What Order Should I Take ARE 5.0 In?

If you’re just getting started on your architecture licensure journey, it’s a great time to plan out what order you’ll take each division of ARE 5.0. 

In terms of the time needed to prepare, you should expect to spend three months and 50 to 55 hours studying for each exam division. That means about six hours each week, which includes reading review materials, practicing exam-like questions, watching videos, and taking assessment exams. 

Here’s one method for mapping out your ARE 5.0 exam division timing. If taken in this order, you’ll save time and build the foundational knowledge you need to be successful.

ARE 5.0 Exam Divisions Order Map

1. Practice Management (PcM), Project Management (PjM), Construction and Evaluation (CE)

Plan on taking these three exams first and relatively close together. They cover similar topics to one another, and they contain the foundational knowledge you can use for the other exams. You can take these three in any order.

2. Programming and Analysis (PA)

Programming and Analysis is a unique exam that integrates many topics that are central to architectural practice. Take this exam after PCM, PJM, and CE. If you’d like to plan out a short break in your studies, plan the break for either before or after the PA exam. 

3. Project Planning and Design (PPD), Project Development and Documentation (PDD)

These are more challenging and longer exams. They are helpful if taken towards the end, once you’ve mastered the foundational knowledge in PcM, PjM, and CE. PPD and PDD cover a lot of similar material but during different phases of the project. PPD covers preliminary schematic design, and PDD covers construction documents. These should be taken relatively close together and at the end of your exam journey. 

Have a Plan if You Don’t Pass a Division

While it’s unfortunate, failing certain exam divisions is fairly common for otherwise successful and smart candidates who then go on to become licensed architects. Have a plan in place if you don’t pass an exam division so that you’re not caught off guard. Some strategies you can use include:

  • Keep up the studying momentum! Take the next planned exam, and get back to the one you didn’t pass after that.
  • If you know you’ll need a break from studying after failing an exam division, plan on taking a two-month break. 
  • Remember that the biggest danger is not that you fail an exam division, but that you lose studying momentum due to long, unplanned breaks. You can do this! 

Sample ARE 5.0 Study Plan

Here is a sample study plan you can use and modify as needed to become a licensed architect. 

Year 1: PcM, PjM, CE

PcM: study for three months, and take the exam at the end of three months.

PjM: study for three months, and take the exam at the end of three months.

CE: study for three months, and take the exam at the end of three months.

Take a three-month break, then tackle:

Year 2: PA, PPD, PDD

PA: study for three months, and take the exam at the end of three months.

Take a three-month break, then move on to:

PPD: study for three months, and take the exam at the end of three months.

PDD: study for three months, and take the exam at the end of three months.

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Preparing for ARE 5.0? Test your knowledge with a free ARE 5.0 Sample Quiz.