Last Monday I became a licensed Architect in the state of Florida through a very expedite process, therefore my friends have encouraged me to share my experience of it.
After spending two years into the process of getting an assessment of my education (outside the US) and fulfilling the 6-credits deficiency of it, I decided to pass all my ARE exams as soon as possible. I am a full-time employee of an Architecture firm, so the available time for studying was very limited and getting the right study material was essential for me. And since I graduated from Architecture school eleven years ago, I had lost the habit of studying… it was not a very appealing scenario.
A friend from work recommended me to try the Amber Book Seminar- taught by Professor Michael Ermann- which was recommended to him by a friend that, at the time, had been taking one exam a month and successfully passing all at the first attempt. I signed in for the seminar on March 23rd and scheduled my first exam for May 5th. After a few videos of Amber Book, I decided somehow follow the advice of Professor Ermann, and scheduled the other five exams, with an approximately two week lapse between exams.
The videos are a great tool to understand and assimilate the content. Graphic information is easier to understand and remember than written information. The goal of the seminar is to pass the ARE expeditiously, but not with a perfect score, therefore, they are very general in some areas of the content. After realizing this, I started using also the Ballast method: Review Manual, Practice Problems and Practice Exam. The Review Manual is a very dry book for studying after a day of a full-time job, but the Problems and Exams were very helpful. With all these, I felt confident enough to take my exams. My exam schedule was as follows:
-May 5th – Practice Management division
-May 20th – Project Management division
-June 6th – Programming & Analysis division
-June 29th – Project Planning & Design division
-July 6th – Project Development & Documentation division
-July 19th- Construction & Evaluation division
I successfully passed all my exams in two months and a half, with an average of 20 hours of study per week. My life was completely different during that time, with less hours for relaxation and lots of studying; but I believe that the effort was worthy, since I was done with it in a very short period of time.
Because the content overlaps among all the exams, if you are planning to pass the ARE, my advice to you is that you should go for it in a condensed schedule; it will save you the time of re-studying the same subjects for different exams. Study all the content before start taking your exams and then refresh the particular subjects for each division; in that way you will also have a comprehensive vision of the entire process.
The Amber Book seminar will be a very helpful tool, so gather your friends or colleagues and get the group discount, it will be a very well invested money. Look up for the Ballast books in eBay or Amazon, where you can get good offers for them.
And best of luck with your ARE exams! If I did it, you can do it!
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