ARE Live: When and Where Did You Study?

Marc Teer

August 05, 2016

ARE Live: When and Where Did You Study?

Find your own version of camping.  

In this episode of the ARE Live, Black Spectacles founder Marc Teer and AIA ARE Prep instructor, Mike Newman, were joined by newly licensed architects: Allison Conley from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Amanda Snelson from ZGF Architects, Kyle Richardson from Folonis Architects, and Ben Edwards from FFKR Architects.

They each discussed how they passed the ARE and ultimately got licensed. Learn about their study strategies, what order they took the exams, what resources they used, and their personal advice for anybody looking to take the exam.

Watch the entire episode here:
Yoga, Cocktails, and Popsicles: How they Passed the ARE

Mike: When and where do you make time to study? So this is getting down to the nitty-gritty. You're making a plan. Did it work doing it on the commute? Does that work or did you always leave work at 6:00 or 5:00 or something so you'd have some time at night? How did you make it work?

Kyle: I'll talk about my most recent experience studying for the CSC, where it was really just finding the time to do it. The most successful for me was going to bed at 9:45 every night so I could wake up at 5:30 every morning well-rested, where I found out I was most successful in retaining the information at that time of day. Most days it is I get home from work, I'm exhausted. I need to relax. My head, it's not retaining the information, and it's not a good time for me to study, but there's really going to bed early every night that made me find the time to get that studying done.

Mike: And there's something amazing by getting up at 5:30, studying for a couple of hours. At 7:30, you take a shower to go to work. You've already got a successful day already. It's very empowering if you can make yourself do that.

Marc: And I just want to mention along similar lines, so one of the other folks who we interviewed as a result of the 7in7 campaign, she didn't fare as well as she had hoped on most of the exams, and it was interesting. As we were talking, she was telling me that she would study day after day after day, and then she was taking seven exams consecutively. So what she said she would do is she would take the exam, come home, and then she would stay up until 1 o'clock in the morning studying, go to bed, wake up at 5:30, study for an hour or two more, and then go take the exam, And she said she felt like a number of the mistakes that she made when she looks back, she felt like, "Gee, those are dummy mistakes. I shouldn't have made those mistakes." And as we were talking about it, she attributed it to, as you just said, not getting enough sleep, which sounds simple, but this is important.

Mike: You have to figure that out for yourself, what's enough sleep for you. But just being conscious and making a serious choice about it.

Allison: I agree with Kyle that it's really hard to keep yourself up late at night studying and retain all the information, but I'm not an early bird either. So I would study in the morning on my commute, and then when it was time to cram maybe a week or two before the exams, I would study anywhere. I would study during lunch. Maybe at a coffee shop or at home after work, in the evenings, and then I just spend the entire weekend studying. It didn't really matter where at that point as long as I have the book or the resource in my hand.

Mike: And was there a difference in what you did on a commute compared to what you did on the weekends? Or was it all the same?

Allison: Actually, the last three exams, I bought a tablet and that was probably the best thing I did for studying. I could read all my resources, highlight them, put and back forth. It probably seems old-fashioned. I had just bought a tablet recently, but it was often. It really changed everything for me, and I could access, look things up on the Internet right there. And we have most of our books in the office that usually has PDF, and if some of them aren't PDF, we have someone here who scan it. So I had everything essentially and that really did change my study habits towards the end, which I'd recommend.

Amanda: Usually I would study for 30 minutes to an hour in the morning before work. I would make sure I would get up with enough time and eat my breakfast while reading a chapter or two, and then I would study again after getting home from work, maybe an hour or so worth, and then do a large chunk of studying on the weekend. And I did most, everything analog, but sometimes early on whenever I was studying for the first few tests, I had a long commute, and so I found some audio files of a lecture series on the contracts and the legal requirements. So that really helped to be able to study while I was driving because otherwise you can't read and drive, obviously. I don't recommend it.

Mike: We're definitely not officially recommending that, yes.

Amanda: So, yeah, finding some audio resources was really beneficial, and then I would also, on the weekends, I would often go outside, go to a park, going camping was actually a really great way of getting away, but bringing my study materials, and then there's not much you can do camping. You can't get sidetracked by Facebook or other things like that on the Internet. So that was a great way for me to focus, as I felt like I was getting sidetracked and not able to stay on track.

Mike: It's interesting. Everybody will have their version of camping. It's fun when I hear you say camping, but it might be, as Marc said, going to the library or it might be. I remember when I had was doing a similar kind of thing, it wasn't the specific thing, but I was doing similar sort of thing. I went to my in-laws’ old farm house, and I just took over the farm house for a week, and laid all by books out on the giant farmhouse table and just took it over, and I was away from everything. The phone barely worked out there, all of that. So what is your version camping? That's, I think, the question that people should take from that.

Watch the video here:

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