www.ncarb.org/sites/default/files/CDS_Exam_Guide.pdf

     

    Hopefully NCARB keeps the 4.0 guides up forever.

     

    Good Luck!

  • Avatar
    Kristen Stanford

    You should absolutely try the bootcamp!  Many of the people have English as a second language and they are crushing it!!!  The support from the Bootcamp community is unreal!  People who have passed all their tests, help out the rest of us still going.  It's a family.  

  • Avatar
    Margarita Bedmar Gonzalez

    Thank you so much for the advice i will take a closer look but paying almost $800 for the boot camp plus the $230 for the exam looks like i will be paying $1000 for exam and unfortunately i can not afford that right now.

  • Avatar
    Kristen Stanford

    I understand it is expensive.  I work 2 jobs and babysit and my husband and I didn't go out to eat for 4 months.  Have to make sacrifices.  ARE is expensive to take and to obtain all the study materials.  You'll get there!  

  • Avatar
    Margarita Bedmar Gonzalez (Edited )

    It is very frustrated cause it should not be expensive, the material for studying for each exam should be more clear that is all... at end it looks like it is more about how much money you can put in to instead of making sure you have the right knowledge... it does not make much sense. Thanks for the help, i will give it another try but if it does not work out i am not going to just waste my money, i have the knowledge what is what matters the most I am already licence in over 30 countries in Europe... LOL

  • Avatar
    SYLVIA PAWLOWSKI (Edited )

    Hi Margarita,

    It shouldn't be expensive, but you have been blessed to have an education that would have been much more expensive if you studied in the USA. (I'm not from here either so I'm not as bitter as many of our colleagues might be to this fact). I know a lot of the materials are expensive, but it is a learned process.  Much of what is tested on is not actually taught in the universities, here, or in Europe, so in some ways, you should look at this as another degree. Or, in many ways, a Professional degree. I would rather a doctor who went through his boards to operate on me, or I would rather a lawyer who went through his bar exams to defend me. I believe the public would rather an architect who went through this rigor to put a very heavy roof over their head. I do believe these exams are far harder than they should be, and I can only imagine how much harder it is for people coming with English as a second language, but I have seen MANY ESL people pass, so it's not impossible. 

    As for resources, I've heard Pluralsight is fairly priced, check it out. They also have a week for free, so you can browse the content and not commit. I've also googled for many of the books and found pdf's free online. But of course some you have to buy.  Also look at selling them in the end. Designer Hacks also have free 25 test questions for all the divisions. 

    Good Luck!

  • Avatar
    Mollie Pelletier

    The language thing aside (which i agree is terribly unfair), it doesn’t have to be that expensive. The tests themselves and NCARB are what they are. But the test materials don’t have to be. Many of these books and resources are available online in PDF form for free if you search hard enough. Many are also in the reference section of public libraries. Non reference ones are available for Check out in larger cities. College Libraries at architecture schools have more obscure stuff. . I ordered used copies, older versions, or e-reader versions online when i found them for affordable prices (like $15) then resold them when finished.

    You don’t have to subscribe to these crazy expensive quiz companies like amber or black spectacles or online boot camps. I did pluralsight one month at a time when needed which was much more affordable.

    You DO NOT have to spend your life savings to be successful on these tests. Read the first sources listed in the handbook and take old fashioned notes. Make your own note cards. Study in the library where the books sit free on dusty shelves. Dig online for versions. Watch you tube videos about electricity and moment frames.

    I did spend the money to buy the ballast practice exam book. I think it and the practice problems (which i didn’t buy) are worth the money

  • Avatar
    Tatamin

    I’m also foreign and feel the same. I’ve tried nearly everything now (DH, NALSA, Black Spec, MEEB, Hyper, Ballast, Kaplan, ASC, Build Con Illust, Build Code Illust, Graphic Standards, FEMA, Amber and more) except the Boot Camp and Pluralsight….paying almost $800 and plus...and no guarantee that you will pass…..too much money to gain for a little...

  • Avatar
    David

    Hi Margarita, 

    I am also an architect from Spain and understand fully your frustration. I am starting to prepare for the ARE, luckily my company will reimburse all the official costs and helps with the education, try asking at your company, specially if they are the ones pushing you to be licensed, otherwise, being licensed is always optional, not compulsory. In my case, my company strongly requires it, so they understood they have to help pay for it.

    Unrelated, I have questions for you about the EESA process and this forum does not allow to send direct messages...

    Como hiciste la notarized copy de tus documentos? Pensaba que valia con el SET (Suplemento Europeo al Titulo) y cuando he ido a notarizarlo me han dicho que no pueden hacerlo... creo que el proceso es mas complicado de lo que yo pensaba y no se ni como empezar. Que documentos enviaste y que necesito hacer?

    Te agradeceria muchisimo tu respuesta, y perdona la falta de tildes!

    Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Hang Cho (Edited )

    Hi Margarita

    I am a father of 3 teenage kids & have been taking exam since ARE 3.0.

    I passed some & rolling clock ended, gave up with fear, hopelessness overwhelmed me, re-opened the book of ARE4.0 & passed some & ARE 5.0 appeared & have to retake all but CE because I did not know there is ARE 5.0 community & other on-line help.

    Dear Margarita

    If you have another dream & way to live financially with your lovely family, no need to take this exam to be a registered architect. However, if you have to have this license, Here is what I share based on my experience.

    When my rolling clock of ARE 3.0 stopped, I could not bear the fear to retake all again, so I ran away for a year.

    But the hopelessness & sense of uselessness are much harder to bear than the fear so one day I reopen the book of structural & at least read whenever I have free time such as waiting my son in the after school activity for 2 hrs or early in the morning at Starbucks for 1 hrs, etc. for about 6 months. One day my wife encourage to take a exam with no pressure & expectation. Surprisingly, I passed & passed another 3 more.

    I will try to finish this year all other exam of ARE 5.0

    Here is my record of failure with fear and hopelessness and purpose.

    So  My suggestion if you have to get the license with us.

    Take about 6 months just reading & digesting with no pressure whenever you have free time or so.

    Pick either PcM+PjM path  or PA+PPD+PDD and CE as a last piece. Each paths are together & overlapping intensely.

    For PcM+PjM, see link below.

    https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/360015375454-HALF-WAY-THERE-Passed-PjM-PcM-CE

    https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/360020464653

     

    For PA+PPD+PDD, read through slowly Ballst Book 4.0 for 6 months or so until you finish to read once or twice.

    When you have confidence for this book, schedule exam month after month & get some help from various sources not that expensive such as PPI learning hub (month to month or 6months with some discount) or  designer hack ($39 per subject).

    Whichever path you choose, good luck & most of all be happy !!!

     

     

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