Amber Book Review – Visual Learning for the ARE – A Video Tour 

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youtube Amber Book Review - Visual Learning for the ARE - A Video Tour  Architect Exam

***Click here to learn more about the exclusive Young Architect Amber Book Discount. This YA discount is $20/month cheaper then if you organized your own group discount.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent time reviewing this video course. I found it to be exceptional and up-to-date, and I wish these videos had been available when I was working my way through the exams.

The Amber Book includes a beautiful, professionally produced, and unexpectedly fun video course, which includes a 375-page illustrated workbook with 99 practice questions. The hard copy will be mailed to you, and is included in the tuition. The program covers all six ARE 5.0 divisions. 

The premise of this course is that architects are visual learners. More looking at pictures, less watching people talk. It feels like a college class taught by a really good professor—if that course was dedicated to helping you pass the ARE.

I personally used and loved reading The Amber Book when I was studying. But back in 2013, it was just a hard-copy book and 4 YouTube videos. (There wasn’t yet an online course.) Since then, The Amber Book has grown to become a POWERFUL force for preparing ARE Candidates to pass their exams. 

Even though it’s called The Amber Book, (and technically, it does include a book), it’s really an amazing set of videos that will help you pass the ARE.  I’ve never heard anyone speak poorly of The Amber Book and say, “…It isn’t worth it.” 

Professor Michael Ermann 

ermann Amber Book Review - Visual Learning for the ARE - A Video Tour  Architect Exam
Professor Ermann swinging around a wet bulb thermometer. 

Michael Ermann has been a Professor of Architecture at Virginia Tech since 2001, and he’s a good friend of Young Architect. In 2017, I interviewed him on The Young Architect podcast about Teaching the Future of the Architecture Profession.

The Videos

Unlike all other ARE Prep Providers, Michael Ermann uses TONS of graphics, diagrams, and animation to help teach the content of the ARE.  

While writing this blogpost and watching many of the videos, I’ve decided it would be easier to show you exactly what I’m talking about. So I’ve recorded this quick tour of The Amber Book: 

Pros and Cons


  • It’s solid content. The videos are highly visual, animated, and heavily produced, but most importantly they distill complex topics into simple explanations.
  • It’s funny. This course has a big, dry sense of humor that’s funnier than all other ARE Prep Providers.
  • It has LOTS OF ANALOGIES.  As visual learners, it speaks to us in ways we understand. It’s like Ermann has a magical ability to effectively communicate with ARE candidates!


  • I disagree with people who say The Amber Book is all you need to study for every exam.” While I do agree that this product is extremely valuable for EVERY ARE 5.0, I believe all ARE products and topics should be cross referenced rather than considered a “one-stop shop”. This con is more of philosophical disagreement than a criticism.
  • It’s all or nothing. Unlike some training platforms, you cannot cherry pick targeted content for specific topics, but instead, you are forced to subscribe to get the entire library because of how Amber Book interweaves its content.
  • The signup process is annoying.  If you sign up with a group of 6 friends. the cost of The Amber Book drops to half-price. To make this easier for you to do, Young Architect wants to help you find your group members (more on this below).

The Investment

This course is more expensive than most, but those who have completed this program praise its value and gush about it. The cost is $390 a month for individuals, and $240 a month per person for groups of six or more when enrolled through Young Architect.

We can help you find your group of six (for more affordable monthly tuition), you can email who will help you connect and organize with other people looking for partners. If you are interested in an additional discount when you email Destiny ask for the Michael Riscica Discount and Amber Book will discount your purchase an additional $20 per month bringing the cost to $220 per month. 

Students enrolled in groups still pay separately and don’t have to start or stop at the same time. 

The average length of time it takes to complete the course is two months, although it can be completed in one month if you hustle. 

To learn more, Visit The Amber Book Website



Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, Founder and Head Coach of the ARE Boot Camp Coaching Program & Online Study Group.

Hi I’m Michael Riscica.

My goal is to help as many people as I can (at a variety of price points) PASS their exams and succeed in their architecture careers.

This is accomplished with the following offerings:

Free FB group that is 16k+ members strong
Low-cost, high-value upcoming webinar
Affordable and Quality ARE Study materials
Professional Development and Powerful Networking
Premium 10-week ARE study program