Architectural Registration Exam

This post is part of a series on . Having recently completed this long process, the series examines my journey and the various things I learned along the way.

Failing the Architect Registration Exam

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So you failed the Architect Registration Exam??!?
What do you mean you failed your exam?!?!?!

After all that studying?!

NOW You’ll NEVER be an Architect!

You will be forever known as the office Intern.

I bet you didn’t know that NCARB publishes the names of everyone who failed the exam for the world to know… This is what happens to ARE Candidates who fail an ARE test section. Hope you had a second career to fall back on, or maybe we can just call you “The Draftsman with the fancy Architecture degree”.

OK, OK… I’m just kidding.
Calm down. None of this is true. I’m just teasing. I’m the oldest kid, don’t blame me. I had to do it.

Failing an exam actually isn’t as big of a deal as you may think. Take it from me, I feel sheepish (and probably shouldn’t) to admit this, but I failed the Architect Exam FOUR different times. Yep, one, two, three, four times. And here I am, still hanging around. Eventually I did pass them all and am now a Licensed Architect with my stamp in hand.

Why did you fail?

Failing your ARE could have happened for a number of really good reasons. Here’s a list of reasons that I noticed going on with my own fails and friends’ of mine.

Just Not Having It Together.

Maybe you gave yourself 5 weeks to study when you really needed 8. This is the #1 reason most people fail. Looking back, it’s the best reason to fail the exam.

I failed both Building Systems and Structural Systems because I just didn’t have a complete understanding of the material. I later went back and assassinated those exams.

You were Dead On Arrival

Site Planning and Design was my 3rd test. When I took it, I had a lot of momentum from CDS and PPP, so I studied my buns off. I mastered the vignettes inside and out. I memorized all types of Site planning data and information, and rocked all my practice exams. I felt great walking into that exam and was also proud of how hard I prepared for this test.

When I started the exam, many of the questions weren’t even slightly geared towards Site Planning and Design and if they were, they were outside of what I studied. I had several calculations that I wasn’t prepared for, and as I moved through the multiple choice questions, I was continually tagging them as WTF and to review later.

When I got to vignettes, they were the hardest I had ever seen. I had practiced on every version of the vignettes I could get my hands on and the vignettes on my exam were truly impossible to solve without making a fatal error. I had to choose the lessor of all the errors I was being forced to make. So I killed an extra tree.

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