I just finished my last test and wanted to share my experience for what it is worth.
I went a perfect 6/6 without a single fail. I can attribute that to the very successful formula that Michael Riscica has created with the young architect bootcamp (see youngarchitect.com), this community as well as the facebook ARE group, and good ole fashion working my butt off. It seams ages ago that I was starting this process and reading his webpage for the very first time. The bootcamp and subsequent path really has been the education I needed to become a licensed Architect.
As far as a testing order, I went PcM, PjM, CE, PA, PPD, PDD. I am a full believer in this order, and I don't care what experience you have, I think this is the best order to take the tests. My rolling clock says 3 years as I passed all of the tests in 2 years. Honestly, after PA I was a little burned out, and needed time to regroup for the big boys PPD and PDD. I passed PA 12/4/17 and didn't take PPD until 4/22/19. This is mostly due to the fact that in that time I started my own drafting company doing residential design (for which you don't need a licence in my state). Everybody is different, and finding your confidence is the true education to be learned from the ARE process. I was lucky to learn that in the bootcamp, before any of my tests began. I believe I put something like 124 hours in before that first test.
There is one other thing that I want to get off my chest as well. Not including some great positions and teachers, the profession of architecture will try to use you. DON'T LET IT. USE THEM TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS IN LIFE. I really believe my success in the ARE (besides the bootcamp) came from an attitude to get the most out of my job. Here is an example: I wanted to know how to write specs, and continued to pester my boss to let me attempt writing one. When he finally let me, I filled that spec up with post it notes full of questions. I then went one by one through them with others in my office as well as my boss. I made my job work for me, for my knowledge, for my purpose. Eventually you can run the risk of being fired, for which I was actually given notice of taking too long to achieve tasks, but I made the process work for me. My point is I was perfect on these tests not because I'm some natural talent, or because of some specific study material, but because I wanted to know this stuff. I used my time everyday to further my goal of getting licensed, and know how to practice effectively in the future.
If anybody wants to know more about my experience, please don't hesitate to post or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and good luck on your path.
PS Honorable mention shout out to Ben Norkin (Hyperfine), Kevin at Pluralsite, Amber videos (a little pricey), and of course the bible that is Ballast for your superb and affordable study materials.
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