My battle with the AREs recently concluded earlier this summer and whew, what a relief it has been! For those of you who don’t know, ARE stands for Architect Registration Examination and is comprised of seven separate tests, each with a different focus. The combined topics covers the full spectrum of architecture and design topics and all six must be passed within a five year window. Passing the AREs is just one of the steps required in order to become a licensed architect.
The AREs test your understanding and competency in all phases of the design and construction project process. Personally, I felt that the material of the individual exams themselves was very straight forward, granted it is a plethora of information to comprehend. For me, the trick was turning the information into a relatable and comprehensible format to understand and reiterate while sitting for the exams. I truly feel the working experience I gained help prepare me for the exams by being able to relate the content to the projects we are working on day in and day out in the office.
I found the most difficult aspect of the exams to be the scheduling and time management of balancing real life and test prep. The AREs are a self-appointed exam which means you can take the exams in any order within a five-year window. This allows for what I like to call, real-world/life distractions to get in the way. It’s hard to find time to take an exam when you’re recently married and trying to balance work, a social life, family time and travel. On top of that, you have to set aside a significant amount of time beforehand to actually study the content and the vignettes for seven different exams. One needs to be driven and persistent to keep pushing to the finish line.
Looking back, it has been a long road to get here; moving to a new city out of college, getting married, balancing the work/family/social aspects of life, but it was all worth it in the end and I am very proud to be able to finally call myself an Architect.