I’ve helped more than 5,000 people pass the ARE, and I’m ready to share some insights. The key to passing these tests? No surprise here: learning the material. Of course, there are test-taking tricks, both general to test-taking and specific to the ARE that can help at the margins—and I’ll cover those in future posts on this thread—but the quickest, surest path to licensure is in owning the content. For most of you, that will mean a good deal of studying, though for the subset of you who have long-treated curiosity as an itch that needs to be scratched, this will come more easily. I’ve found that people who have spent a (professional) lifetime looking up unknown subject matter when they come across it require less studying and probably enjoy the process of studying a bit more. But for both the curious and uncurious, if you are endeavoring to pass these exams, I encourage you to approach them with a measure of gusto, because owning the content—really really really knowing it—is more fun than trying to memorize a test item that was on your last failed attempt. And truly understanding the subject matter will both make you more likely to pass and will make you a better architect.—Michael Ermann, The Amber Book
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