You’re about to embark on the ARE journey…and you’re wondering where to begin.
You may be asking yourself: “Does it matter what order I take the exams in? Is one test easier than all the rest? How much overlap is there in information?”
There are 6 exams in total:
Programming & Analysis
Project Planning and Design
Project Development and Documentation
Construction & Evaluation
Practice management focuses on all things related to running a firm; everything from insurance to contracts to time management of staff.
Project Management focuses on actually managing projects; from contracts and resource management to project execution and quality control.
Programming and Analysis focuses on the programming and pre-design phases of a project; from site analysis, zoning, and code requirements to feasibility reports, programming, and budgets.
Project Planning and Design focuses on the project during a schematic design phase; from selecting the structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems that are best for the project to costs, codes, and environmental design.
Project Development and Documentation takes the project into a construction documents phase; from constructability and integration of building systems to material selection and appropriately documenting assemblies.
And finally, construction and evaluation focuses on the actual building phase, where the architect’s role really lies in construction administration. This covers everything from bidding and negotiation to construction observation, payment and project closeout.
While there’s no “right or wrong” order to take the exams, we believe there is a more strategic order to maximize your studying time and get it done efficiently.
There is a lot of definite overlap in information for several of the tests.
We feel that studying the information for two or more tests at time and then taking them back to back can give you the best results and cut down on your study time.
So, in terms of test groupings, we would say study for Practice Management, Project Management, and Construction & Evaluation together since they all contain an overlap in material. You will find each test may be asking questions from a different perspective, but the information you have to know could be covered in all three.
Next, we would cover Project Planning and Design and Project Development and Documentation together. These two cover a ton of the same information.
These two are your heavy-lifting tests. They cover all of your technical material, such as structures, building systems (ie: HVAC, plumbing and electrical), building materials, and how assemblies come together, just to name a few topics.
If you can study for these two together and knock them out back-to-back you will really be using your time efficiently. You will even notice that our full-length practice exams bundle these two tests together, since there is just so much overlap. There are two 120 question exams –Volume 1 and Volume 2- that can help you in your studies for either test.
Finally, Programming and Analysis really seems to be the stand alone test. While that’s not to say that bits of information from other exams won’t ever make their way into questions on this exam, there isn’t quite as much obvious overlap with this one.
As we said, there’s no right or wrong order when it comes to these exams. At the end of the day, you have to take the path that works best for you. However, we feel that these groupings might help you in the long run.