You can start with Construction Documents and Service (CDS) and Structural Systems (SS) first because both divisions give a limited scope, and you may want to study building regulations and architectural history (especially famous architects and buildings that set the trends at critical turning points) before you take other divisions.
Complete mock exams and vignettes, including those provided by NCARB's practice program and this book, to hone your skills.
Form study groups and be familiar with the exam experience of other ARE candidates. The forum at our website is a helpful resource. See the following link:
Take the ARE exams as soon as you become eligible, since you probably still remember portions of what you learned in architectural school, especially structural and architectural history. Do not make excuses for yourself and put off the exams.
The following test-taking tips may help you:
* Pace yourself properly. Spend about one minute for each Multiple-Choice (MC) question, except for the SS division questions, which you can spend about one and a half minutes on.
* Read the questions carefully and pay attention to words like best, could, not, always, never, seldom, may, false, except, etc.
* For questions that you are not sure of, eliminate the obvious wrong answer and then make an educated guess. Please note that if you do NOT answer the question, you automatically lose the point. If you guess, you at least have a chance to get it right...
* You really need to spend time practicing to become VERY familiar with NCARB's graphic software and know every command well. This is because the ARE graphic vignette is a timed test, and you do NOT have time to think about how to use the NCARB graphic software during the test. If you do not know how, you will NOT be able to finish your solution on time.
* The ARE exams test a candidate's competency to provide professional services protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Do NOT waste time on aesthetic or other design elements not required by the program.
ARE exams are difficult, but if you study hard and prepare well, combined with your experience, IDP training, and/or college education, you should be able to pass all divisions and eventually be able to call yourself an architect.
Quoted from page 21 of "Schematic Design (SD) ARE Mock Exam (Architect Registration Exam)"
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