The Best Time to Start Taking the ARE 5.0

A question that comes up a lot in the world of aspiring architects is “when should I start taking the ARE’s?”

You or a friend may have asked,
“Is it true that the more real world experience I have, the easier the test will be? Or is it better to take them right after school, since I’ll still be in ‘study-mode’?”

Whether you’ve only been out of school working for six months, or if you’ve been at it for 16 years…the answer to your question is start RIGHT NOW. 

Let’s face it – there will never be a perfect moment to take these tests. We get it…no one actually enjoys studying and testing. But you will continue to come up with excuse after excuse if you allow yourself to. 

“I’ll be ready to start when I finish this project…or after I work for one more year…or after I move…or once the summer is over…or after my spouse has more time at home.” 

The list can go on and on. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stop wherever you are RIGHT NOW and decide if you actually want to become a licensed architect. If the answer is yes, then start TODAY. 

Make sure you’re eligible to test in your NCARB account and then make a game plan for yourself to start studying!

You have nothing to lose! Okay, so you’ll lose a lot of free time temporarily. But the gains when you get your license will outweigh that so much more. 

Think of this process as an investment in yourself and your future. None of our futures are guaranteed. People lose their jobs every day, things happen and change. By investing in bettering yourself, you can take control of your career. 

You may say “but I don’t have enough experience”… or… “I’ve waited too long to start now”.

Wrong and wrong. 

Yes, real world experience is invaluable. But you will learn SO much from studying for these exams…more than you likely would in a year at an office. It will only help you grow faster. 

And yes, you may have been out of the “study” game for years…but that does not mean it’s too late to start now and accomplish this goal of yours. Wear your years of experience as a coat of arms, crack open those books, and go kick some ARE butt. 

Don’t let another year go by thinking to yourself, “I just wish I had my license”.

Go get it. Now. 

Want more tips on conquering the ARE?

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a step-by-step guide to pass the ARE faster!


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The best way to prepare for the ARE is with practice exams. Our online exams will get you test day ready!

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