The third-party study materials mentioned in this article were recommended solely by the webinar panelists and do not necessarily reflect the recommendations of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

On January 19, our staff expert, Martin Smith, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Assoc., spoke with recently licensed architects Nikki Karpf de Castillo, AIA, NCARB; Alan Li, NCARB, AIA; and Farah (Ahmad) Qadeer, RA, LEED AP BD+C, about their experiences while becoming licensed and tips for candidates on the same professional journey. Here are some key takeaways from the webinar and study resources mentioned by panelists to assist you:

  1. Create a study plan that works for you!

There is no one-size-fits-all for retaining information. Craft a plan that allows you to balance studying with your daily routine. Pace yourself and give yourself grace while learning something new.

  1. Study resources can be found almost anywhere.

During the webinar, panelists mentioned several resources that worked for them. To check them out, read the list below. Whether you listen to audiobooks, watch YouTube videos, or enjoy traditional books and workbooks, there’s a resource to fit your learning style.

  1. Don’t give up! Always remember the bigger picture—your hard work will pay off.

Our panelists and many architects we’ve had the chance to speak with all agree: becoming licensed is not an easy feat. It can be discouraging, especially after failing an exam. In those times, it’s important to remember why you started pursuing a license. You might face setbacks, but you can still accomplish your goal of being licensed!

  1. Ask questions and use the community around you, in person or online, to assist you.

Panelists shared that their communities and the resources available to them were essential in helping them along their journeys. NCARB’s ARE 5.0 Community provides candidates with a space to discuss topics ranging from Practice Management to Meetups and Study Groups.


Our panelists mentioned several resources, including books and YouTube channels, that assisted them while completing the requirements for licensure. Here’s a list of those resources:


  • The Architect’s Studio Companion: Rules of Thumb for Preliminary Design by Edward Allen and Joseph Iano
  • Law for Architects: What You Need to Know by Robert F. Herman
  • Building Code Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the International Building Code by Francis D.K. Ching and Steven R. Winkel
  • Architectural Graphic Standards by Charles George Ramsey and Harold Sleeper
  • Building Construction Illustrated by Frank Ching


YouTube Channels:

To check out more tips, resources, and first-hand accounts from recently licensed architects, visit our blog!