The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).
This summer, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) launched a new Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) prep resource: ArchiPrep®. Designed to help test takers navigate the path to licensure, ArchiPrep will assist members and emerging professionals get licensed faster.
All architects know that becoming licensed isn’t something you can do alone. The profession depends on collaboration. In that spirit, members of the AIA National Associates Committee (NAC) played a big part in bringing ArchiPrep to life.
2019-2020 NAC leaders, Kristina Kotlier, Assoc. AIA, and Stephanie Herring, Assoc. AIA, are inching closer to licensure while leading national conversations about the role of emerging professionals in architecture. They both have two remaining exam divisions: Project Planning & Design (PPD) and Project Development & Documentation (PDD), which they hope to take and pass very soon. Kotlier and Herring teamed up to share their hurdles and successes along the road and the role ArchiPrep has played.
What has been your biggest hurdle to overcome?
KK: My biggest hurdle has probably been getting back into the routine of studying. After each exam, I quickly lose my momentum. I have to set deadlines for myself that I can’t push out farther, like taking a test before a trip or an event. That seems to help keep me in line when I might otherwise procrastinate.
SH: The immense amount of information to understand for these two exams. I learn better with videos or someone explaining each question/answer. Talking through a problem is beneficial as well as videos. There are four different ways in which people learn. I am a mix between auditory learning and reading/writing.
Has ArchiPrep helped you overcome any hurdles?
KK: ArchiPrep has been really helpful with giving me bite-size study opportunities. I find myself able to confront studying more easily when it feels more digestible, and being able to access questions quickly and on my phone is great. I squeeze in study moments while I’m waiting in line for coffee or eating lunch. Being able to engage with the material throughout the day really helps to keep my mind in study mode and keeps studying from feeling too overwhelming.
SH: I have been using it this summer to prepare for an August/September retake. The multiple-choice questions in ArchiPrep are a good resource. The more multiple choice questions the better. The questions are varied and seem to align well with the material from other test prep providers.
What is your favorite feature of ArchiPrep?
KK: I really appreciate the accessibility of it. There aren’t many testing materials that you can easily take anywhere with you. I also think it's great to have a timer on all of the questions, even the practice study questions. It's very helpful to have a study experience that mimics features of the actual exam. Lastly, the brief but concise explanations of both right and wrong answers to the study questions and very helpful for reviewing and understanding more material along the way.
SH: The timed portions of the multiple-choice questions are a good feature. I also like the feature of entering in your test date, which gives you a study schedule. One thing that could be improved upon is the “References” portion of the multiple-choice questions. Sometimes the references with the answers are very vague. Pointing to specific sections in Ching or IBC would be beneficial to gaining more information and learning more about each question and the reason why the answer is what it is.
ArchiPrep features study questions, practice quizzes, flash cards, games, and a discussion board to connect with others going through the process. Email email@example.com for more information about access to ArchiPrep.