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

Study Tips

Posted by: Brightwood Architecture Education
Published: June 23, 2015

The first step in preparation should be a review of the exam specifications and reference materials published by NCARB. These statements are available for each of the seven ARE divisions to serve as a guide for preparing for the exam. Download these statements and familiarize yourself with the content. This will help you focus your attention on the subjects on which the exam focuses.

Prior CAD knowledge is not necessary to successfully complete vignettes. In fact, it’s important for candidates familiar with CAD to realize they will experience significant differences between CAD and the drawing tools used on the exam.

Though no two people will have exactly the same ARE experience, the following are recommended best practices to adopt in your studies and should serve as a guide.

Set aside scheduled study time.

Establish a routine and adopt study strategies that reflect your strengths and mirror your approach in other successful academic pursuits. Most importantly, set aside a definite amount of study time each week, just as if you were taking a lecture course, and carefully read all of the material.

Take—and retake—quizzes.

After studying each lesson in the study guide, take the quiz found at its conclusion. The quiz questions are intended to be straightforward and objective. Answers and explanations can be found at the back of the book. If you answer a question incorrectly, see if you can determine why the correct answer is correct before reading the explanation. Retake the quiz until you answer every question correctly and understand why the correct answers are correct.

Identify areas for improvement.

The quizzes allow you the opportunity to pinpoint areas where you need improvement. Reread and take note of the sections that cover these areas and seek additional information from other sources. Use the question-and-answer handbook and online test bank as a final tune-up for the exam.

Take the final exam.

A final exam designed to simulate the ARE follows the last lesson of each study guide. Answers and explanations can be found on the pages following the exam. As with the lesson quizzes, retake the final exam until you answer every question correctly and understand why the correct answers are correct.

Use the flashcards.

If you’ve purchased the flashcards, go through them once and set aside any terms you know at first glance. Review them on the train, over your lunch, or before bed. Remove cards as you become familiar with their terms until you know all the terms. Review all the cards a final time before taking the exam.

Practice using the NCARB software.

Work through the practice vignettes contained within the NCARB software. You should work through each vignette repeatedly until you can solve it easily. As your skills develop, track how long it takes to work through a solution for each vignette.

Supplementary Study Materials

In addition to the Brightwood study packages, materials from industry-standard sources may prove useful in your studies. Candidates should consult the list of exam references in the NCARB guidelines for the council’s recommendations and pay particular attention to the following publications, which are essential to successfully completing this exam:

  • International Code Council (ICC) International Building Code
  • American Institute of Steel Construction Manual of Steel Construction: Allowable Stress Design, Ninth Edition