Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ARE Update: Study Sessions

On Saturday, I attended my first Architecture Registration Exam study session hosted by AIA.  I've been looking forward to it for a while, especially since I missed the sessions last year.  I didn't know the area that well, so I arrived 30 minutes early and waited outside the meeting room in the library as the hosts set up the room.  There were a variety of ages and we all were at different stages of our life: interns, business owners, and registered Architects.  My co-worker couldn't make the study session, so there were no familiar faces out of the 13 people in the room.  After I found my seat, a guy asked if he could sit beside me and I said "sure."  This guy looked EXACTLY like my classmate from college.  Even though I didn't know him, it made me feel like I knew someone.

Then the meeting began.  Some of the information was very familiar and they went over the sections that we requested, but here was a couple of things that stood out for me:
  • Having problems starting an exam? "Start and don't look back.  Schedule your exam now.  This will pressure you into studying."  I guess I have to take the plunge and do that!
  • Try taking the Construction Document exam first because it is the easiest and Structures and Building Systems last.  Greatest plan ever!
  • Don't know which study material to use?  Try these:
    • Kaplan - Great for practice tests.
    • Ballast - Goes into detail.  Buy the ARE Review Manual
    • Nalsa - Great for vignettes, AREvaluation and flashcards (Archiflash)
    • Review books from college.
    • ARE Forums
They passed out the study material from the local AIA office and the guy beside me (known as "T") showed me the exam he had already taken and told me how he though he did.  The more he spoke, the more he reminded me of my classmate.  At the end, the hosts told us about more AIA hosted study groups, causing "T" and I to go into a discussion:  There were no study groups in the Atlanta area!  Yes there are paid study sessions through AIA, but those only happen a couple times a year.  While we continued to discuss this dilemma, the host overheard us and said that they could help us organize it.  That's when our gears turned.  A minor discussion turned into a business plan.  We left the library and continued our discussion at a local McDonalds.  We properly introduced ourselves and I found out I was networking with a business owner and a board member of another Architecture organization.  Within an hour, we figured out how to host a bi-weekly 2 hour event.  Our next goal is to get sponsors for the group.  Because of his business know how, this will help our little group grow.

Our first study session starts later this month on 5/18.  I can't believe I'm finally taking action on my future and possibly helping others do the same!  Wish us luck!

PSA: If you are studying for the ARE and live in the Atlanta area, you can join us!  Contact me and I will send you the link to our Meetup group :-).

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