ARE 5.0

Hi all. I have 6 years of professional practice and two Arch. degrees, looking to take the exams. If you were to distill all the information into one efficient book/ resource for passing all exams in 3-6 months, what would you recommend? One source only..

Mar 13, 18 1:42 pm

No offense but with six years of experience and two degrees I think you'd understand the absurdity of your question. 

Ballast guides are a good start. But if you study one source all you're going to learn is how to pass their practice exams.

Mar 13, 18 2:02 pm

I knew I could rely on Archinect to provide cynicism. In an effort to distill a much broader topic the intent was simplicity in a humble approach, coming for advice, but it remains clear my independence is most valuable. Thanks for your time, tduds. The name says it all.

Mar 13, 18 2:06 pm

You won't get the answer you want because you're asking the wrong question. I'm not cynical, just realistic. I finished 4.0 a month ago and I can say for a fact there's no way I would have passed *any* of them, let alone all 7, had I only read one book.

Each exam has its own set of relevant material, and some of those have been well-distilled into study guides. Even then, I wouldn't recommend relying on a single study guide as they all make editorial choices that value certain information more highly than other. Then there's the fact that the material varies across exams and so the set of study material also varies. The stuff you'll need to know for Practice Managment is wildly different from what you'll need to know for Construction.

In your quest for "simplicity" you're risking going into your exams with blind spots that put you at risk of failure.

Sorry if I'm being harsh, but let it serve as a warning that and shortcuts you take now increase the odds that you'll spend more time failing later. It's the rest of your life, put in the damn effort.

Mar 13, 18 2:18 pm

The most helpful study guide I had was my work experience. As long as you haven't been stuck in a silo for 6 years and actually used the AXP to get real, worthwhile experience, that's going to get you farther than any study guide.

That said, the study guides are always illuminating, even if only to show you how the firms you worked for did it differently (wrong?).

Mar 13, 18 2:22 pm

++ The amount of shit I had to un-learn about CA to pass the test was, well, illuminating.


There's also a ton of stuff in the study guides that you may have never come across if you only work in residential for example.  And different material you'd probably be unfamiliar with if you only work on schools and have never built a house.  It's pretty wide-ranging.

Totally agree on the importance of experience for these.

Tinbeary There there

++ experience got me through too


They made the ARE out of stuff from multiple books, so you will have to buy/borrow/steal multiple books to prepare.  Sorry.

Mar 13, 18 2:22 pm

As someone who has somewhat recently finished exams, I have to say that there isn't a good one-stop-shop available that covers all of the exam material.  You can start with Kaplan or Ballast, but even those fall short on some exams but excel with others.  NCARB provides a list of resources at the back of their 5.0 Guidelines handbook.  ALL of the material from those resources are fair game.  I know it's so much legwork to go through all of that info, but some of the exam questions are VERBATIM from these sources.  

Mar 13, 18 2:23 pm

It's almost as if it's some sort of scam. Almost.


HA it's like you read my mind.

Once I figured out to actually study ALL of the resources listed, every test became significantly easier.


I literally had exam questions taken directly from, ballast, kaplan, archifalsh, arch graphic's and bldg construction illustrated, even had exact image and all from archiflash

Tinbeary There there

Reiterating here. There is no one single source that will get you through. Use the source materials NCARB lists. If you insist on looking at one book only for whatever reason, pick the Architect's Handbook of Pro Practice. But don't expect to pass by reading one book. 

Mar 13, 18 2:37 pm


Mar 13, 18 2:51 pm
Smile of Fury

Agree with everyone above, but if you need ONE book:

- If you're good on practice management stuff get Arch. Graphic Standards
- If you're good on construction get Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice
- If you're looking for the least possible $$$ amount get Ching Building Construction Illustrated
- If you're looking for a little bit of structures, code, MEP and site planning stuff get Architect's Studio Companion

Good luck. I predict with this approach you'll be back soon complaining about how the tests are BS.

Mar 14, 18 10:12 am

" I predict with this approach you'll be back soon complaining about how the tests are BS." ha LOL!!!!


one book, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! best joke all day! imho the most helpful single source is ballast.

The leanest source's imho would be:

- Ballast

- Ching Building construction illustrated

- Arch graphics

- Architects handbook of propractice

and understanding test taking. Also I would factor in 12-18 months to pass A.R.E., 3-6 months is a bit unrealistic (especially if you have a fam. or work full time and involved in other activities). also you can become more efficient if you take exams that overlap more like project management and practice management, program analysis and ppd, ce & pdd.

good luck to you

Mar 14, 18 11:04 am

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