Can AREs Be a Positive Experience?

Let me answer that right away: Yes, you can turn your ARE experience into something positive. It’s all about your approach from the beginning.

Over time, I’ve had countless one-on-one exchanges with ARE takers, gathering valuable insights into their study strategies and success stories. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, I believe that my approach to the AREs is one that works. So, let me share with you the key principles of my method:

1. Consistent Daily Study: Dedicate 1.5 to 3 hours of focused study each day. Consistency is key to retaining knowledge and building a strong foundation.

2. Start with NCARB’s Reference Matrix: Begin by reading the books recommended by NCARB and complement your reading with a multitude of practice questions. This sets a strong foundation for your studies.

3. Use Third-Party Resources: Don’t limit yourself to NCARB’s materials; use third-party resources to supplement your studies and gain different perspectives.

4. Set Realistic Expectations: Understand that success in the AREs takes time, and it’s normal to encounter failures along the way. Don’t set rigid deadlines; instead, study at your own pace for each exam.

5. Avoid Comparison: Everyone’s journey is unique, so don’t compare yourself to others. Your background and experience levels are different, and that’s perfectly okay.

6. Be Skeptical of Unrealistic Stories: Don’t fall for the too-good-to-be-true success stories you might come across on social media. Trust in a well-thought-out, consistent approach rather than shortcuts.

Setting the right expectations from the start is crucial. It helps you navigate the challenges of the AREs with fewer headaches and heartbreaks. When you know what to expect, recovering from a failure becomes much easier. Restoring your self-esteem, believing in the process, and staying motivated become manageable tasks when you have the right tools and a comprehensive understanding of the journey.

Let me share a success story that exemplifies the power of this method. I received an email from an individual who quietly followed my advice, never reaching out until after passing all their exams. Despite facing skepticism from coworkers who questioned the intensity of their studies, this individual persevered and succeeded. Their fear of failure drove them to follow my suggestions, much like my own experience. This person diligently read the recommended books, solved hundreds of practice questions, and maintained a regular study routine. While they did experience a setback, it no longer seemed as daunting because they knew how to bounce back. The key takeaway here is that success is achievable with the right mindset and approach.

Now, you might be wondering about the buts and doubts that often arise when discussing this method:

  • “But I don’t have time to read all those books.”
  • “But I saw a post online about someone passing all exams in 2 days with no studying.”

Before succumbing to these doubts, consider this: I could easily recommend my own materials and tell you that you need only a book or two alongside my resources. You’d probably love that idea initially, and I’d make more money. However, I’m not here to deceive you. I understand the trauma of failing and the importance of genuine success.

I’m not claiming that this is the only method to pass the AREs. You are free to make your own decisions, as there are many opinions out there. But this is the method you’ll hear from me when you reach out. I won’t lie to make you feel better because I genuinely care about your success, not just about your money.

To turn your ARE experience into something positive, consider changing your perspective on reading. Yes, reading takes time, but why rush through a critical phase of your career? Impatience rarely leads to a better ARE experience. Instead, it’s more likely to lead to failure and frustration.

Think about it: Do you believe the average completion time of almost 3 years for the exams is because folks are spending years on reading? I don’t think so. It’s more about unrealistic expectations, which goes like this:

  1. Expecting to spend minimal effort, like some random guy who allegedly passed all 6 exams in 6 weeks or 6 months.
  2. Failing the first exam and quitting or pausing studying/testing for months, sometimes years.
  3. Returning with the same approach, albeit with some success.
  4. Realizing it won’t work and starting a deeper, more effective study journey.
  5. Finally passing the remaining exams and completing AREs after 2-3 years.

This process is one of the most common processes experienced by a lot of test takers, and I think this is why it takes about 3 years to complete AREs. So, why not start with an effective approach from the beginning?

Moreover, reading might not be as difficult or dull as you think. You had been doing it for at least 16 years throughout your education. Rediscover the joy of learning through reading. It’s a gift that can make you a better architect in the end.

To conclude, changing your perspective on reading and learning can transform your ARE experience into a positive journey. I wish someone had shared this wisdom with me when I began my own ARE journey. So, embrace the process, invest time in reading, and watch your career flourish. Success in the AREs is not about shortcuts but about building a strong foundation for your future as an architect.