To help everyone out, I’ve compiled a list of key ARE resources that I recommend for studying. Keep in mind that these resources don’t directly give you the answers to some of the ARE exams, but the content in there will definitely help you understand the concepts on the ARE. Also, please realize that some of these resources may be helpful to your architecture career after you pass the ARE so don’t think that you are just using these resources only for the ARE.
On some of the links below, I may earn a small commission of the sale because some are affiliate links. I am still recommending the following resources because I have used them in my preparation for the ARE and NOT because of the fact that I may earn a commission.
My #1 goal is to help out all ARE test candidates
- NCARB Practice Software – This is a FREE program that NCARB provides you to help you get used to the drafting program that is used on the ARE. I certainly recommend practicing this software before taking an ARE exam because it is different than any other drafting program that you’ve used before. If you’re not familiar with it, you will definitely struggle on the test. The only drawback to the practice software is that it can only be used on a 32-bit computer. Hopefully NCARB will come up with software upgrade soon but for now, you can’t use your 64-bit computers.
- Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings – This book is the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about MEP systems. I had previously purchased this book as a required reading in a college course and barely looked at it for the class, but when studying for the ARE, I found myself referring to it a lot more. This book goes into great detail about different systems and many engineers still refer to this guide.
[Building Design and Construction Systems]
- Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods – Another great resource that goes in depth on a variety of issues related to building construction. It will cover in pretty good details all topics on the BDCS exam including concrete, masonry, metals, finishes, site-work and much more. I had purchased this book for a college course of mine but used it more when studying for BDCS than I did in school.
- Building Construction Illustrated – This book is very similar to the Fundamentals Of Building Construction in terms of the number of concepts that it covers. The big difference here is that Building Construction Illustrated more of a visual resource that uses text as complementary. It’s very helpful to look at these building construction details and drawings as is definitely useful if you’re struggling to pick up on some of these concepts.
- Why Buildings Fall Down: How Structures Fail – This book takes a look at a number of different buildings that have had structural failures and examines what may have caused those failures. This book can certainly help your understanding of the different structural systems and what they key members are in each system. By looking at real life case studies, it’s a very easy read and it definitely gave me a better understanding of structural systems.
- Why Buildings Stand Up: The Strength of Architecture – This book takes a look through history at the various structural systems and how they have changed over time. Going back to the days of the great pyramid to the modern structural designs of today, this book does an effective job at explaining how each structural system is used along with their advantages and disadvantages of each one.
[Construction Documents and Services]
- The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice – This book covers a lot of the same issues as the CDS exam covers such as firm management, project management, legal issues, administrative services and many more. This is also a valuable resource if you’re looking to start your own firm in the future because it covers a lot of topics related to architecture as a business.
- The Architecture Student’s Handbook of Professional Practice – This book covers a lot of the same issues as the CDS exam covers such as firm management, project management, legal issues, administrative services and many more. This is also a valuable resource if you’re looking to start your own firm in the future because it covers a lot of topics related to architecture as a business.
[Programming, Planning, and Practice]
[Site Planning and Design]
- ArchCareers.org, – If you’re looking for information on careers in architecture, this website provides a lot of useful information to help you through the process. With resources on internships, professional development, and architecture education, ArchCareers.org can be very helpful to anyone going through the process of becoming an architect.
- ArchCareers Blog – This blog is affiliated with ArchCareers.org and is written by Lee Waldrep, the assistant director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois. The blog has been created in order to help prospective architects answer questions relating to various aspects of the profession. Topics such as IDP, the ARE, college programs, professional development and many more are all covered in this blog and is certainly a good resource for anyone preparing for a career in architecture and more specifically, the ARE.
- Bluehost Web Hosting – This web hosting site is perfect for any architect or student to use for a variety of purposes. Whether you want to build a website to showcase your design work or if you just want a blog to document your life as an architect, Bluehost is where it all begins. Bluehost is REALLY easy to use and you can start a new website or blog in as fast as 10 minutes!