done with the ARE...my observations
I just got my seventh pass letter today, so I am finally done with the ARE. I still have about ten months of IDP hours to accumulate before I can obtain my license, though.
Here's the order in which I took the tests - an order which worked very well for me. If I was starting over, I'd take them in the same order. YMMV, of course.
- CDS. It's a good one to start with, because it doesn't include much material from other divisions, whereas many other divisions do expect you to know about contracts. The vignette is not too difficult.
- PPP. Most of the material overlaps with CDS and PPP.
- SD. This one could really be taken at any time in the sequence, but I think it helps to have prior experience with the vignettes.
- BS. Unfortunately, I failed the vignette the first time I took it.
- BDCS. By far the broadest in terms of subject matter. You definitely need to know material from all the other divisions.
- BS. (retest)
It took me about 15 months to get through the exam, counting from when I started studying to when I retook BS. It's certainly feasible to do it faster; I took a seven-month break between BS and BDCS. So one division per month is quite possible.
My primary study materials consisted of Ballast, Archiflash, the Schiff-Hardin lectures (for CDS and PPP), the ADA standards, Frank Ching's Building Construction Illustrated (for BS and BDCS), and Dorff. However, I used additional study materials for each division. I don't think it is realistic to expect that a single study guide will be sufficient, unless you have a lot of professional experience with commercial projects. (I work for a residential firm and was disappointed that the ARE almost entirely neglects residential work.)
Good luck to everyone taking the ARE! Remember that the hardest part is scheduling the first test. Once you take the first division, you'll discover that it is not quite as difficult as you had been led to believe.
congrats, and bravo for your success which is especially impressive since you said you haven't yet completed your IDP experience. I'm sure you'll do well in your career.
Goal well achieved!
Happy to report that I just passed all divisions as well, so I'm celebrating here with you! Cheers!!!
Thanks, everyone, and congratulations to you too, 4pnut!