Tips on Passing the Architect Registration Examination

The Midnight Charette is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by architectural designers David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features a variety of creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions. A wide array of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes provide useful tips for designers, while others are project reviews, interviews, or explorations of everyday life and design. The Midnight Charette is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina discuss strategies and share their stories about passing the AREs (Architects Registration Examination). The two cover everything from the best study materials, how to study and how much time to allow, why the exam is difficult, the best time to take the exams, what to do if you fail, what to expect the 'day of', tips for taking the exam, and more! If you have any questions call or text the hotline at 213-222-6950.


  • Qualifying to take the AREs if you are not an American citizen (05:06)
  • When can the AREs be taken (before or after graduating, before or after completing the AXP) (07:34)
  • Tricking yourself to be motivated to take the exams (09:39)
  • Which study materials are the most helpful, where to get them, and how much you need to know from other: Ballast, Kaplan, Building Code Illustrated, IBC, Architectural Graphics Standard, Building Construction Illustrated, MEED, NCARBs handbook, Architect’s Practice Handbook, NCARB’s online forum, Hyperfine, Amber, Black Spectacles, Young Architect Bootcamp, Karen’s Notes, AIA Study workshops (12:22 - 01:20:10)
  • How long after graduating should the exams be taken? (25:07) (39:23)
  • Why memorizing specific answers and questions is not that helpful and failing an exam (31:21)
  • Methods of studying that work: Strategies, how long to study for, adopting the right mentality for studying, having the right test-taking approach (34:04, 01:47:21)
  • Why the exams are challenging (the content they cover and how questions are phrased) and passing all the exams in a few months or failing multiple exams (01:02:43)
  • Taking the exam, the testing center: Arriving at the testing center, what items to bring with you, going through security, waiting periods, items to ask for when you check-in, taking breaks, using the ARE computer program, what you cannot do during the exam, dealing with trick questions, staying calm, test-taking skills 01:11:26)
  • Taking the exam, answering questions: Knowing how many questions you need to get right to pass, marking questions, skipping questions, staying calm, taking breaks, test-taking skills (46:50, 01:23:38)
  • Why the exams are challenging: Jumping between different project scenarios, dealing with trick questions, wanting to phone a friend and partial points.(01:30:10)
  • Slow testing computers, load times, and program crashes (01:36:21)
  • Getting the results and taking multiple exams ‘at once’ (01:40:34)

About this author
Cite: The Second Studio Podcast. "Tips on Passing the Architect Registration Examination" 29 Feb 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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