How I passed the ARE Exam 1, Practice Management, in 2 weeks


This is a post from Christian Lemon from the ARE 5.0 Community.

He reviewed Ballast’s ARE 5.0 Review Manual and did their practice problems. He also read Professional Practice: A Guide to Turning Designs into Buildings and watched the Schiff Hardin lectures.

He advises everyone to know their financials and basic accounting.

He spent an entire 2 weeks studying, including lunch breaks, hours after work, and any free time on the weekends.

To learn more information, check out my post on how to study for the ARE Exam 1, Practice Management, or check out the original post below.

Original post

Took Practice Management last Thursday & received notice of my official pass within 24 hours!

I have recently completed my AXP experience requirements & this was my first test, deciding to start from the top. I jumped in head first & scheduled my test about 2.5 weeks ahead of time, leaving a small window for studying. I’ve seen some other posts talking about studying for months prior but I always feel like a majority of studying gets pushed off until the last couple weeks anyways. Don’t let it weigh on you, just force yourself right into it!

In preparing for the exam, I began with a thorough review of the Ballast “ARE 5 Review Manual” , making detailed notes, highlights & flash cards along the way. I also skimmed approx. half of NCARB’s recommended “Professional Practice: A Guide to Turning Designs into Buildings” which I found intuitive, worth the $16. I read through & highlighted important aspects of both B101 & C401 contracts, also listening to the Schiff-Hardin lecture on B101 — definitely need to know these. The biggest help was the Ballast “ARE 5 Practice Problems” & “ARE 5 Practice Exam”, presenting relevant & challenging problems with full explanations. I did the Practice Probs over a few days prior & the Practice Exam the day before my test. 

I did purchase the “Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice” but barely cracked it for this test. It’s an extremely detailed textbook that every architect should have on hand for reference but the amount of information required to review is overwhelming when faced with limited study time. I felt the Ballast “ARE 5 Review Manual” did an exceptional job covering the topics presented in Practice Management.

Without violating the NCARB’s Confidentiality Agreement, I will say know your financials & prepare for some basic accounting level math. Don’t get caught off guard by these types of question! I didn’t expect this content as it was not addressed in the Ballast Practice Probs / Exam. Luckily, I completed a finance minor in school so I had a bit of business background to lean on. Additionally, the actual exam case studies are significantly more developed than the Ballast guides. Lots more information to digest & analyze compared to the relatively brief case studies presented in the Practice Problems / Exam. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time for these.

I won’t talk about a finite time commitment because everyone studies with different paces & methodologies. I did, however, commit a FULL two weeks to prep which entailed studying on lunch breaks, hours after work & any free time over the weekend. I felt I was adequately prepared and was confident going in.

Thanks for reading, hope this helps someone! No time to celebrate, onto Project Management…


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