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Learn How to Realistically Complete
The Architect Exam,
While Working A Full-Time Job.

The ARE doesn’t have to be the daunting exhaustive process you think it is.

Of all the people I’ve known who’ve wanted to become Licensed Architects, almost none of them ever actually finished the process. All of them are smart, talented, excellent designers, but after college, everyone got busy. For many, the frustrations and commitment of the Architecture Registration Exam (ARE) convinced them either to never get started or give up before they ever got close to the halfway point.

I even came very close to just abandoning the whole damn thing when I was more than halfway there—because I was frustrated and didn’t think I could pass the Structures exam.

After I changed how I thought about the exam and started to really focus on how I was studying, I became unstuck. Then I started to make massive progress. With the right mindset about learning how to effectively study, the ARE doesn’t have to be a multiyear, painful experience.

I want to prevent you from having the ARE experience I had.

How To Pass The Architecture Registration Exam puts a very real (and human) spin on the exam process. I found it to be extremely entertaining, motivational, and informative all at the same time.

Michael’s path and attitude remind me much of my own. I found a lot of things that I myself have said (sometimes repeatedly) to interns in my AIA chapter—with a great deal of fresh perspective that I had never considered.

Sean Sheffler 
ARE Counselor for AIA Pittsburgh

Get Clear Before You Start Studying

Like many others, I had no idea what I was getting into when I started studying for the ARE. How To Pass The ARE is written to give you a very broad overview of what to expect, while also providing very actionable steps to get you started. It shares a variety of studying techniques to help you understand how to tailor your studying and better prepare you for the exam.

Time Is Your Most Valuable Resource

When I started the ARE’s, I borrowed books from the library, friends, and my AIA office, and I spent many hours learning things about the ARE that didn’t directly translate into actual studying. Fast forward three years: I became extremely frustrated that I hadn’t completed the ARE and was starting to see opportunities pass me by because I wasn’t a Licensed Architect.

Time became much more important to me than anything else. I bought every book and took advantage of every resource that would help shorten the time it took to complete the ARE.

How to Pass The ARE shares all of the studying techniques and mindsets I adopted and the tips and tricks I learned, which accelerated the time it took me to study for my exams.

Courtney R.

“I just wanted to tell you I just passed my first exam, and I couldn’t have done it without your blog and book. I’ve always been such a bad test taker, and I never thought I could actually pass one of these tests. I just wanted to say thank you!” 


I think this book serves as a quintessential guide for anyone wanting to get started with the ARE. I also believe that candidates or professionals who have been having a hard time with taking the ARE can benefit from the positivity and the information in this book. I am glad I started my studying with How To Pass The Architecture Registration Exam.

Shannon S.

I have been procrastinating taking this exam for several years. Being a single mother, I never thought I would be able to complete the ARE. After reading your book, I feel very informed about what is expected and know what I need to do to complete the process. I am very excited to take my first test in two weeks. 

Learn How To Overcome All The Common Challenges of The ARE?!???

Here are some common concerns I have heard about the licensing process from architecture school graduates:

“The Huge Learning Curve.”

For anyone who starts taking the ARE, there is a huge learning curve and a never-ending list of things to figure out. Those topics could be:

  • Learning how to use the NCARB vignette software.
  • Understanding how to effectively study.
  • Finding a good place to study.
  • Making sense of all the ARE study materials.
  • Researching what order to take the 7 exams in.
  • Figuring out how to use the forum effectively.
  • Setting up a realistic schedule and expectations for yourself.
  • Creating good beliefs around study and the exam.

How to Pass The ARE helps you sort all these topics out so you can effectively hit the ground running and make fast progress from day 1.

 “A Self-Guided Architecture Exam”

I truly believe the hardest part of the ARE is the fact that it is a self-guided test-taking process. You study at your own pace and schedule the exams when you are ready to take them. Up to this point, most ARE candidates have never committed themselves to anything like this.

During architecture school, there are professors, deadlines, and processes that you move through the program. Architecture students create a community, work together, and feed off each other’s energy. Architecture offices are also historically very collaborative environments.

If you stopped showing up at school or work people will definitely notice. If you stopped showing up for the ARE, no one notices. In fact, your friends and family will be happy because your studying was taking you away from them enjoying your company.

“I am not smart or disciplined enough for this test.”

Oh, Shut Up!
If you are eligible to take this exam you have already passed the smart test (aka the prerequisites) of being able to complete the ARE.

Not being disciplined is a very valid concern. Often the more creative people are the ones who struggle the most with discipline and distraction. Showing up to study is can be a harder task then actually studying.

The good news is that discipline isn’t something you are born with. It is grown and cultivated over a period of time and ALWAYS begins with baby steps. A big part off being successful with the ARE is learning how to baby step your way through all the studying to completion of all your exams. 

About The Author

Hey, I’m Michael Riscica a Young (Licensed) Architect living in Portland, Oregon. I graduated architecture school from The New York Institute of Technology in 2007 and at the end of 2013 I obtained my Architect License. I recently started my own architecture practice here in Portland, after many years of working for small firms.

In January 2014 I started writing a blog at YoungArchitect.com for Architecture Students, ARE Candidates and Young Professionals working in the profession. I have written several blog posts about the Architecture Registration Exam and even host a virtual ARE study group called the ARE Boot Camp.

You can follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Linked In. Feel free to say hi and let me know where you live. I’m constantly traveling around the country.

Young Architect has been featured by:

What’s Inside The Book?

Over 120 pages, How to Pass the Architecture Registration Exam takes a very thorough look at the following topics:

    • What the ARE is and how to wrap your head around it.
    • Is taking the ARE even right for you? How to use all the study material.
    • Dealing with failure.
    • How to mentally think about the ARE.
    • Understanding how you learn.
    • How to break down multiple choice questions.
    • Things to consider on testing day.
    • How to survive the long-haul commitment of getting through 7 exams.
    • Finishing the process and becoming licensed.

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