ARE Resources: Building Systems

Preparation is essential to passing the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®). Understanding what content is assessed on the exam, and knowing how to use the vignette software, will make you more confident on test day. We’ve developed several resources to help you prepare for Structural Systems (SS). Each resource is listed below, with a sneak peek at what you’ll find inside. Best of luck with your endeavors!

BS Exam Guide: The Big Picture

Download the Building Systems Exam Guide [PDF] 

  • This division includes many content areas, but they all have one thing in common: they’re systems often designed by an architect’s consultants, but they have a tremendous impact on the overall building design. Review the list within the exam guide, and determine your strengths and weaknesses so you can better focus your studies.
  • Some vignettes focus on one big concept—not so with Mechanical & Electrical Plan. Here, you will need to demonstrate your competence in several related fields: architectural design, lighting layout, mechanical systems, structural systems, and fire safety. Read through the program carefully to be sure you’ve met all requirements.

Practice Program: Practice, Practice, Practice

Download the BS Practice Program [EXE]

You’ll need to place quite a few objects in the Mechanical & Electrical Plan vignette, and they’ll all need to coordinate with each other and the underlying plan. Be sure you know how to place all components and adjust them to coordinate with each other. Already being comfortable with how the software functions before test day means you can focus on solving the vignette and not trying to learn the software. 

Available Resources: No Need to Memorize

Download the BS References Available During the Test [PDF] 

Within the multiple-choice section, you’ll be provided with various electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and acoustic formulas. Review the information ahead of time, so you’ll know where to find the information needed during your test.

BS Prep Videos: Pulling It All Together

  • How much does an architect need to know about mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems? Listen to sample questions and the explanations to learn why options are either correct or incorrect and to get a better understanding of what’s important to the practice of architecture.
  • What’s the most critical part of your Mechanical & Electrical Plan vignette? Placing ceiling grids in every occupied space. If you omit any grids, your solution can’t be scored.

ARE Community: Join the Conversation

Lots of people are studying, so why not study together? Ask questions, post comments, and learn from each other on the ARE 4.0 Community. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that the accuracy of comments will be vetted by NCARB staff. We’re there to help you, so join us!