Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

How to Improve Your Retention

Posted by: Brightwood Architecture Education
Published: July 7, 2015

One of the biggest hurdles you face as an aspiring architect is passing the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). For many, this process begins several years post-college, while working full-time and logging hours toward your Intern Development Program (IDP). Being several years removed from the routine of studying for exams, you may see the ARE as an intimidating endeavor. It is the last thing standing between you and becoming a licensed architect, and Brightwood can help you get through it.

Many of you have families and work full-time, so the time you have available for studying is limited. There are several things you can do to improve your ability to absorb the information you are reviewing and make the most of your study time.

1. Know Your Learning Style

There are so many different ways to study, so it is important that you choose the materials that work best for your learning style. The three most commonly discussed learning styles are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (hands-on). Most people favor a particular style, but utilize all three. To stay focused, it helps to have a variety of ARE study materials from which to choose. Study guides and blogs are great for visual learners. Online seminars are good for those who prefer a combination of visual and auditory styles, and practice vignettes are a great tool for the kinesthetic learners.

2. Set a Study Schedule

It may seem difficult to find study time within your busy lifestyle. Setting a study schedule will not only help you organize your time, but it will also help you mentally prepare yourself to learn. Find a study space where there are minimal distractions and use it for your scheduled study sessions.

3. Take Breaks

Schedule a 20-minute break every 1–2 hours. Take that time to make yourself a meal or exercise. Although taking your mind off studying is great, logging into your email or scrolling through social media can easily transform your 20-minute break into a 2-hour break.

4. Take Practice Exams

Practice exams are not only great learning tools that promote retention, but they are also great assessment tools. Take a practice exam before you begin studying for each new ARE division. They will give you great insight into which topics you understand well, and which topics you need to spend more time on. Brightwood’s QBanks, Q & A Handbooks, and Flashcards are all great for testing your knowledge. Review the detailed answers provided and take notes on areas in which you may be struggling.

5. Teach

Teaching is another effective learning tool. If you have friends or colleagues who are also studying for their exams, organize a study group. Each person can take turns teaching the group about a particular exam topic.