With examinee Erik Walker’s help, we have compiled a list of useful tips to help you prepare for the Practice Management and Project Management divisions of ARE 5.0 more efficiently.
Erik is an ARE 5.0 examinee who has been working in the architecture industry for close to 10 years and holds a Master of Architecture from North Dakota State University. He sees obtaining the architecture license as a gateway to financial success and freedom to forge his own career path. Erik is on a fast track to completing all six divisions of ARE 5.0 and has taken the Practice Management and Project Management divisions. He studied for about three weeks before his first exam and plans to follow a similar review schedule before the other divisions.
"Completing the ARE exams is more important to me than any project that walks through the door,” he said. “Passing these tests changes your career path from a few possible doors to an unending number in the future—and if there is no door to open, just having attained the license allows you to create your own.”
To prepare for the exam, Erik utilized PPI's popular ARE 5 Review Manual and ARE 5 Practice Exam as his primary review materials. PPI was the first in the industry to release new exam prep material for ARE 5.0, providing Erik with a complete and comprehensive review of each division.
1. Turn Practice into a Habit
Erik shares four different types of learning styles with us: You Can Read It, You Can Write It, You Can Hear It, and You Can Do It. The best way to familiarize yourself with the review materials and the exam format is through practice. After reading the concepts, writing the concepts, reading the concepts out loud, and doing more practice problems, the exam will no longer feel like an exam but more like another exercise. Visit PPI’s ARE Resource Hub for more ARE 5 Practice Problems and exam information.
2. Work Through the Exam Out of Order
For all divisions, the questions do not need to be answered consecutively. Sometimes working the exam backwards might help you with another area of the test.
“For this test I do recommend that you start with the case study because you don't know what you will find in the supplemental documents...You might get lucky and get an AIA contract document that could help you with other multiple choice questions," Erik said.
3. Leave No Question Behind—GUESS!
Examinees should attempt to answer all questions, even with a guess. All unanswered questions are counted as incorrect answers, so reserve the last five to ten minutes of the test to make your best guess for the remaining questions.
4. Visualize the Contract
As you take on an architecture project, the AIA contract serves as the foundational guide to lead you through the project. One of the major topics covered in the Project Management division is “Contracts.” As recommended by Erik, the best way to prepare for this division is to visualize the contract
—print out an actual AIA contract and review it with the detailed explanations provided in the ARE 5 Review Manual. This strategy helps to paint a solid picture of the contract, which further strengthens your memory.
5. Be Able to Apply Information
“The language and theme of the actual exam questions matched up very well with the PPI practice exam,” Erik said, “but you have to be able to apply the information in the review manual to the problems on the actual exam. There was only one question of the 80 on the test that was completely foreign to me, something that was not covered in the study guide, or something that I have ever seen in my 10 years of experience.”