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Friday, 14 August 2020


By Maggie Kirk, Associate AIA

The process of becoming an architect is not an easy one. According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), after 5.6 years of education, data shows that it takes about 4.6 years to satisfy the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) requirements needed to sit for the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). 

At that time, the average age of a candidate is around 33 years old. In addition to that, it takes an average of 2.2 years to complete all six divisions of the exam. One of the most common concerns I hear about the exams is that life is well underway when a candidate becomes eligible to sit for them. In addition to work obligations (the hours and demands of the profession), a candidate often has a busy personal life as well, typically with a young family. This can get discouraging when faced with the task of completing the exams and becoming a licensed architect. The question is: When is the best time to take the exams given the time needed to study, and the time needed to take—and potentially retake—the exams? My answer: There is none. 

Now, my answer is not meant to be discouraging but it is meant to demonstrate that there is no magic date or year in that definition of time. Consider my response setting an expectation. There is no missed boat because there just is no right time to take the exams and everyone’s situations and constraints are different. And that is OK. What works for one may often not work for all. 

Best Time to take ARE 5.0

So, before hands are thrown into the air and frustration ensues, let me offer this bit of advice. Understand that while there is no best time in terms of date or year, it takes dedication. The best ‘time’ is time well-spent. I recommend setting aside 2-3 hours per day to study, and sometimes more. It is not a sprint, but a marathon and should be a consistent practice. Any small breaks in studying could lead to bigger breaks and then studying can become sporadic. These study sessions should not only be reserved for reviewing the content of the division—third-party study material, recommended readings, flashcards, and practice exams—but should be a time of dedicated concentration. Distracted learning makes it difficult for the material to sink in. 

The best “time” is the time when your family and friends can support your journey. Often, the exam journey is not a solo expedition but involves the support of others. If the situation cannot lend that support, maybe it is not the best time to start. However, once started, the best “time” is completing the exams within the five years of the rolling clock so that exams aren’t at risk of expiring. 

So, while there is no magic formula, understand that it takes the journey of ourselves and those closest to us. When everyone's on board, then that is the best time. 

EduMind offers exam prep for all six divisions of the ARE 5.0. Click here to learn more about our comprehensive review courses and select the format that best suits your needs.

EduMind Inc at 06:31

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