Beginning (again)…

So after passing all exams, having the carpet yanked out from underneath me and having to start over, and after a 5 year break (because emotionally I just needed that time to recover since I had to start over), I have finally decided to start taking my exams again

I heard the voice in my head…

“It’s time to get those exams done and behind you…”

so here I go…


The ARE, a.k.a Architectural Registration Exam, is a 6 part or 7 part exam (depending on the version you are taking) that prepares you and licenses you to be a registered architect.  It covers the topics that architect’s need to know and practice on a daily basis to be successful.  Things that are covered in the exam are things like the health, safety and welfare of the public as well as contracts and other legal “mumbo jumbo” that you may have or may not have learned in school.  The exam is extensive and is not designed for you to pass as many of the questions make you feel as though you have not studied for the exam at all when in reality the premise for the exam is to see if you can think on your feet and make informed decisions based upon the knowledge you have and what you know.  Taking the exams often makes you have this “WTF” feeling and when you walk out of the exam even if you passed you feel as though you not only failed… you REALLY failed!  I can tell you I have had many experiences where I walked out and thought… “well I will be taking that one again…”  only to find out later that I passed. Pleasantly surprised for sure!

In order to qualify to take the Exam you need to have done 2 things:

  1. Go to a NAAB Accredited Architecture school.
  2. Complete your IDP (which is know today as the AXP.)

The exam is given at the Promtric testing center where there are lots of people taking all sorts of exams.  The ARE is a multiple choice exam and there is a graphic portion too depending on the version of exam you are taking.


Dena, age 45, a creatively obsessed wife and mother.  I am from the Pacific Northwest but have lived in Florida for the better part of 20 years. I wanted to be an architect when I was 4 years old. Matter of fact my first drawing was a floor plan of my bedroom.  At 4 years old I did not know what an architect was but I could point to a building and say  “I want to make that.” As a little girl I loved any toys that I could get my hands on that allowed to build something.  Lincoln logs, Legos, Tinker Toys, Blocks, you get the point…

When I was in HS I joined a mechanical drafting class and was the only girl and I am sure I knew the least about drafting in the class at the beginning of the year.  I was so young and naive I did not even know how to read a ruler.  But at the end of the year, I walked out of that class with the highest grade!  I had done better than all of the boys which at that age that was a thrill for me and I could not believe it!  I was not the kind of girl that took Home-EC in HS and learned to cook and sew.  As I was the girl that joined the shop classes and was the one who was building things or welding, etc. As this I saw as a bigger more advanced version of playing with Lego’s and Blocks.

As a kid since I always knew I wanted to be and would an architect I would say  “…WHEN I am an architect…”  not “…IF I am an architect…” as this has always been a constant in my life and one that has been a long time coming.

Since I graduated from Architecture school I have been working in architecture firms or Architecture departments within the corporate world.  Recently, within the last 2 years, I have not worked in architecture in the traditional sense but I am doing a subset of architecture, accessibility, and I really love it!

The Goal:

To be licensed by next year, the summer of 2018.  19 years after I graduated from Architecture school and 42 years after my initial interest and love that not only developed into a dream but truly my identity throughout my life.

I will be doing the 5 exam plan which is actually a cross between the 4.0 exam and the 5.0 exam.  I am finding myself in the transition so I am going to use this transition to my advantage.

Exam #1 – Site Planning and Design.

Ready…. Set…..Go!


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