ARE Resources: Programming, Planning & Practice


Preparation is essential to passing the 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 Programming, Planning & Practice (PPP). Each resource is listed below, with a sneak peek at what you’ll find inside. Best of luck with your endeavors! 

PPP Exam Guide: The Big Picture

Download the Programming, Planning & Practice Exam Guide [PDF]

  • Candidates often refer to PPP as the “catch-all” division. But a careful read of the content area descriptions in the exam guide provide clarity on what’s really covered. Yes, several divisions include questions on environmental issues, but the questions in PPP focus on issues that must be considered during the early conceptual phase of a building project.
  • A typical zoning ordinance defines the maximum allowable envelope for a building project—it doesn’t offer options. Likewise, the Site Zoning vignette has only one right answer. Read through the program requirements carefully, and be sure your site plan and site section are fully coordinated. 

Practice Program: Practice, Practice, Practice

Download the PPP Practice Program [EXE] 

You only need to draw seven elements in the Site Zoning vignette. Seems simple, right? Nevertheless, take the time to practice, especially using the sketch tools. They’re not graded, but they’ll be a big help in drawing the correct solution. 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. 

AIA Documents: All About Risk Management

Standard contract language can be overwhelming, but rest assured, the test questions don’t require you to memorize the contracts. Review the most commonly used contracts first: A101, A201, B101, and C401. Although the AIA contracts are copyrighted and typically must be purchased from AIA, they are available free of charge from AIA to ARE candidates with open eligibilities for the purpose of studying. 

Access them by logging into your NCARB Record and, under “Quick Links,” click on “Construction Documents & Services Resources From AIA.” The contracts are most often used by candidates preparing for CDS, but they’re helpful in studying for PPP as well.

PPP Prep Videos: Pulling It All Together

  • Still wondering what’s covered in this division? Listen to sample questions from a range of content areas, and gain a better understanding of where you’ll need to focus your studies.
  • The most critical part of your Site Zoning vignette solution? Draw all required elements. How you draw them is scored through other features of the scoring engine, but if you forget a required element, your solution can’t be scored at all.

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!