Wednesday, June 5, 2013

ARE Update: Chela's Study Guide for the CDS

My first portion out of seven for the Architect Registration Exam is officially in 3 weeks.  To stay focus and not become overwelmed, I have come up with different ways to study for a month.  It has worked for myself and my study group so far and and hopefully it shows on the Construction Document and Services exam

Weekdays: Monday - Friday (Multiple choice questions)
  1. Study two hours a day using a combination of study material.
    1. This allows me to still function as a wife, friend and family member to others.
  2. Listen to Schiff Hardin's lectures on the AIA contracts during work.
  3. Study with the ARE study group on Wednesdays via Google Hangout.
Study Material for the multiple choice questions:
  1. Ballast ARE Manual
  2. Ballast Flashcards
  3. AIA Contracts
  4. Jenny's Notes (Great for specifications, Insurance, bonds, and fees)
  5. Schiff Hardin Lectures (Great for AIA contracts)
  6. FTP Sites:
    1. AREForum FTP Site (Download EVERYTHING but here are a few that summarizes everything on the CDS)
      1. Caroline Joseph's Notes
      2. Rich's Notes
    2. Breakdown of AREForum FTP Site (Codes and all sections of the ARE)
    3. Second FTP Site
    4. Third FTP Site
Weekends: Saturday and Sunday (Vignettes)
  1. Study four hours a day using a combination of study material.
  2. Study with the ARE study group on Saturdays.
Study Material for the vignettes:
  1. NCARB practice programs
  2. Ballast ARE Manual
  3. Kaplan Practice Vignettes
  4. AREForum FTP Site (Download EVERYTHING)
    1. The AREForum!  Post your answers of the Practice exam and they will let you know your errors.
Two weeks before the exam:
  1. Practice both the multiple choice questions and the vignettes timed.
  2. For the vignettes, use NALSA or the AREforum to receive comments.
  3. Continue to study.
Study Material for the timed exams:
  1. Kaplan practice questions
  2. NCARB practice questions
  3. Kaplan Practice Vignettes
  4. NCARB practice programs
One day before the exam:
  1. Stop studying, relax and get a good night's sleep.  I didn't do this for the SATs and over studied. My Mom had to take my study material away from me.
  2. Show up 30 minutes early to the testing site and pray. Standardized and timed exams make me nervous.  I have to calm down a lot to focus.
  3. In the words of my 5 year old cousin-in-law while playing a questions game: "GO WITH YOUR FIRST CHOICE!"
Thank you to Life of an Architect and the AREforum for the tips!  Tonight, my study group is meeting on Google Hangout to study! 

PSA: If you are currently studying for the Construction Document and Services portion of the ARE, join us on Google Hangout every Wednesday!   Go to my Contact page and send me a message and we will invite you!

How do you study for exams?  What methods work for you?


  1. Sounds like you have a great plan of attack Chela, best of luck on CDS and wishing you much success on all seven exams. cheers!

    1. Thanks Jenny for the well wishes and the study guides :-). And congrats on passing your Building Systems exam!


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