ARE Resources: Structural 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!

SS Exam Guide: The Big Picture

Download the Structural Systems Exam Guide [PDF] 

  • A lot of material is covered in this division. But don’t let that make you nervous. Just be sure you understand how each aspect of structural design impacts overall building design, systems selection, construction details, and building codes.
  • There are several valid approaches to the Structural Layout vignette, and one of the first questions you’ll need to answer is whether your design will use load-bearing walls, columns, or both. Either way, your solution will need to be efficient and fully supported. Review the sample failing solution for examples of common mistakes in both these areas.

Practice Program: Practice, Practice, Practice

Download the SS Practice Program [EXE]

Make sure you’re comfortable with how to accurately place each element in the Structural Layout vignette. Learn how to efficiently draw and adjust the various components of the framing plan, and how to switch between the two levels of the plan. 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 SS References Available During the Test [PDF] 

Within the multiple-choice section, you’ll be provided with various beam diagrams, formulas, and properties of common structural components. Review the information ahead of time, so you’ll know where to find the information needed during your test.

SS Prep Videos: Pulling It All Together

  • You don’t need to be a structural engineer to pass the test. To get a better understanding of the types of information you’ll need to know, listen to the sample questions and the explanations as to why options are either correct or incorrect.
  • The most critical parts of your Structural Layout vignette? Don’t include any cantilevers, and don’t add any columns or bearing walls in locations where there is not already a wall.

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!