The ARE exams are incredibly poorly organized with regards to recommended resources.
The ARE Handbook lists 41 books and 14 documents as recommended references. Some of these books are up to 900 pages long, and the documents usually run about 50 pages. The books can be $200 or more, while the documents, thankfully are free.
So, the NCARB (makers of the ARE) want you to buy $8000 worth of books and not only read, but memorize, 37000 pages of material in order to prepare for the ARE. That’s crazy!
Fortunately, it’s also entirely unnecessary. You actually have a couple options for the ARE besides spending $8000 on 37000 pages of material.
First, you can buy a study guide, like my Guide for the Overwhelmed series, which costs $125 and runs about 200 pages. It lists exactly what you need to memorize, understand, and practice for the ARE, based on reports from actual ARE test-takers.
(Word to the wise: if you sign up for my free email course on how to study for the ARE, you not only receive a list of exactly what topics to focus on for the ARE, you also get a 10% off coupon on the entire series).
Second, you could instead follow the guide below and purchase only the absolutely necessary books for the ARE and read only the absolutely necessary chapters. This will still cost a significant amount of money, but it won’t cost $8000.
If you’re interested in the second option, read on!
Recommended reading for ARE Exam 1, Practice Management
|Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP)||Chapters 1, 5, 8, 9, 16, 17||$193|
|Schiff Hardin Lectures (SHL)||A201, B101, C401||$0|
|ARE Handbook||Practice Management (duh)||$0|
So, this is a total cost of $193. This will likely take you around 10 hours to fully absorb if you take notes and create flashcards with 21st Night, the studying app.
Recommended reading for ARE Exam 2, Project Management
|AHPP||4, 5, 10, 13, 16, 17||$0 (assuming you already bought it)|
|SHL||Lectures 2 and 3||$0|
|ARE Handbook||Project Management||$0|
This is a total cost of $0, assuming you already bought the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice. It should take around 15 hours.
Recommended reading for ARE Exam 3, Programming and Analysis
|Site Planning and Design||Soils and Brownfields||$57|
|2015 IBC||3-7 and 9-11||$0|
|Internet||Dropbox link to chart||$0|
|2010 ADA Standards||Just skim through it and focus on fundamentals||$0|
|Sun, Wind, and Light||“Climate as a Concept”; “Combining Climate, Program and Form”; “Building Groups”||$50|
|ARE Handbook||Programming and Analysis||$0|
This exam is more complicated, but cheaper. It’s about $100 for all the materials, and should take around 30 hours to absorb all of it.
Recommended reading for ARE Exam 4, Project Planning and Design
|Architect’s Studio Companion||Whole book||$66|
|Building Construction Illustrated||Main topics||$15|
|IBC 2012||Chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10||$0|
|ADA Guidelines||Rules for stairs, ramps, handrails, curb cuts, landings, clearances, bathrooms||$0|
|Site Planning and Design||Chapter 10||$0|
|ARE Handbook||Project Planning and Design||$0|
Assuming you’ve already purchased Site Planning and Design, this exam will cost about $80 to prepare for and likely take around 50 hours.
Recommended reading for ARE Exam 5, Project Development and Documentation
|Architectural Graphic Standards||Any information on walls or details||$15/month|
|IBC||Chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 29||$0|
|ADA||Basics of circulation clearances, reaching clearances, ramp requirements, etc.||$0|
|Sample Construction Documents||Not really a resource, but you need to practice using them||$0|
|ARE Handbook||Project Development and Documentation||$0|
You should take this exam after you’ve studied for exam 4. Assuming you have, this exam costs $15/month to study for, assuming you subscribe to Wiley’s strange monthly subscription for AGS. The rest is free. It’ll take around 35 hours to study for.
If you haven’t taken exam 4, you might as well study for them both together, as they’re not well differentiated. So, it’ll take $105 to study for, and take around 80 hours.
Recommended reading for ARE Exam 6, Construction and Evaluation
|AHPP||9 and 10||$0|
|SHL||B201 and A201||$0|
|Hammer and Hand||Wall sections, Envelopes, Moisture Proofing||$0|
Assuming you’ve already bought the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, all the resources together should be free! Huzzah!
It’ll take about 10 hours to study for.
All together, if you go the “recommended resources route”, it’ll cost about $400 and take about 150 hours of studying.
Alternatively, you could spend a bit less time studying and save yourself about $300 if you buy my Guide to the Overwhelmed series.
What should your next steps be?
First, sign up for my free email course! I’ll tell you exactly which topics and facts the ARE Exams love to test, tips and guidance on each exam, and a 10% off coupon on my Guide.
Second, get to studying! No time to start like the present.